Saturday marked our second anniversary and we were lucky enough to have some of Philly’s most well-known and beloved bands help us celebrate in one of the city’s coolest and most popular venues.
First up were Kensington Nothings. The latest project from pop punk scene vets Mike McIllhenny and Owen Mercurio was full of catchy hooks and instantly earworm-y, sing along choruses, though we were sad that the cover of Salt N’ Pepa’s “Whatta Man” from their sound check didn’t make it into the setlist proper.
Cold Roses bill themselves as a blues/rock/soul band but that doesn’t begin to do them justice. We were definitely catching an old school Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band vibe here, filtered through the very Springsteen reverent modern indie hope and heartache of The Hold Steady. Seeing a band with a sound and presence this huge in such an intimate venue was definitely a rare treat.
For the true heavy rockers in the audience, of the head banging, fist pumping variety, Mach 22 was here to bring the classic party metal jams. We first became familiar with this quintet of badasses when they opened for Guns N’ Roses at Lincoln Financial Field last summer and they were every bit as much of a dominating presence on Milkboy’s much smaller stage. A little bit of AC/DC, a little bit of Motley Crue, and a whole lot of ass kicking: That’s Mach 22.
Finally Soraia‘s “fiery female warrior leading a mighty pack of wolves” descended upon the stage and I couldn’t describe their incendiary rock n’ roll prowess any better myself. Soraia offer extremely catchy arena rock with an amazingly gritty, tactile, 70’s garage flavor, though fire breathing rock goddess Zou Zou Mansour adds an extra, otherworldly dimension. Think The Stooges led by Ann Wilson and you’re almost there. An outstanding way to end an amazing night.
Thanks again to everybody who made Saturday night possible. The bands that played, the venue, our contributors, readers and friends old and new. Riot Nerd couldn’t survive without your support and enthusiasm. Thanks for the past two years and here’s to many more!
Photos by Megan Hawkey, Words by Kevin Hawkey