While waiting outside the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, the crowd of anxious fans slowly started to multiply. For some odd reason that I will never understand, the church decided it was going to host a play upstairs during the show. This subjected the waiting crowd to an extra hour and a half after doors were supposed to open, which made no real difference to the flock of anticipating fans. The doors finally opened, and we found our way to the basement; this basement, mind you, is the hottest place in Philly to see a show these days. The numerous fans were no help to the sweaty masses, as they just pushed the hot air back down on us. We made our way past the merch table and headed for front and center. The crowd slowly grew larger and more compact.
The two members of Dreamend enter the stage; one sits at the drums and the other (Ryan Graveface from Black Moth Super Rainbow) picks up his guitar, flicks on the amp and slams the audience with over-driven distortion and delay. As the band immediately garners audience attention, they have a projector shooting images and video clips on a sheet behind them. The projection was actually used throughout the entire show. For Dreamend, images and cartoons of the sun communicated the passage of time. While the band’s opening track left an imprint, I was not as impressed by the follow-up, especially the vocals. The rest of Dreamend’s setlist was good, but not great. It mainly consisted of textured or effected guitar and very distinguished and momentous drum beats.
After the first band, Junk Culture followed. Junk Culture is signed to Illegal Art and has opened for Girl Talk in the past. This is someone I would really enjoy seeing again. They livened up the audience and had everyone moving. The use of the sampler was amazing, as it warped and delayed the vocal delivery perfectly. Their video projection was more to the vibe of their music and was really engaging. There were a lot of geometric shapes, lines, colors, and time lapses, which fit the mood of their songs well. The frontman of Junk Culture heard the rant of the crowd screaming FOURLOKO and started a song to the beat of their chant. He then jumped into the audience and danced with the crowd. I thought their final track was their strongest and was amped to discover a great new band.
Finally, out came The Seven Fields of Aphelion (from Black Moth Super Rainbow) and Tobacco (if you haven’t noticed the trend, also from BMSR). They just slam right into it, and the entire crowd goes wild. I never thought I would see a pit open up for Tobacco, but it did. This pit then morphed into a mob of people dancing until finally, a sea of fans was moving to the music. Unfortunately, this took the crowds attention away from the video montage. The use of pornographic images and 80’s aerobics was just genius. It opened with a foursome including one girl and three pterodactyls and ended with E.T. porn. The only thing that came to my mind was, “What the fuck?” If the song made you feel a slight paranoia, the video followed up that mood. Everything about the performance was superb. The use of the talk box and guitar instead of the usual vocoder was a highlight. The Seven Fields of Aphelion (Maux Boyle) held her own on keyboards and synth. She has also recently released a solo album on Graveface Records called Periphery. If you like Tobacca, you will dig her stuff.
Toward the end of the set, Dreamend came out to accompany Tobacco and The Seven Fields of Aphelion; it was basically a BMSR reunion. The great thing about Tobacco’s solo music as opposed to BMSR is that it has a much deeper and darker feel to it. With BMSR everything was a lot more like pop or hip-hop. Tobacco performing his songs with a full band was a real treat. This was a show I will never forget. Amazing, just amazing.