Between sports team performance at an all-time low (or so I assume from the relative lack of street corner bootleg t-shirt vendors), Will Smith’s late career irreverence, and Bill Cosby’s various recent bouts of unpleasantness, Philadelphians now more than ever need a reason to be proud of the city they call home. Enter Fight Amputation . After bludgeoning listeners with a one two punch of excellent releases in 2015 the local noise punk power trio had a rousing homecoming at Kung Fu Necktie on Saturday, joined by likeminded riffsmiths Humanshapes, Grizzlor, and celebrated Today Is The Day / Unsane team-up UXO.
Fellow Philadelphians Humanshapes led the charge with a dissonant post grunge attack, dueling male and female singers bringing to mind a reanimated late 80’s Sonic Youth. Grizzlor was up next. I’d yet to have the pleasure of experiencing the New Haven, CT stoner sludge armada in person and was mostly transfixed as the band set up by vocalist/guitarist Victor’s combination telephone/microphone. Once the threesome tore open with a tsunami of groove heavy fuzz and feedback I was wholly impressed by the beckoning bellow echoing from the unlikely piece of equipment.
I was floored by the debut LP from UXO when it dropped last month and the band’s performance was even more mind blowing, with standout tracks “Redlegs” and “Everything’s a Mistake” resonating even deeper in this intimate live setting. The supergroup of Spencer (Unsane), Austin (Today Is The Day), Victorine (Vattnet Viskar) and Kennedy (Ironboss) ran through the entire length of the Self-titled with the captive audience enthralled by every note, each track from the crust punk vets met with a crescendo of thunderous applause. UXO’s short jaunt in support of the record release is already over (Austin will return to KFN with Today Is The Day on 5/24), but hopefully they can find their way back out on the road with this amazing project soon.
An awed hush fell over the crowd as Mike McGinnis’ droning guitar intro to “Ex Everything” began to echo throughout the room, the full force of Fight Amp soon exploding outward and the area in front of the stage becoming a drink, fist and foot flinging pit. I’ve listened to Constantly Off almost daily since its release last June and feeling the material rattle my bones in person was nothing short of a revelation. The Philly three piece’s set split the difference between old favorites (with help from former guitarist/current member of Baltimore punkers Multicult Rebecca Burchette) and newer bangers, led by Jon DeHart’s thundering bass chug and he and McGinnis’ dangerously catchy vocal interplay, culminating in the mile-a-minute nihilistic deathrace outro to “Happy Joyful Life” and almost killing superhuman drummer Dan Smith in the process. Chants of “one more song” couldn’t be denied though, drummer health be damned. Far be it from Fight Amp to disappoint.
Photos by Megan Hawkey, Words by Kevin Hawkey