Full Bush at Ortlieb's
Half the time Full Bush are the punkest band ever, ripping very directly into a variety of deserving targets. The other half of the time they're still pretty vicious but a little more subtle about it. I mention this because on their Facebook page they describe themselves as a "Post-punk foursome from Philadelphia", which is alliterative and accurate as long as "Post-" doesn't mean a damn thing. It's four silent letters and a silent hyphen and one loud-ass punk band.
Music venues have only just started to reopen and I have noticed that the bands which get booked right now tend to be local. Maybe this is because nobody wants to travel just yet (though the openers were from upstate and were quite good) or maybe it's a sort of "promote the local music community" thing. Either way, Full Bush are the kind of band which sets one song in an actual local bar and, uh, reviews another local band on another song. They're not just a band from Philadelphia but an identifiably Philly band. The levee which is holding back the waves of touring bands will break sometime around September. Until then, people who normally only go out to big shows might just decide to see something a little smaller. At least it's going out, right? (Seriously, Fuck COVID) Hopefully they'll find some new music they like and I like the fact that it will probably be local music.
The Warhawks at Ortlieb's
This was my first indoor concert in more than a year. About time dammit! Of course things aren't completely back to normal. Bands aren't really touring yet so while there are shows they're all local bands. Since Philadelphia is a part of New Jersey* here we have New Jersey band The Warhawks headlining at Ortlieb's.
So who are these local boys. Well, I want to call The Warhawks a party band but that's not really true. A couple of their songs are on the bouncy pop-rock side ("Deliver" comes right to mind) so there's a hint of that. They're also not the NJ stereotype of Springsteen copycats trying to make every song sound epic but... Other Side of Life is actually kinda like that. Most of their stuff is crunchy guitar rock though. Maybe it's best to call them a high-energy indie rock band which experiments with other styles a bit.
As a photographer I have to comment something I noticed at Ortlieb's. One of the spotlights was pointed at the ceiling for some reason. Last time that spotlight wasn't working at all. Now they've got it lighting up the stains on the ceiling. Are those beer stains? Blood stains? Who knows? The point is that I humbly request that somebody who can reach up there should point that thing at the bands.
* Not literally but, you know, spiritually.
Slomo Sapiens at The International Bar
Of the many rock bands on this bill Slomo Sapiens were brought the party better than any other. Which is weird because they're more like 70s hard rock band than a party band. Their stage presence helped, but I think the main thing was that while their music gets sludgy at times it doesn't stay there. There are these bursts of "fuck yeah" energy which totally worked up the crowd. They're heavy but they're "fun heavy".
RedTouchBlack at The International Bar
It seems like a lot of heavy bands played Live on Front this year, at least the Saturday show. And here I thought electronic stuff was in? Not that I would have gone to that. It's just nice to know that people still like rock music, ya' know?
RedTouchBlack's music is portentious, like you're about to be struck by some grand truth and you don't know whether it's good or bad but it is coming. Certainly they count as psych rock but this isn't bliss-out music. There's too much anxiety, too much instability for that. Also some really cool guitar solos cause it's still rock music.
Heavy Temple at The International Bar
Live music wasn't feeling so hot for a while there but it is recovering nicely. Seen here: Heavy Temple, the headliner of day 1 of the Live On Front festival whipping the crowd into to a headbanging frenzy. On top of that West Philly Porchfest was the same day. Outdoor music festivals have returned thank you very much. They picked the right band to headline too. Not that I'm complaining about the rest of the lineup but Heavy Temple's sound is powerful and works so well in a big outdoor venue. The crowd definitely loved these guys.