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The Night Marchers with Obits and Two Tears - The Khyber (Philadelphia, PA) - Tuesday, December 16, 2008

21 December 2008

I have a confession to make. Although I was really looking forward to attending this show, I was never a fan of JOHN REIS’ previous, long-running band ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT. It’s not that I didn’t like them or anything, but for whatever reason, I just never gave them a listen despite being aware of them pretty much since their early ‘90s inception. I am, however, a fan of HOT SNAKES and DRIVE LIKE JEHU (both of which featured both Reis and RICK FROBERG), and so for that reason alone I would’ve been curious enough to attend this thematically-appropriate bill. However, upon hearing The Night Marchers’ new See You In Magic, I knew I had to be there and boy am I glad that I went.

The night started off with Two Tears, the new band headed by KERRY DAVIS, formerly of mid ‘90s Epitaph garage-rockers RED AUNTS and later in BEEHIVE AND THE BARRACUDAS. To be honest, while it was pleasantly rocking and while the set did get better after a while, I only watched about half of it and went to the bar because it wasn’t doing much for me.

Then it was time for OBITS and though the place had filled up earlier, it felt really, really crowded in the tiny confines of the Khyber on this evening despite the chilly, rainy conditions and that it was a Tuesday night. Admittedly, I thought that the songs on Obits’ MySpace page were only so-so. Therefore, I wasn’t sure how they would come off live. Fortunately, they definitely exceeded my expectations, reminding me a lot of leader Rick Froberg’s previous band Hot Snakes, though not quite as powerful. In any case, I bought their 7” at that show and it’s a winner. I’m really looking forward to their full-length.

Given how full it was for Obits, I thought that perhaps the crowd would clear out a bit for The Night Marchers. Not a chance, as perhaps it was even more crowded. And what the crowd witnessed was about an hour of pure, high energy, adrenalized, ass-kicking rock and roll. Most of the songs from See You in Magic were played, with the highlights being “In Dead Sleep (I Snore ZZZ),” “Whose Lady R U?” and “I Wanna Deadbeat You”. During the encore, we got “And I Keep Holding On”, another one of the album’s best tracks. It must also be stated that Reis (who goes by his Rocket from the Crypt alias SPEEDO now) knocks back Corona after Corona and is extremely obnoxious towards the audience, but in a way that comes off as really funny, not nasty or hurtful. He’s a real showman of the highest order and his shtick must be experienced live as it’s such an integral part of the show.

After being blown away by The Night Marchers, I’ll definitely be checking out the Rocket from the Crypt back catalog as well.


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