Archive for the ‘Union Transfer’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Girl Talk / Hugh Augustine

The embarrassment of riches continued on April 29th as there were four more shows I was interested in going to.  And what’s so fun about Philadelphia is that among the eight shows in two nights none were in the same venue.

Girl Talk is the stage name of DJ Gregg Michael Gillis.  He makes music that is comprised of samples and mashups.  His 2010 album All Day album used overlapping samples of 372 songs by other artists.

His live shows are described as an experience not to be missed and so I immediately grabbed a ticket.  But the more I learned about the experience–a sweaty, writhing dancing mess of people, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be a part of it.  So I decided to do something else that night instead.  I’m not sure if I missed out on something life changing, and I’ll never know.

Hugh Augustine is a rapper, chef and activist.

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[ATTENDED: April 25, 2022] Biffy Clyro

I’m not exactly sure when I got into Biffy Clyro.  Probably just hearing about them all the time in the British music press.

Biffy Clyro is absolutely massive at home in Scotland and they typically headline festivals of thousands of people.  They recently had a film made about the: Biffy Clyro: Cultural Sons of Scotland in which they played a concert for some 50,000 people.

Then they did an American tour and I got to see them at Union Transfer, a venue of 1,200 which did not sell out.

And yet as far as I could tell, they played as if there were 50,000 people there.

The three shirtless lads came out on stage to much applause (those in the States who like them like them a lot) and they proceeded to kick arse playing huge anthems to a small crowd who responded with energy and excitement.

The band last played Philaelphia in 2017 and they had two new albums to showcase.  They played six from 2020’s A Celebration of Endings and four from the newer The Myth of the Happily Ever After.

The good thing is that I knew they’d be featuring these two albums so I listened to them a lot and the live versions were even better–with so much energy comes from singer Simon Neil and remarkable drumming from Ben Johnston.  His twin brother James Johnston plays bass and somehow, the three of them sound like a wall of sound.  It was intense high energy sing along stadium rock up close and personal.

The only real slowdown came when Simon sang a solo acoustic version of “Machines”

Despite featuring the new albums highly, they also dipped into some older records. I actually don’t know what their hits are, so I didn’t really know what they’d play along with the new records.  They didn’t go very deep (ignoring their first three records entirely).

They hit four songs from Only Revolutions (their best selling album), but the crowd greatly appreciated them.

I’m clearly not as big a fan as most of the people there, but I really enjoyed a night of Biffy Fucking Clyro.  I don’t see arena rock all that much, but seeing it in an intimate setting like this was awesome.

  1. DumDum µ
  2. A Hunger in Your Haunt µ
  3. Tiny Indoor Fireworks
  4. Black Chandelier
  5. North of No South
  6. That Golden Rule ©
  7. Instant History
  8. Mountains ©
  9. Machines (Simon Neil solo acoustic)
  10. Unknown Male 01 µ
  11. End Of
  12. Wolves of Winter
  13. Space
  14. Slurpy Slurpy Sleep Sleep µ
  15. Re-Arrange
  16. Living Is a Problem Because Everything Dies
  17. Bubbles ©
  18. Cop Syrup
  19. Many of Horror ©

µ The Myth of the Happily Ever After (2021)
€ A Celebration of Endings (2020)
∴ Ellipses (2016)
⊄ Opposites (2013)
© Only Revolutions (2009)
¶ Puzzle (2007)

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[ATTENDED: April 25, 2022] Dead Poet Society

I am usually pretty early for shows.  Not super early, but usually 20 minutes before the opener.  And usually that’s fine to get up close to the stage (unless the headliner has a huge fan base, then forget it).  I thought I had arrived in plenty of time for this show, but I think Dead Poet Society went on a few minutes early because I wound up walking in in the middle of their set.

Dead Poet Society are from Massachusetts and they create epic, bombastic rock.  There is the heaviness of Led Zeppelin in there with some good old indie rock noise thrown in the mix.  But the most notable thing about the is singer Jack Underkofler’s voice which sounds uncannily like Jeff Buckley most of the time.  I suppose there’s a Robert Plant component to it as well, but Buckley all over it.

Which is not a criticism at all.  Buckley’s voice was amazing and to be able to do something similar is very impressive.

Indeed, their songs rocked and they were really engaging.  The one thing that was odd to me was how much Underkofler acted like they were the headlining band.  I’m not entirely sure how much the crowd was with them just yet for him to be demanding the sing and clap along.  But by the end of the show, they had won everyone over I think.

I was near guitarist Jack Collins who made some great noises, bassist Dylan Brenner and drummer Will Goodroad, played heavy and loud and kept everything very tight.  Some have commented on their rather cryptic song title stylings on their debut album -!-, but I think it works pretty well with their overall sound.

Based on the previous night, this was their setlist

  1. Lo Air Ð
  2. .burymewhole. -!-
  3. .georgia. -!-
  4. Bacalar
  5. .SALT. -!-
  6. Touch
  7. .AmericanBlood. -!-
  8. Sound and Silence ∇
  9. .intoodeep. -!-
  10. .CoDA. -!-

-!- (2021)
∇ Axiom (2015)
Ð Depmsy (2016)


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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 22 & 23, 2022] Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Back in 2000, I saw Godspeed You Black Emperor at Maxwell’s in Hoboken.  My friend Lar was in from Ireland and he went to the show with me, which was pretty awesome.

I waited 18 years to see them again, but the last time I saw them, the show was marred by the crowd.  Or perhaps I was just always in the wrong place.  I couldn’t see well from where I was so I moved–something I never do.  I tried a few spots and none felt right and a couple were near some genuinely unpleasant people to be standing near.  So I never enjoyed myself, even though the music was good.

So I thought I’d try a redo.  I was excited to see them in Jersey City, but then the Fontaines D.C. sow came up.  I figured I’d go see them the next night, but we wound up having a big birthday party that day and it seemed rather crass to go out later that night.  So, I missed them. And that’s ok.

Myriam Gendron is a Quebec musician I hadn’t heard of, but this review makes me want to check out her records.  This is for her latest album:

Delving deep into traditional music from Quebec, France, and the United States, she rewired segments of songs to emphasize evocative lyrics and tossed out others that she found abhorrent. Singing in French and English … these historic songs become universal, while her tender voice maintains the soft power to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 19, 2022] Fruit Bats / Johanna Samuels

Fruit Bats released a song at the beginning of the year and S. really liked it.  Then they announced a concert right around her birthday, so I spontaneously grabbed us tickets.

We joked how we never listened to any other songs by them and wouldn’t know anything at the show.

As the show grew closer, things were kind of crazy and we ultimately decided not to go.  So we’ll never know if we like more than that one song.

I hadn’t heard of Johanna Samuels but I see she is described as “A student of classic songwriting with a certain nod to the current in-vogue Blood On The Tracks-era Dylan” which sounds pretty good.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 16, 2022] The Districts / Frances of Delirium / Vanillaroma

I grabbed a ticket for this dhow from The Districts as soon as they went on sale–even though I had recently seen them in Asbury Park.  A Philly show is always a good time for The Districts.

Then the Ice Nine Kills show was announced for the same day and I knew that my son and his friends would want to go to that.  So I blew off The Districts, which is fine since i had recently seen them.

Frances of Delirium I had heard of and have since listened to their music.  It’s really good–rocking, noisy, but catchy as well.

Vanillaroma has a retro vibe with all of the sweet spots of retro sounds.

This was a really good bill.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 11 & 12, 2022] Yumi Zouma / NoSo

This show had been rescheduled four or five times. The final time was after the tour had been successful so far.  But at the last minute, they had to postpone the final two Philadelphia shows.

I vaguely recalled when Yumi Zouma came out because their name is so fun to say (this was back in 2014).  I didn’t realize they were from New Zealand.

I couldn’t even remember what their music sounded like or if I’d even liked it.  I wasn’t planning on going to this show since it was a such a busy week, but I was delighted to hear the name again.  And if they turne dout to be good, I would have gone if we weren’t in D.C.

NoSo was unknown to me.  Apparently they are an LA-based artist and guitar virtuoso who seems to write delicate pop songs.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 11 & 12, 2022] Waxahatchee / OHMME [rescheduled from April 14 and October 5, 2020 and May 16, 2021 and October 15, 2021]

This show had been rescheduled four or five times. The final time was after the tour had been successful so far.  But at the last minute, they had to postpone the final two Philadelphia shows.

I don’t recall what was going on in my life at the the time, but I was happy about the postponement and wrote

This one worked in my favor.  And I’m looking forward to that rescheduled show next year.

Of course, the Fuzz show was scheduled for the same day and I hadn’t seen Fuzz before so I was planning on going to that show instead.

But then we went on vacation, so the whole debate was moot.

Originally support was from OHMME, then Katy Kirby.  This time it was from Madi Diaz who is a folk singer I know of, but not very well.



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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 5, 2022] Snail Mail / Joy Again

I wanted to see Snail Mail back in 2018 and couldn’t make the show.  I really liked her debut album.

I hadn’t enjoyed songs from her new one a much, so even though I bought a ticket as soon as this show was announced, I decided not to go.

I didn’t realize at the time that my daughter had a Joy Again song on her playlist.  “Looking out for You” is a bouncy song with lots of bajno, although it doesn’t sound folky at all.  I wonder if she would have enjoyed going to this show with me.


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[ATTENDED: March 26, 2022] grandson

My son got me into grandson a couple of years ago.  I really like his debut album, death of an optimist.  I promised that if grandson toured, I’d grab tickets.  I bought the tickets for this show a while ago and had no idea that in the interim, grandson had become (in relative terms) really popular.

He wrote the theme song to Suicide Squad which had apparently upped his profile and, he was also opened for Imagine Dragons which is pretty massive exposure.  So good for him.

It also meant that this show was much more crowded than I thought it would be.  We arrived pretty earlier, but the merch line was crazy long.  By the time we got into the show it was pretty crowded, but I know Union Transfer, and I know where there’s a good spot to get you closer to the action. (more…)

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