It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since the release of Keep Your Heart, the full-length debut from Philly’s favorite punks The Loved Ones, but Saturday night found us celebrating its birth at a very sold out Union Transfer. Staying in tune with both the band name and album title, the evening was filled with musical reunion, emotional validation and physical purgation. It was over in the blink of an eye and bitter-sweetly, it’s not going to happen again anytime soon.
While The Loved Ones never officially disbanded, the band hasn’t creatively communed since its 2009 EP, Distractions. A few lineup changes took place over their tenure as Kings of Philly punk in the early Aughts, but for this particular occasion, everyone who ever considered themselves a Loved One was onstage, creating a superband of sorts. A glowing projection of the artwork from Keep Your Heart – a dove carrying a key in its beak – loomed in the darkness as the band filed in, frontman extraordinaire Dave Hause bounding in last to a roaring welcome.
Wielding a giant wooden stick, Hause looked like Gandalf if he shaved and started shopping at Crash Bang Boom. Hause is a punk rock wizard for sure, the wooden stick becoming a wand with which our bodies and spirits were stirred as the five-piece band hammered through all 13 tracks from Keep Your Heart, peppering in bits from their 2005 self-titled debut EP. The audience was enveloped with a densely intricate, meaty, yet melodic sound. The crowd swelled and bubbled beneath it, sending bodies bouncing through the air into the most gently intense pit I’ve ever had the pleasure of being inside.
While we had gathered in reflection of an album we grew to love when we were ten years younger, the evening wasn’t hellbent on nostalgia. Early and only briefly did Hause take a moment to talk about the person he was when he wrote these songs; a self-described “arrogant kid” who had just lost his mother to cancer. Visibly he began to slide into that feeling before quickly shaking it off and getting back to the task at hand. It was an exercise in being 100% present, worried not about tomorrow, yet completely aware of how the past has shaped you into a human capable of nothing but love. Philly locals Cayetana and Little Big League opened the show.
Over 50 Club
Please Be Here
Hurry Up and Wait
Benson & Hedges
Living Will (Get You Dead)
Player Hater Anthem
Cayetana, Dave Hause, Little Big League, The Loved Ones