PHILADELPHIA, PA—After narrowly escaping some crazy drivers on the way, my friend and I made it to Chestnut Street in Philly. Gates blocked off the front entrances of the church, so we wandered around to the side. A set of creepy stairs awaited us. We paused at the top, not knowing if we were headed in the right direction. It was eerily quiet aside from a lone couple sitting near us. After asking them if we were in the correct place, we ventured down the stone steps.
For a fairly large building, the basement was tiny. Not to mention it was unbearably hot down there. A few shaky ceiling fans were set on high, but they weren’t doing much to dissipate the sweaty stench. Three merchandise stands lined the back wall and the small stage was set back to the left. The show must have begun ahead of schedule, because we missed the opening band’s set. The disappointment of not seeing States, formed by ex-Lydia and Copland musicians, set in. I wandered off to see if States were anywhere to be found, but no such luck.
The Scene Aesthetic hit the stage at 8 p.m. The Seattle duo Eric Bowley and Andrew de Torres had the crowd clapping and singing along throughout the entire set. They played a fan favorite, “Beauty In The Breakdown,” and some newer songs such as “Humans” and “Stay.” As we tapped our feet and enjoyed the music, we noticed their drummer resembled Dave Grohl from his Nirvana days, which we found to be hilarious. After their final song, they cleared the stage to set up for The Rocket Summer.
Bryce Avary of The Rocket Summer is quite the talented fellow. Once the instruments were placed on stage, he appeared. One by one he started setting up every instrument on his own. He does this in the studio as well because he plays all of them on his records. He tours with a live band but he is the brains behind every note you hear.
Towering behind the crowd were two large tripods with cameras on top. The band broke into one of their most popular songs, “Do You Feel.” Halfway through the set, Bryce grabbed his acoustic guitar and jumped off the stage. He walked into the middle of the crowd and stood on a box. The film crew grabbed a large stage light and held it in the air while he played an intimate acoustic song to the crowd. Dimly lit faces sang in unison surrounding Avary.
After the deafening roar of cheers, the full band continued on stage. After an hour and a half of songs, they appeared to be finished. The crowd began to chant “One more song!” and they got their wish. Only Avary reappeared for an encore, which began as a medley of old and new songs on the keyboard. Then he brought the whole band out and played for another 30 minutes, taking requests from screeching fans. A few stage dives and energetic tunes later, they closed with “So Much Love” and called it a night. The room was buzzing with energy as fans trickled out. As we exited, The Scene Aesthetic was having an acoustic sing-along with a few fans outside. Small shows such as these do indeed have “so much love.”