Marah, The Shalitas and Adam and Dave’s Bloodline – 12.07.07, TLA, Philadelphia, PA
I would ask that our readership consider the following review a late Christmas present. It is for a show that occurred over a month ago. However, without making excuses, as we all know, coming in and out of the holidays is always a rather hectic affair. Marah’s annual Christmas show at Philadelphia’s Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA) this year was no different.
The show, attended by a surprising amount of children, found guitarist/singer Dave Bielanko in somewhat of a bad mood. Failing equipment, and particularly Dave’s guitar, plagued the band throughout the show. Equipment tension came to a head when Dave went so far as to throw and curse his guitar. Later, he would make a serious appeal to the audience that if they had money, to please send it the band’s way so that they could buy better equipment.
Bum gear didn’t seem to phase the rest of the band’s festive spirits. When Serge Bielanko leaped off the stage into the audience, taking half the Christmas lights and equipment with him, all Dave could do was look bewildered and mutter, “What the fuck is going on?” The band’s set was quite lengthy, filled out with Christine Smith, pensive keyboards, and Adam Garbinski and Dave Petersen giddiness from their earlier performance with Adam and Dave’s Bloodline. Marah would also be joined by opening act The Shalitas for several songs.
Click here for photos of Marah.
Click here for photos of The Shalitias.
Click here for photos of Adam and Dave’s Bloodline.
Marah – 9.7.07 Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda’s
Certainly, songs and showmanship are important to any band when it comes to making it. However, more important is timing, luck and who gets behind your music. It’s unfair but a reality, just as it has never seemed fair how a truly incredible band like Marah barely even makes a blip on the radar. With their forthcoming Angels of Destruction, Marah will have released six proper studio albums, a slew of EPs, a DVD, a live album and a Christmas album in there somewhere. Yet outside Philadelphia, they are virtual unknowns. As Bob Hill recently pointed out in Crawdaddy when writing about Marah’s spiritual cousins, The Hold Steady:
There is no Lester Bangs to saddle-up alongside Lou Reed, no Landau to proclaim the future of rock â€˜nâ€™ roll, no William Miller to tell you Russell Hammond isnâ€™t really the golden god he claims to be. There is only a watered-down wasteland of Web logs, anointing bands like the Cold War Kids and the Arcade Fire as the second coming. That type of atmosphere is the bane of great retro acts like the Hold Steady, Marah, and Jesse Malin.
While bands like The Hold Steady are perhaps now on their way to success and do suggest that great music can make it, Marah has been left behind, still playing the local circuit. And as usual, their first of two shows at Johnny Brenda’s found the band in top form. Most excitingly, their live set proved what everyone knew too, that without misdirected production values, songs like “Float Away” are forces to be reckoned with.
In the end though Friday Night, September 7, 2007 came and went at Johnny Brenda’s. And whether anyone ever recognizes them or not, that night Marah were gods and floated away with the best of them.
Click here to see photos from the show.
Quote taken from Bob Hill’s article “The Wild, The Innocent, and The Craig Finn Shuffle”, Crawdaddy, March 16, 2007.