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California punks Ceremony deliver a chaotic, cohesive set of old and new material at The Church

Ceremony | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Ceremony | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Rohnert Park, California five-piece Ceremony have a long and storied history in the Philadelphia punk and hardcore scene, especially at the fan-favorite venue, The First Unitarian Church. On Saturday, July 19th, the band made a triumphant return to “the Church”, a stop on a twenty-five day-long tour with Philadelphia’s own shoegaze phenoms, Nothing, and Seattle’s dark powerviolence duo, Iron Lung.

Much like any Ceremony gig since the release of 2012’s Zoo, this set was a diverse collection of the band’s efforts that span their ten-year history. Ceremony started out in 2004 as Northern California’s premier powerviolence hardcore act. Their first few releases were bitter, aggressive, outbursts that channeled an alienation from societal norms coupled with hateful contempt for government and authority figures. The focus shifted with the group’s last three full-length releases Still Nothing Moves You (2008), Rohnert Park (2010), and Zoo (2012). The songs maintained their dark, and often bleak, lyrics, but the music shifted from aggressive powerviolence hardcore, to a garage influenced post-punk. The atmospheric Zoo was the most abrupt shift, leaving some fans behind.

The remaining Ceremony enthusiasts, much like those in attendance at this sold out show, embraced the shift. Ceremony delivered a chaotic, yet cohesive mix of old and new. The driving post-punk tunes “Hysteria” and “Citizen” sat perfectly in the set-list amongst hardcore classics, and fan-favorites “Kersed” and “He-God-Has Favored Our Undertakings”. While the harder songs may have elicited a bigger crowd response, including a few pile-ons where the microphone was completely lost at the bottle of a pile of screaming fans, the energy remained consistent throughout the stage-dive ridden set. When the show was over, injuries were nursed, fluids were replenished, and surely no Ceremony fan, old or new, left disappointed.

Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Nothing | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

An opening set was provided by hometown boys Nothing. This group has run into phenomenal success on the heels of their latest full-length, Guilty of Everything. The critically-acclaimed album, released in March of 2014, showed the world that Nothing could deliver a well-written, catchy, and darkly haunting record. Touring non-stop since releasing the album, Nothing have also backed-up their promise to be the loudest band you’ve ever seen. They delivered soaring shoegaze melodies over pounding bass that was sure to shock those up front. An emotionally charged set coerced an appropriate response from Nothing’s passionate fan base, including one concertgoer drawing blood from repeatedly slamming his hand on the monitor speaker. True to the pedigree of the members of Nothing (past and current members of hardcore acts such as Horror Show, Beware, Night Sins) the set was as intense and chaos-filled as a hardcore set, stage dives and all. Nothing continues to reinforce their place in Philadelphia’s aggressive music scene.

Filling out the touring lineup, and reinforcing the hardcore roots of the tour were powerviolence act, Iron Lung. Leading the charge of current heavy bands, Iron Lung has consistently been delivering brutal and dark records for over fifteen years, mostly self released through their own label, Iron Lung records. The two-piece band delivers a heavier and more intense performance than most four or five-piece acts. Jumping from joking with the crowd into scathing hardcore songs, filled with blastbeats and chaotic stops, Iron Lung delivered a performance that solidified their reputation as pioneers of newer, and weirder, heavy music.

Rounding out the show was local groups, Bad Side and Anxiety Hammer. If you live in or around Philadelphia and haven’t seen Bad Side yet, make a point of it. These West Philly favorites deliver a chaotic and fun-filled set of gutsy and dirty punk rock, played by some of the scene’s hardest-working DIY contributors. Anxiety Hammer are a relatively new gritty punk band that hail from South Philly. Opening the night with a tight and aggressive set this group set the tone for a night of dark, gritty and progressive forms of punk, played in one the city’s best venues for a punk show.

The infamous multicolored alphabet carpet was the perfect backdrop for a summer classic. Sweaty summer hardcore and punk shows at the Church never get old, and this was one for the ages.

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10 reasons why you should stop at nothing to see Nothing at Firefly

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

A few days ago, we presented you with a list of 10 artists playing Firefly you shouldn’t miss. Today, we’re going to add one more band to that list, the Philly rock and roll band Nothing. Nothing have released one of the best albums of the year so far, Guilty of Everything, and since March, when they released the album, they’ve been touring like crazy, increasingly adding passionate new fans (and maybe an earache or two) along the way. Spin Magazine recently called their album one of the most overlooked albums of 2014. Vice insists “Philly’s best shoegaze band is here to knock you over.” They played an amazing set at SXSW to thousands of confused people at The Fader Fort. Heck, they even got dissed by Pitchfork. They’re really good at good at throwing their guitars. In honor of the band playing Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival this weekend, we decided to present you with 10 reasons you should stop at absolutely nothing to see Nothing at Firefly. They play Sunday at 11:30AM. If you’re still awake in your tent, they promise to wake you up.

1. Nothing concerts make the perfect date nights for Grim Reapers

2. They destroy people’s ears with their high voltage shoegaze rock

3. Their pre-show warmup routine consists of an alcohol infused yoga session.

4. Kurt Vile makes a cameo in the “Bent Nail” music video.

5. Christina Belles, an avid fan of Nothing, wants the band to play her wedding so badly that she’ll pay for the band’s booze and doesn’t mind if they slap her grandma.

Sorry grams. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Nothing at Boot and Saddle, Patty Griffin at World Café Live, Mark Fosson at Random Tea Room and more

Photo by Shawn Brackbill
Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Don’t let the band’s name fool you — there will be a lot more than Nothing going on at Boot and Saddle tonight. The noise rock band released its debut album, Guilt of Nothing, in March of this year and has been gaining popularity with the more media attention it gets. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information and listen to a live version of the band’s new song, “Dig,” below.

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Download Nothing’s cover of Low’s “In Metal” for Record Store Day

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist
Philly rockers Nothing recorded a cover of Low’s “In Metal” for Record Store Day. You can download the song for free below. The band posted on their Facebook page:

Recorded a song at home on an anxiety ridden Friday night. I’m giving it out for Free for Record Store Day and hopefully @lowtheband doesn’t mind the rendition of their beautiful song.

Nothing take the acoustic based original of the song and add their own unique haunting, dark and ethereal touch to the song. Download Nothing’s cover of “In Metal,” and listen to the original version of the song by Low below. Nothing play Boot & Saddle on Saturday, June 8th.

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Philly fuzz rockers Nothing brave a brutally tough crowd in new “Bent Nail” video

Photo by Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist
Nothing, like many bands on the come-up, have probably witnessed the in-you-face apathy of a tough crowd but they all pale in comparison to the group of grouches in “Bent Nail”. Featured on their new record Guilty of Everything, the clip finds the band pouring their hearts into a performance that just doesn’t impress the blank-faced audience. Despite the lack of interest, they carry on like real troopers even when things take a much more sour (think eggs and silly string) turn. See what happens below and get tickets to their June 8th show at Boot and Saddle here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Nothing at Kung Fu Necktie, Mike Gordon at Union Transfer, Los Lobos at World Cafe Live Wilmington and more

Photo by Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist
Philly noise-punk band Nothing is celebrating something. On March 4th they’ll be releasing their debut album, Guilty of Everything but until then, NPR is giving fans a little taste with a full stream of the record. The album is heavy but melodic, loaded with ambient vocals and in-your-face breakdowns. Hang out with the band tonight at their album release show at Kung Fu Necktie. The 21+ show will start at 8 p.m. and tickets will be $10.

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Loud, dark, and seriously heavy: Stream Nothing’s debut album, Guilty of Everything

Photo by Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist

Philly noise-rockers Nothing release their debut album, Guilty of Everything, on March 4th. You can stream the album in its entirety here.

Nothing is Dominic Palermo, Brandon Setto, Chris Betts and Kyle Kimball. The band came together in 2011 when guitarist and lead vocalist Palermo met guitarist Setto and began writing songs together. They released an EP, produced by Julian Grefe and Justin Gellar of Pink Skull.

Guilty Of Nothing has musical touch points grounded in the noisy wail of My Bloody Valentine, the shoegazey drone of Slowdive, and the blissful loud/soft textures of Ride’s classic album, Nowhere. In his review of the album, NPR Music’s Robin Hilton calls the record “loud, dark and seriously heavy rock.” He continues:

A profoundly thoughtful, beautifully crushing wave of droning distortion, the album is epic and stirring, even unnerving at times, but it carves a path toward enlightened serenity. Guilty of Everything opens with a warm, ringing guitar as (Dominic) Palermo, his gentle falsetto buried just behind the mix, sings of “summers spent in a well,” alone and far from home. It’s melancholy, but it feels like a reassuring balm to life’s ills — just before the song erupts with the pulverizing tumult that comes to define much of the record.

Guilty of Everything was engineered and mixed by Jeff Ziegler here in Philly at his studio, Uniform Reocrd, and was co-produced by Zeigler, Palermo and Setto.

Stream the album here. Below, listen to “Bent Nail,” and “Dig” from the album.

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