PHILADELPHIA, PA—I’ve been lucky enough to see shows at plenty of venues in NYC, but never in Philly. When I think of Philly I think of two spots, Trocadero and Electric Factory. Considering I didn’t know the bands playing, going to the venue was a good enough reason to go. At the end of the day, the show had brought some bright spots, making it worth the trip.
If you ever go to a show where you don’t know anyone on the ticket, you probably would do something similar to what I did; you either go to MySpace, listen to a couple songs, or maybe borrow some CDs from someone, you get the idea. After getting through Louis XIV and Hot Hot Heat, I painted a picture of the crowd in my head. Editors is a different story, which I’ll get to. I figured the average age was going to be 14 to 16, with the majority being girls, maybe some parents chaperoning. I definitely thought a ton of people were going to go because of two or three big songs people have heard before.
Well it was nice to see it coming before I got there. While waiting to get in, the sea of high school students flooded the parking lot. Despite the audience (which didn’t really bug me, they seemed to appreciate the good music) the two opening bands definitely set the stage.
Louis XIV got the girls screaming, and the second vocalist Jason Hill looked down to the front row and pointed some random girl out; it was basically a competition from there on out as to who could attract more attention. So in other words, a lot of high pitched screaming. Their songs had a different feel when performed and I felt more energy live than from their albums. “Finding Out True Love Is Blind” is one of those songs you know you’ve heard but didn’t know who it was by, so it was nice to hear it live, like the prize at the bottom of the cereal box.
It was honestly like watching three different shows. Louis XIV were a bit underlying with sexual lyrics so the girls were enjoying that, to say the least. Hot Hot Heat had more of that indie feel. Since I didn’t know any of the three bands coming in, I was surprised with Hot Hot Heat. I was expecting something other than what was delivered. Unlike Louis XIV, all of their songs were keeping the crowd moving, and they transitioned from song to song very well. We were all kept awake and even those that didn’t like them didn’t have much to complain about, really. After the show I did go home and download “Middle Of Nowhere.” I don’t know what that means, but they got me to listen to at least one song.
Another reason I was willing to go down to Philly was because my buddy had an interview lined up with Editors singer Tom Smith, and I got to sit in. I didn’t interject a lot but I found out some cool stuff. He hates when the band gets compared to Interpol, which was how I actually compared the band when he asked me what I thought they sounded like. I did ask if he had a preference between NYC and Philly. He said NYC can be a nightmare, especially because the crowd can be quick to let you know you’re not having a good night. He also mentioned that the crowds in NYC tend to just clap and keep their energy more reserved than others. I thought it was funny how some of the best shows I’ve been to and some of the most boring shows have both been in NYC.
The atmosphere changed as fast as the set was being changed. As the multitude of teenage girls left the building, the crowd seemed to be less hyper and the high pitched screaming finally came to an end. The crowd seemed to be fitting for a coffee house, more reserved and appreciative of the music in a different way than how it was being done earlier. Although Tom didn’t really interact with the crowd, the tone was still great. The songs were very well played and it wasn’t boring. Being that I didn’t know their stuff, I was begging for their set to end. I think it’s easy to compare them to Interpol but they have a sound of their own; they’re a bit more up tempo. Well worth the drive and well worth the listen.
Photo Credit: Dan Elliot