This month’s edition of Communion Club night at Underground Arts gets a seductive R&B makeover tonight with a set from newcomer Johnny Stimson. Flaunting an effortless falsetto range, Stimson’s voice is soulful even as it accompanies more upbeat, dance tracks. Also on tonight’s lineup is folksy singer-songwriter Gretchen Lohse who recently released a dreamy video for “Spider At the Gate”. Dig into tracks from both artists below and get tickets here.
Last Thursday, The Wonder Years dropped by Lancaster’s Chameleon Club to kick off their U.S. spring tour along with Philly’s Modern Baseball, midwestern crew Citizen, and Detroit’s Fireworks. Never having been to a pop-punk show before, everyone assured me that I would have a lot of fun. But “fun” didn’t prepare me for the craziness of the crowd that night.
Modern Baseball began the five hours of punk rock madness with a few tunes from their February album You’re Gonna Miss It All. With a full crowd singing along to almost every song and a few early-bird crowd surfers, the quirky quartet warmed up the three-tiered sold-out venue with a more professional power-pop sound than their endearing 2012 release Sports.
Citizen ran up next with a more aggressive approach. Three security guards joined me behind the barricade, as more and more of the crowd was getting comfortable making their way to the stage atop their fellow rockers’ hands.
Delivering angst-ridden vocals, frontman Mat Kerekes thrashed about the stage with some favorites from their 2013 release Youth like “Sleep” and “Speaking With A Ghost.”
Fireworks took the stage with a performance more explosive than their name. From start to finish the crowd was pulsing with one another’s energy. (I was asked to leave the photo area as two more security guards rushed in to catch the people pouring over the wall.)
Kicking up the mood a few notches as a modest mosh pit erupted, the thrashy quintet opened with new song “Glowing Crosses” off of their anticipated album Oh, Common Life Out (out March 25th)and finished with 2009 favorite “When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out The Sun” from All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion.
I really did not think that the audience could get more rowdy than they did during Fireworks’ set, but apparently I was wrong. When The Wonder Years hit the stage, it was instantly a ruckus on the floor. The crowd pushed harder. The crowd surfers came non-stop. Trying to get to the back of the crowd, I found out just how much the small mosh pit grew. The double balconies were roaring with excitement as Dan Campbell started off the set with “There, There” off of 2013 release The Greatest Generation. Running through a fantastic set at a venue he used to frequent, Campbell finished out the show with an encore performance of “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral.”
So “fun” did not prepare me quite enough for this show. I guess I had to just experience it. But now I know one thing…If I had to describe it, I would call it a cluster-cuss of pure intensity and energy.
Before getting back to work on a new album and kicking off a co-headlining tour with Hellogoodbye next month, Vacationer will headline this month’s Communion Club Night tonight at Underground Arts. The Philly-based pop band, who are working on their follow up to 2012′s Gone make relaxing music that echoes the sounds of summer and relaxation. Also on tonight’s bill is NYC folk-pop trio Pearl and the Beard who plan to release their third full-length this year. Check out Vacationer’s “Trip” and Pearl and the Beard’s “You” below and grab tickets here.
A few weeks back, Philly pop-punk champs Modern Baseball threw a video shoot / party for their single “Your Graduation” – a rockin’ anthem in an album chock full of rockin’ anthems, the new You’re Gonna Miss It All. The band picked legendary skateboarder hang FDR Park as the location and invited fans on their Facebook. Word was spread via Property of Zack and others. And then it snowed. But as they said the day before, “snow schmow, amirite?”
The shoot went as scheduled, and the resulting vid premiered on Noisey today. Writer Dan Ozzi observed that, in its long shots of a forlorn Brendan Lukens staring off into the distance with various lady friends at his side, the video depicts late-college ennui and post-college depression to a tee. “[It] captures all those nostalgic moments,” Ozzi wrote. “The long awkward conversations, the crippling isolation, and also the skateboarding and partying with your buds.”
True that. But for me, more the latter. Watching “Your Graduation,” I want to slamdance at an outdoor MoBo show and skate across a snowy FDR Park. I don’t even know how to skateboard, so I’d probably break my arm, but that doesn’t matter. This video rules – it’s fun, it’s poignant, and it’s got me hyped for the Modern Baseball / Wonder Years tour that kicks off at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club tomorrow and hits the Electric Factory in Philly in April 13th. The Philly show is sold out, but get tickets and info on the Lancaster show at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Ohio’s Saintseneca, led by singer-songwriter Zac Little, brings its indie-folk tunes to World Cafe Live tonight. The band recently signed to Anti- Records and plan to release their new LP Dark Arc this year. They released a two-track single a few months back which featured “Uppercutter” and “Visions”. Stream the former below and get tickets here.
Tonight, WXPN and the Chameleon Club present Pittsburgh’s Rusted Root for a night of worldly rock music and jamming. The band has sold more than three million records since their beginnings in the early nineties, and have continued to grow in popularity thanks to their deep spiritual messages and talented percussion section. Their newest album The Movement came out in 2012, but frontman Michael Glabicki has a new song called “Smarty Pants” that will be featured on a compilation entitled Buy This Fracking Albumto spread awareness of the effects of natural gas mining in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Check out that song and an interview with the singer below. Get tickets to the 18+, $20 show here.
Coming from London, psych rock band Toy makes a stop Kung Fu Necktie tonight, on tour in support of their second album Join The Dots. Drawing influence from early electronic music, and some rock from the eighties and early nineties, Toy makes sonic walls of raw guitar, clashing drums, and some straight up noisy electronics. Check out the music video for “Join The Dots” below to see how they can go from laid back to in your face so easily. Toy will be joined by Spires, Far Out Fangtooth, and The Black Hollies. This 21+ show is only $10, get tickets here.