After getting excited about this duo from New York last week, we checked in to make sure they were as badass as we’d thought they’d be. Turns out yes – and it was sold out.
1. Man, it was cold. Friday night was so chilly and windy that riding a bike from Graduate Hospital to Frankford and Girard took dedication. The ride back down to South Philly was even more brutal. But we made it right on time for their 11:15p set.
2. Not much for stage banter are these two. Did you know that their names are Arone Dyer (female lead vocalist) and Aron Sanchez? Arone and Aron. In a band together. Sanchez didn’t say much at all but Dyer can wail. It wasn’t until about six songs in that she even said anything to the crowd other than a lyric.
3. She also had a badass percussive element strapped to her foot or shoe. Seemed like a tambourine or at least something brassy and tambourine-like. With her footwork and his beating on a kickbass drum, it really added to their sound. Wouldn’t have been so awesome without those two important ingredients.
4. A few related-in-sound bands came to mind. For instance, her voice was powerful and loud and had qualities that called Tegan and Sara to mind but mixed with the Dirty Projector’s Dave Longstreth’s outrageous control. But overall, they sounded a lot like Battles. The tinny, high-pitched guitar and prog funkiness kept me looking for a crazy-high hi-hat.
5. After “Outt!,” which includes the awesome scream “Everybody here is out to get you,” Dyer delievered some chit-chat. She said it felt good to be back at JB’s and that she was happy to see that the balcony was still there. The house was full – up and downstairs.
6. I asked a couple how they’d gotten here or why they made it to the show. She pointed at her manfriend and he said he’d been listening for about a year and a half after hearing them on All Songs Considered. NPR DOES enjoy this band. He also said that approximateily 16 to 17 people in this room were here on his heavy recommendation. He was also a source that confirmed my suspicion: a lot of the songlist was from the previous LP, Riposte, as opposed to their badass newest, General Dome.
7. The internally lit bass drum was perhaps the only piece of set decoration on stage. No projections, no lights, no color at all; they were in all black. It actually kind of made taking pictures extremely difficult but it had a cool effect, lightly bathing the handsome Sanchez in benevolent white.
8. There’s always one. There was a girl in wild, curly long hair and a vivid red top who was dancing her ass off. She was right in front of the stage and carved out a nice little radius in which she could jump and spin and contort to her heart’s content. Not a bad thing. This music could, indeed, be the kind of music that you flail and gyrate to, especially when it gets groovy. There’s an in-your-face rockness element to their sound which channels a little punk energy and spikes it with funk. But of course, most people just bobbed their heads and tapped their toes with arms crossed.
9. They just kept going. Songs just kept coming out of them at a quick clip. There was very little pausing between songs and their energy was high. And with 27 tracks from two records and some cuts being quite short, it did kind of have that punk show feeling.
10. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for making the Punxsutawney Phil say spring is on its way. Just thank you.