Disgraceland is one of the best kept secrets in Philadelphia. I'd only been there once before, even though they consistently have great shows. It's a small house somewhere in south Philly that I consistently forget the exact location of. It's a small corner rowhome that's been converted into a show space. The walls are covered in drywall and sound baffling that keeps it moderately quiet to the outside world, and because of the need to keep the neighbors happy, shows seem to run fairly close to on time. Not to mention that when you approach, it's kind of hidden and has that speakeasy feel to it, as Jon Loudon said.
Regardless, we got there and Algernon Cadwallader started close to 7:30. This was their first show (I think) with a new drummer since Nick moved to Boston, and they sounded good. I'm not too familiar with them other than the demo (do they have anything else?), but they played the dinosaurs song that I like, and otherwise sounded a lot like Cap'n Jazz. Which is a good thing. I want to say that more bands should rip them off, but I think most would do it in a shitty way, so it's better that just Algernon does. They have a lot of complex guitar tapping and interplay, paired with off-key sing-shouted lyrics. This band was riding the hype train in Philadelphia for a while, and even though it seems to have slowed down, they're still really awesome and I'm excited to hear the LP.
Order of Service set up next. For those familiar with the fest blog below, this is yet another band from Jeff Ziga and Scott from Amateur Party, as well as Drew from True If Destroyed (which Scott was also in with Jeff's brother John - confused yet?). They played angular indie rock/emo with a lot of dynamics between quiet and loud. There were some parts I really liked, and wished they kinda rocked more. I didn't like Drew's voice enough for the quiet parts to completely keep me interested.
Next, Static Radio NJ played. I think I saw them once a few years ago in Trenton with the Loved Ones and NMB, but I'm not totally sure. They sound like a solid Kid Dynamite influenced hardcore band. It was interesting to see them in Disgraceland, since in a few weeks I'll be seeing them with Hot Water Music in a much larger, less fun venue. The PA started to cut in an out during their set, but overall they were decent, and I'd be curious to check them out recorded to see if they're really just a Kid Dynamite clone, or if they can add something fresh to their interpretation.
The Unlovables were the final band to play, and they were damn impressive. They're a girl fronted pop punk band, in the same family tree as The Ergs! and The Steinways. They sounded tight and played a good, fun mix of songs from both of their full lengths. One song that was noticeably absent was the oft-requested "Ramona" from their Art of the Underground 7". Either way, they played almost any song I wanted to hear, and were super fun. I felt like such a dork, but watching Hallie sing these overly cutesy songs about boyfriends and making out and whatnot was just too much to not smile at. While when it comes to pop punk there are other bands I think I'd rather listen to (depending on my mood), I will definitely make it a point to go see the Unlovables any time they're in Philly or nearby. Too fun to miss.
After this show, lots of delicious Mad Mex was consumed. Swish!