First Unitarian Church
First and foremost, there was a crucial burrito meeting at Salsalitos beforehand, which also turned into a trip for coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider at a gelato spot. So, about 10 of us rolled to this show stuffed, but excited. The line at the church was marginally long, but we entertained ourselves by generally outclowning anyone in our immediate area. Once we got in, limited edition vinyl was purchased, but I was bummed to notice that Gaslight didn't have their new 7".
Amateur Party started the night, and if you've ever read any of this blog before, you've probably noticed their name. They sounded good, but their set ran a bit long. Scott's basslines on the new songs were really impressive, and added a lot to all of the new songs. They only played two songs that they have recorded ("Sounds, and Halls to House Them" and "Public Utility Complaint"), but they also played "Gun Fever," which they've been playing for years, but I have yet to hear recorded. My only complaint on this set was McKee's "solos" seemed pretty off. With the addition of a second guitarist, he should possibly think about relinquishing some of the lead guitarist roles and focus on keeping the rhythm. On the whole, however, a solid start to the night.
The Ergs were next and I still don't care. Kids seem into them, but I just don't get it, so I went to Wawa. I came back, and it seemed like they were tight, but I just can't enjoy this band. Sorry folks.
Next up was the band of the night for me. I was excited to see The Gaslight Anthem, since I missed them at Fest due to scheduling problems. I can easily say that this was my biggest regret of the whole weekend. After seeing them on Sunday, I'm even more disappointed. They came out blazing, and the kids who were into them went off. Their singer, Brian, sounded even better live than he does recorded. Nothing they've recorded, despite being great, has come close to capturing their energy. They played most of the favorites from Sink or Swim, and "Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?" from the upcoming 7". They were perfectly tight and full sounding throughout the entire set, and musically sounded just like the records, down to the smallest nuance. My only gripe about the set was the silliness and theatrics of the lead guitarist. Playing a tapping solo behind your head? Save that for Atreyu shows, please. Setting that aside, it's easy to argue that The Gaslight Anthem was the band of the night, and that their recent success has been well deserved. I can't wait to see what 2008 holds for these guys. Hopefully it's lots more shows in Philly.
Last, but certainly not least, were Philly's favorite punk rock and rollers, The Loved Ones. Hot off of their two night New Year's Eve stint at the North Star, as well as the release of their second full length, the boy returned to the Church for their record release show. The aforementioned limited vinyl had kids excited, and kids already seemed to know a lot of Build and Burn. They played a good amount of songs off of that, including opening with "Pretty Good Year" and closing with "Louisiana." The only songs I DON'T remember hearing from the new record are "Third Shift" and "Dear Laura."
In addition to these songs, they played a good amount of stuff from previous releases, and most of the crowd favorites (especially "Player Hater Anthem"!). Dave's sister Missy played a handful of songs on piano, and his (much) younger played guitar for "Louisiana" while Dave grabbed the mic for the last song to end their set. After a very brief pause, they came back out to play three more songs, which ended with "I Swear." They sounded much better than they did at the New Year's show, which was good. The guitars sounded better and there was a lot more energy. Much better, and a strong ending to a damn fine show. It's a tossup between The Loved Ones and Gaslight for band of the night, but I definitely enjoyed myself.
(Photos courtesy of Manny Mares)