Before beginning their sold-out show at Johnny Brenda’s on Wednesday, Dengue Fever proclaimed, ”Thanks for coming out to sweat with us.” The band proceeded to take the liquefied crowd and transport them to an alternate universe of a Cambodian nightclub blaring psychedelic rock.
The lush lilt of Chhom Nimol entranced the Philly contingent, while bassist Senon Williams frequented the stage’s edge to get the crowd riled up. Founding members and brothers Zac and Ethan Holtzman took the far out sounds to extremes with their respective guitar and keyboard playing while drummer Paul Smith finished off the sound. Zac Holtzman’s beard was even a minor prop in one of the standout songs, “Shave Your Beard.” Nimol used an ornate hand fan and some lovely cymbals to accentuate her performance. A two-song encore was barely enough to quench the thirst of the drenched crowd but it will suffice until their feverish exploits return.
Philly’s own Downtown Club opened with a gripping set of retro punk and New Wave sounds. Led by the guitar jangle and the spine-tingling howling of April Harkanson, they sold the crowd with their propulsive rhythms.