Decked out in red lights, cobwebs, orange and black balloons, and skeletons, Howler was certainly ready for Halloween. But Howler weren’t the only ones. Little Shock, the first band of the night who came out dressed up, (a mummy, man baby, a cat, and the other member had some kind of face mask going on), and started their twangy, racey set. They sounded a lot like Two Door Cinema Club, but they are definitely ones to watch.
Next up were some major issues with an amp from the next band (that had six people on stage at one point), but after pushing High Tails’ set back 15 minutes to fix it, things were well under way. The theme for High Tails dress up was for them to don short skirts or dresses, and in a band of four guys, this meant exactly what you think it did. Their sound matched their outfits – tight – and they jammed out some indie-rock tunes, but the only thing that was disappointing about this set was their lack of originality in their sound. One of their songs (‘Bending Over Backwards’) was so close to Marion Raven’s ‘Surfing On The Sun’ that it was ridiculous, and the rest of them could easily have been attributed to The Strokes.
After a long wait, some more Halloween props were added to the stage and the lights dimmed, soon revealing Philadelphia Grand Jury dressed up as a joker (Joel Beeson/MC Bad Genius), a bee (Simon Berckelman/Berkfinger) and a carrot (Dan Williams/ Dan W Sweat). They began with a voiceover introducing them, which admittedly, was a very strange touch and extremely hard to get used to. Although it worked with the whole costume/Halloween thing, it just seemed very unnatural and would have not worked under any other circumstances. Lucky for them, it was a theatrical evening.
‘Ready To Roll’ and ‘Chris Is In A Jam’ followed the guitar tone was great – really clean and sharp – and made the tracks sound exactly like they do on their correlating records. The band’s guitarist, Joel Beeson (MC Bad Genius), was super entertaining, kicking off the first of what would be a very crowd-interaction orientated evening. After some strange voiceover, they played a couple more tunes, ’Growing Up Alone’ and ‘Crashing & Burning Part II’ being the highlights, and by the end of ‘Crashing & Burning Part II’, lead singer Berckelman (Berkfinger) was the sweatiest bee that anyone had ever seen.
Before we know it, Berkfinger decided to take the band’s crowd interaction to the next level, by getting up amongst it and playing ‘The Good News’. He stayed in the crowd for the rest of the night, running around and getting people to sing with him, creating awesome vibes – it was almost like we were just at a gig they were playing in their garage. All in all it was a great gig, and it was a perfect way for Philadelphia Grand Jury to kick off their new start.