Waiting outside the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. Wait, that sounds familiar… Oh right, the Tobacco show. But, instead of being in the basement, we were in the sanctuary. Kind of an odd place to have a show but whatever. I love the fact that most of the crowd turned this event into a BYOB show. There’s nothing better than getting plastered in the house of the Lord. Kudos!
To start off the evening, Tu Fawning entered the stage. Though all I had heard from this group at the time was their single, “The Felt Sense”, I was very excited to hear more from them. Everyone was either sitting in the pews or sitting on the floor. Not me though, I was standing right in the front. This band deserved a more interested crowd; they really put on a great show. Tu Fawning are a very multi-talented group; each member was switching off instruments quite frequently. Every member, except the keyboard player (who also played violin on some songs), switched to playing drums at one point. Speaking of the violin, the pizzicato sounded perfect with their style of music. The singer, Corrina Repp, has beautiful vocals that highlihgts Tu Fawning’s intriguing and mystical sound. When they went into their final song, I knew it right away from the drum intro; it was “The Felt Sense.” It was the perfect song to end their set with. Exit stage left; lights back on.
The crowd grew a little bit larger while waiting for the next band. Suckers came out and opened with “Roman Candles” off their new album, Wild Smile, which features whistling throughout. This band was another multi-instrumental band; the bassist manipulated a sampler while playing bass. He had a drumstick in the hand that he was strumming the bass with so he could hit the sampler in between notes. The guitarist/vocalist (although they all sing during the songs) was hitting a maraca on a floor tom while singing. His vocals reminded me of Jim James (My Morning Jacket) from the Evil Urges album. The band eventually brought out the horn player from Tu Fawning to play on their final song. The crowd got into this one. This song was a huge build-up to the end of Suckers’ set and a great transition into what came next.
The crowd had exited the pews and stood in front of the stage, ending what felt like a sermon up to that point. Menomena came out and the entire crowd moved forward. I would call it the “Menomena Phenomena.” This audience was in some sort of trance until the headliners final took the stage. A highlight of their set was definitely “Dirty Cartoons” off their new album Mines; the piano part at the end was fucking magical. The addition of saxophone on some tracks was welcomed, especially on “BOTE.” At that point, they had a TV on the Radio vibe going. Playing multiple instruments was an obvious trend, and Menomena was no exception. The bassist, Justin Harris, was all over the place: Controlling the lighting, playing bass, saxophone, and a PK-5A foot controller. But he wasn’t the only one switching it up; Brent Knopf was also jumping from keyboard to guitar. They also had the guitarist from 31 Knots and Tu Fawning join them. Ultimately, the set flowed well:
- Muscle’n Flow
- Five Little Rooms
- Queen Black Acid
- Wet and Rusting
- Dirty Cartoons
- The Pelican
- Sleeping Beauty
- Evil Bee
- ENCORE: Strongest Man in the World
Great show! I would see any one of the three bands again without hesitation. Check them out if you can!