Hometown heroes Hop Along have been doing laps around Philly lately. Since releasing Bark Your Head Off, Dog on April 6 on Saddle Creek, the band played a Free at Noon set that same day, a sold-out surprise show at Johnny Brenda’s the following night, and have returned to the city after the first leg of tour in support of their third LP. The band plays Union Transfer this Saturday, May 19, a gig that’s been sold out for a minute now. Thankfully after the month-long tour, the band was still able to deliver a kick-ass set to the upstairs NonCOMM crowd Thursday night. Lead singer Frances Quinlan noted how nice it was to be back in Philadelphia: “It’s lovely, we just got home from tour yesterday.”
The XPN faves opened with “How Simple,” the lead track on their latest release plus one of our favorite music videos of the year so far. The track’s grooving tempo lead the crowd into an early-set dance party. Among the other four tracks to be performed from Bark Your Head Off, Dog, “How Simple” displayed the new direction the band took with their fourth album.
Penultimate track “Look of Love” displayed the jaw-dropping range of the band. Quinlan’s vocals as well as the full band’s instrumentals fluctuated from low to high and back again repeatedly throughout the song. Transitioned by frantically wild drum breaks and aided by Quinlan’s voice, the band brought the room to near silence, then seconds later exploded in a frenzy.
The final wall of sound on “Lock of Love” would have been enough for most listeners as a closer, since the band was cutting close on time, but the powers that be gave Quinlan and company the green light to play one more track: the six-minute single “Prior Things.” The pair of tracks wrapped up a stellar warmup set for the band’s sold-out Saturday night affair at UT.
Somewhere A Judge
Look of Love
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