Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jena Berlin / Landmines / Stay Sharp / The Mad Splatter - 6.20.08

The Party Mansion

This show definitely had more of a party feeling than a show. A majority, if not all of the bands, were friends in some way, and a majority of the people in attendance were friendly, or knew each other somehow. Beers were drank, fun was had, and craziness went down. Overall, this was one of the most fun shows/parties I've been too in a while. I got to see some people I haven't seen in a while, and all of the bands were great.

The Mad Splatter were the first band to play, and to be honest, I didn't have very high expectations. The whole idea of themed bands never really appeals to me, and the horror movie theme is something that REALLY doesn't appeal to me. However, they were pretty good. Very heavily inspired by Screeching Weasel, but with scratchier vocals and a little bit more of an edge. With only one microphone, they seemed a bit flat and could have used some more melody, but I assume that's something that will be worked on with recording or a better PA system. As far as the lyrics are concerned, I have a feeling I won't really be able to get down with the horror theme, but there were enough "baby"s and "whoa ohs" to keep me entertained and just imagine that they weren't songs about zombies or whatever. By and large, I was impressed with The Mad Splatter, and assuming they keep at it, they're on the right track. I'll probably never been a fan of the horror theme, but it's fun, solid pop punk, and who can complain about that.

One of the best new bands to hit Philly in a while is Stay Sharp. It seems like they've come out of nowhere, but they've been on some killer lineups, and they deserve it. They played a short set of intense hardcore inspired punk, with a ton of energy. They sounded big and full, and were a blast to watch. Kids seemed to really enjoy them, and a little bit of "mosh" broke out. As with the Doylestown show, they played their Warzone cover, and did so well. I don't have any recordings of these guys yet, but I need to remedy that soon. I've really liked them when I've seen them live, and I'm sure that will be happening a lot more in the future. Not to mention that a bunch of their songs have baseball inspired titles, so that works for me!

Landmines were the only non-local on the bill, but they fit the show perfectly. They're a gruff punk band from Richmond, and it shows. They came out (some sleeveless!) and killed it. Lots of energy, lots of intensity and an overall solid set. This made me pretty bummed that I missed them at FEST, but I'm not going to make that mistake again. I'm not familiar with their recorded material, but they have a record (coming) out on Paper and Plastick, the new vinyl and digital label from Less Than Jake, so I need to make sure I check out their new record.

Finally, to end the night, Jena Berlin started. Sort of. After a song or two, they had a bunch of trouble with their bass amp (and any other gear they borrowed). Regardless, when they did manage to play, they were energetic and fun as usual. Jon ended up all over the room, Jeff flipped a drum set, mics and beer bottles were thrown, and tons of fun was had. They played a handful of songs from both full lengths, including "Chelsea" and "Truth About Liars" as well as three songs from their forthcoming 7", This Is Mine As Much As It Is Yours. Despite the technical problems, heckling, and drunken antics, Jena Berlin turned in an awesome set, which I've pretty much come to expect from them. Good band, great dudes, fun night.

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