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This was a bill so strong from top to bottom (rare for a 4 band bill at Kung Fu Necktie or anywhere, for that matter, on a Sunday night or in general) that we braved the icy tundra and slippery roads to make it out to this show. I’m very glad we did because, though, we got there just a few minutes too late to catch the first band (Philadelphia’s The Pretty Greens, whose EP I just included on my most recent Top 10 list, we did see a great night’s worth of rock and roll after that.
First up was the also Philadelphia-based Psychic Teens. Though I’d heard good things about this band for a few years now, this was my first time hearing them. I had expected something resembling the goth/post-punk stylings of recent bands like Arctic Flowers or Love of Diagrams (both favorites of mine), but in reality this trio are far heavier. Did I also mention that they are also one of the loudest bands I have ever seen? I don’t say that lightly as I’ve seen Dinosaur Jr, The Stooges and other legendarily loud bands multiple times over the years. The end result was a pummeling, almost droning heaviness that echoed Pissed Jeans and mid ’90s bands that played slow and heavy like Sleep or even Grief more than any goth-rock or post-punk bands. They were definitely the odd band on the bill in terms of their sound, but yet their presence really worked.
Next up was Potty Mouth, a great band from the same recent Western Massachussetts scene that has produced other notables like Speedy Ortiz and California X in the last few years. As a live band, they were tight and a bit chaotic/loose at the same time and it was clear (much like Upset‘s headlining set) that they were having fun up there. The set concentrated on their most recent release (2013 full-length Hell Bent) and seemed to be over after a few songs, but I think time just flew from them and the audience (including Ali Koehler from Upset, who I spotted dancing up front) having fun and dancing along!
As this was Upset’s first time in Philadelphia and part of a short, 3-day stint on the East Coast (they initially flew in to play the showcase of their label Don Giovanni in Brooklyn and ended up adding a few more dates), this was my first exposure to their live show after listening to their debut Lp She’s Gone for months. A hard-hitting, speedy pop-punk trio that has hooks to spare and evokes the days when pop-punk was actually good, they also had Kyle Gilbride of Swearin’ (who also recorded She’s Gone) help out on bass since they do not have a permanent bassist as of yet (Katy Goodman, Ali’s Vivian Girls band mate, plays bass for them on their West Coast dates). Their also short set basically consisted of the entirety (or most) of She’s Gone plus an unexpected surprise, a million miles per hour (even faster than the original) cover of 7 Seconds‘ “Not Just Boys’ Fun,” perhaps appropriate for an all-female (or on this evening, 3/4ths female) band. Ali’s likable between-song banter was also notable. In one instance, she made fun of an overly enthusiastic audience member (though not in a mean-spirited manner). Regardless, Ali put down her guitar before the 7 Seconds cover (the last song of their set) to assume mic duties (much like what Mac from Superchunk did when they covered songs by Ruin and The Misfits here back in September) and boldly went out onto the floor singing most of the song that way while surrounded by fans grabbing the mic and singing along, thus showing her hardcore punk roots.