Les Savy Fav, with The Dodos & The Big Sleep – 4.5.08, TLA, Philadelphia, PA
All I remember was trying to hide. I got really panicked when Tim Harrington announced, “This next song is dangerous.” In retrospect, I am unsure if the song prior Harrington was crowd surfing on a chair, lassoing the audience with his mic cable, or just generally tearing about terrorizing the fans, all in good fun of course, but terrorizing them nonetheless.
Continue reading Les Savy Fav, with The Dodos & The Big Sleep – 4.5.08, TLA, Philadelphia, PA
Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat & The Black Lips – 3.14.08, Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA
I’ve been a Quintron fan for a long time. While Quintron has always sounded great on albums, nothing compares to the live Quintron experience. Mr. Quintron’s self-constructed Drum Buddy1 and his operation of it while simultaneously playing the organ and percussion, was a feat unto itself to watch.
The crowd at Johnny Brenda’s unfortunately may not have felt so. Miss Pussycat would suggest as much, comparing Johnny Brenda’s to the Olive Garden. Mr. Quintron would end the set by saying, “I know I seem like an asshole, or a comedian, but I’m not. We love this, and we love that sound.”2 In the early 90s when Mr. Quintron first appeared on the scene, it might have been difficult to hear a similar statement as one that was sincere. Over a decade later, and with countless albums behind him, all exploring a similar swamp funk sonic, it is impossible not to believe the man or see him as anything but a visionary. While the fans may not have recognized this, Quintron played like a prophet, his sheer energy doing the impossible of upstaging The Black Lips performance.
Continue reading Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat & The Black Lips – 3.14.08, Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, PA
Clockcleaner – 9.13.07, Philadelphia, PA, First Unitarian Church
Though Clockcleaner’s Myspace page features a photograph of Philip K. Dick, if the band were to have a science fiction doppelgÃ¤nger, it would more likely be Harlan Ellison than Dick. Like Ellison, who is more known for his persona, editorial rants before his stories and general outspoken views, Clockcleaner is likewise known (and celebrated across the web) for their caustic antics and disdaining opinions of the Philadelphia music scene. Clockcleaner legend has garnered the band press everywhere from Vice Magazine (check out the Vice Web-isode on VBS.tv Practice Space) to the Philadelphia Weekly, which most recently declared Clockcleaner “Phillyâ€™s most hated band”.
The question is: Is Clockcleaner really chaotic evil? Clockcleaner’s recent gig at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia proved two things, the first being that “No, Clockcleaner is not the anti-Christ”, and the second being that the overall weirdness of a venue can always outdo whatever schtick your band has up its sleeve. Go to Google and type in “First Unitarian Church”. Click the first hit and take a good gander at the church ladies and bingo night. The dimly lit basement where Clockcleaner frontman John Sharkey dry-humped a fan onstage may very well be the same place bingo night is held. But for all of Clockcleaner’s antagonism, the band’s act is just that, an act. From bassist Karen Horner’s opening announcement that she broke her finger “fingering” her boyfriend, fans and band alike seemed in on the joke. Albeit, a lot of the jokes were fairly crude, but they were jokes nonetheless.
In the end it is nice to know that there are bands like Clockcleaner out there who want to do more than just play music by putting on a show and stirring people up in an attempt to shake complacency and mediocrity. Hopefully Clockcleaner will continue to stir the shit and eventually challenge their newly anointed nemesis, the Philly band Man Man, to a rock-off, milk challenge or whatever. That will be a show that no one will want to miss.
Click here to see photos from the show.
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.