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Archive for the ‘First Unitarian Church’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 11, 2021] Beach Bunny [rescheduled from March 28, 2020 at First Unitarian Church and then May 24, 2020 at Union Transfer]

When my kids were little I was always driving around to some activity or another.  Well, how psyched was I to be able to drive one kids to a concert last night and another kids to a concert tonight?  And both were for bands I like, too!

I didn’t realize the full history of this show for Beach Bunny.  When the tour was first scheduled, they were supposed to play at the First Unitarian Church.  At some point, the venue was switched to Union Transfer, which is a pretty huge jump.  Then it was postponed for a year and a half and by that time she had built up such a big fanbase that the show sold out.

I’m not sure when my daughter had gotten into Beach Bunny, but I knew of them from some buzz on NPR.  I’m not sure I Would have gone to this show on my own, but I was pretty psyched to go once we got tickets.

Beach Bunny was a project for Lili Trifilio which eventually expanded to include Jon Alvarado on drums, Matt Henkels on guitar and Anthony Vaccaro on bass.

I told my daughter that we should be able to get up pretty close to the stage.  Wrong!  This sold out show was not going to hold back.  I told my daughter that the crowd would probably be a lot of short girls (which I have found to be true at certain younger bands).  Wrong!  There were people of varying (and large) heights crowding around to see this band which was getting pretty hyped of late.

The set was pretty spare with two video game cabinets on either side of the stage.  But Beach Bunny did not skimp on lights.  Each song had a different feel to it, with a song in the middle of the set featuring simply a spinning disco ball.

Lili was a great front woman, she was sweet and engaging.  It must be a weird feeling being that young and having a big room hanging on your every word and knowing all of them.  She wasn’t especially animated–that job seemed to belong to bassist Vaccaro whose big haor and frame provided for a lot of movement on the far side of the stage.

She played songs from all through her career (which was much longer than I was aware of).  Although I think the biggest responses came from the album songs and the new EP, Blame Game.

Even though I’ve been to Union Transfer a lot, I let her choose where we would stand–I’d already been wrong about two assumptions.  I tried to encourage her to push into open spots, but she was too shy.  Rather, she chose a spot near the side of the stage which ha a pretty good view and also allowed us to not participate in the one big crowd participation moment.

There’s the original poster for this tour back in 2020).

She went all the way back to her first release, Animalism for “Six Weeks.” They lowered the lights and Lili asked everyone to squat down and hold it.  She played the quiet intro to “Six Weeks” and when the vocals kicked in everyone jumped to their feet.

Her songs were so catchy and fun and yet lyrically they had a message of empowerment for the young girls.

I was kind of surprised that my daughter wasn’t dancing and going nuts with the other girls (who were probably a little older than her), but I could tell she was having a great time from the way she kept inching closer and closer as the show went on.  And the way she insisted on getting pictures taken in the venue and in front of the stage.  It was pretty sweet.

As was the fact that she wanted to buy a vinyl single (I’ve started her on a vinyl path already, gods help me).

They encore featured a fun version of Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold” which everyone more than happily sang along to.  The final song was a rocking “Painkiller.”  And then it was over.  But we got home early enough that she could easily make it to school the next day wearing her Beach Bunny sweatshirt.

  1. Prom Queen ♣
  2. Love Sick
  3. Cuffing Season Ø
  4. Oxygen
  5. Promises Ø
  6. Good Girls (Don’t Get Used)
  7. April Ø
  8. Rearview Ø
  9. Entropy [new]
  10. 6 Weeks
  11. Dream Boy Ø
  12. Nice Guys
  13. Colorblind Ø
  14. February ©
  15. Sports ♣
  16. Blame Game
  17. Boys ©
  18. Cloud 9 Ø
    encore
  19. Hot n Cold (Katy Perry cover)
  20. Painkiller ♣

⇔ Blame Game EP (2021)
Ø Honeymoon (2020)

♣ Prom Queen EP (2018)
© Crybaby (2017)
ANIMALISM EP (2015)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: November 12 or 13, 2021] The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die / Bent Knee / Gates

I don’t really know The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, but I have been intrigued by their name for years.  I’ve heard very good things about their live shows and was interested in checking them out.

However, I will likely never go to First Unitarian Church again (the venue just didn’t work for me for a number of reasons, even though it is a very cool place).  I was planning on seeing them at Asbury Lanes, but for reasons I never quite understood, that date simply disappeared from their tour poster.

The poster to the right has that show listed, but as the date got closer the poster had been updated and no longer included that final show and there was no word about it anywhere.  Fascinating.

I had not heard of Bent Knee, but this introduction from Wikipedia sure sounds interesting:

Bent Knee is an American art rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2009. The band performs in multiple genres and draws from multiple influences, including pop, industrial rock, progressive rock, and avant-garde. The band is known for unpredictable dynamic contrast and the wide vocal range of singer Courtney Swain.

I’m certainly sold enough to check them out.

Gates is from New Brunswick, NJ (just down the road from me).  I was unaware of them, but their music sounds like it would be pretty good.

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[POSTPONED: November 4, 2020] Diet Cig / Sad13 / Thin Lips [rescheduled from May 14 Union Transfer]

indexI was really bummed when this show was postponed.  I was even more bummed when it was moved to the Church. I really liked the venue when we first arrived, but by the end, I was hot and sweaty and crowded and worn out.

Then back in September, the venue sent out this message

We that brief note of optimism, now for the bad news: The rescheduled show w/ Diet Cig has now been officially “canceled”. When we rescheduled this show a few months back, we thought we would be in a much different place than where we are currently.

Exactly NOT what I wanted to experience in a club.  So this postponed makes sense to me.  Maybe next time they’ll move them back to a bigger venue.

I have wanted to see Diet Cig ever since I saw them on a Tiny Desk Concert–they are a bundle of energy and the duo play super catchy pop punk.  I wanted to see them before they lost their energy.

I missed them the first time they came around and last time around they played at the First Unitarian Church, a venue I dislike.  So when they announced this show at Union Transfer I was so excited.  This cancellation was a major bummer for me.

Especially since now that they rescheduled it is apparently being moved to the Church again (does this mean sales are really poor?)

Sad13 is the solo moniker of Sadie Dupuis the singer of Speedy Ortiz.  They were wonderful live (and I was right in front of Sadie to watch her terrific guitar work).  I don’t really know much about the Sad13 songs but I assume they will be great if she is behind them.

I saw Thin Lips at the Philly Music Fest and they were absolutely fantastic.  I loved them and was looking forward to seeing them again.  They play catchy pop punk with pointed lyrics.  Outstanding.

So, I sure hope all three can come around for the postponed date (and I hope it sells better and has to get moved out of the Church into a bigger venue).

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[POSTPONED: May 14, 2020] Diet Cig / Sad13 / Thin Lips [moved to November 4, First Unitarian Church]

indexI have wanted to see Diet Cig ever since I saw them on a Tiny Desk Concert–they are a bundle of energy and the duo play super catchy pop punk.  I wanted to see them before they lost their energy.

I missed them the first time they came around and last time around they played at the First Unitarian Church, a venue I dislike.  So when they announced this show at Union Transfer I was so excited.  This cancellation was a major bummer for me.

Especially since now that they rescheduled it is apparently being moved to the Church again (does this mean sales are really poor?)

Sad13 is the solo moniker of Sadie Dupuis the singer of Speedy Ortiz.  They were wonderful live (and I was right in front of Sadie to watch her terrific guitar work).  I don’t really know much about the Sad13 songs but I assume they will be great if she is behind them.

I saw Thin Lips at the Philly Music Fest and they were absolutely fantastic.  I loved them and was looking forward to seeing them again.  They play catchy pop punk with pointed lyrics.  Outstanding.

So, I sure hope all three can come around for the postponed date (and I hope it sells better and has to get moved out of the Church into a bigger venue).

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2017] Pinegrove

I first heard Pinegrove on NPR and then I saw their Tiny Desk Concert.  I really liked them and when they announced that sales of their online music would send all proceeds to Planned Parenthood, I knew I had to buy their tunes.  I was also swayed by the fact that they are from Montclair, NJ, a town not to far from where I grew up.

They have been getting fairly popular as of late which I think is wonderful.  And I hope that they continue to thrive and get bigger and bigger.  So that when they are opening for someone at Madison Square Garden, I can say I saw them in a church basement with 600 other people (tickets sold out pretty quickly and I saw people were offering their first-born children for a ticket).

I have never been to a concert where the audience knew and loudly sang every word to nearly every song.  By my reckoning, everyone knew every word to every song on Cardinal, their full length debut.  There are 8 songs on it and the band played 7 of them–not in order–during their 16 song set.  In fact when they opened the show with “Old Friends” the first song on the disc, the room erupted singing along to every word.  And since it was such a small place–with particularly low ceilings–it was the loudest singalong I’ve ever heard.  Check out these clips from “Cadmium.”  It was very cool. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2017] Hovvdy

I thought that I had heard of Hovvdy (that’s 2 v’s but pronounced “Howdy”), but it’s possible I was thinking of other bands with 2 Vs in their name.  But when I looked up information about this concert, I saw that a lot of people were excited to see them (and that their latest album had been reviewed (positively) by Pitchfork.

We waited in the stifling heart for them to go on–and really should have sacrificed our spot to get water (only $1/bottle a the door!).  Unlike a more “polished” show, where you know that bands will take forever in between sets, this seemed like it would be a pretty quick turn around–the band even came out right away to set up.

Although when all was said and done it was nearly 30 minutes by the time Hovvdy went on.  And boy, did I wish we had taken advantage of the First Unitarian Church’s very generous reentry policy.  Because man, was it hot.  Like unpleasantly hot.

So we stood and sweated and waited for Hovvdy (we didn’t want to give up our semi-decent spot–although truth be told, it was hard to see from just about anywhere).

When the band started I was surprised by how great it sounded.  Birdwing sounded fine, but they must not have been hooked up to the PA, because when Hovvdy’s drummer hit a drum, it was like going from mono to Dolby.

Charlie Martin and Will Taylor are the main force behind Hovvdy (not sure who is who).  They record as a duo.  Each guy sang and played guitar.  From what I can tell Hannah Read (from Lomelda) was on bass.  [Lomelda opened for the show instead of Birdwing in NYC].  And I can’t find the drummer’s name (although all reviews of the band mention that Martin and Taylor were both drummers before they started playing songs on guitar, so I’ll mention it too).

Hovvdy played a kind of noisy lo-fi rock (I see they call it pillowcore).  Both singers’ voices and musical styles were fairly different which kept the music constantly shifting. The rhythm section kept the groove nicely while the two guys (split far apart on the stage) did their thing–sometimes singing backing vocal for the other one.

I found pretty much all of their songs to be catchy–catchy enough to grab their CD on the way out (which is a bit lower key than their live show).  The CD, Taster, had apparently just been released that day (it was download-only previously).

I have no idea what their setlist was as I can;’t find it anywhere, although evidently many of the songs were from Taster.

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2017] Birdwing

Birdwing opened the show for Hovvdy and Pinegrove.  I wasn’t familiar with their music, but I had listened to a few songs on bandcamp and I was interested to see them live.

This concert was being held at the First Unitarian Church in Philly, which I’d never been to.  I had heard a lot about this venue and the really legendary bands that have played there (usually a few years before becoming legendary).  I was under the impression that the venue’s capacity was like 100 people, but that is clearly not true.  One source suggests that it is closer to 600. So I was surprised by just how large the basement proved to be.

But the one thing that I had heard for sure was that it was hot.  And holy cow was it ever hot.

We went on a mild April evening (temp low 70s) and we arrived a few minutes before Birdwing went on.  By the time they started we were both wet from sweat.  There is virtually no air circulation (the ceiling fans may have been spinning only because of people fanning themselves). (more…)

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