I was expecting a great night at the Casbah yesterday, and in no way was I disappointed. It looked like a large crowd came out as well to check out the two bands from Philly and the one local band. I’m consistently impressed by the lineups and the crowds for Tim Pyles’ Anti-Monday League shows at the Casbah.
Having checked out both opening bands earlier in the day via Myspace and deciding I wanted to see all three bands in full, I headed down to the Casbah at 9PM. Imagine my surprise when I strolled up to the door to hear the first band already playing – at 9:15. At the Casbah.
The reason for this became apparent during Dr. Dog’s set though, as the singer remarked that they had caught a 7:30AM flight out of Philly to get to San Diego. Meaning they had to wake up at 2:30AM PST to catch their flight, so by the time their set was over, they had all been awake for about 22 hours. Understandable.
The Teeth, a band from Philly that’s on tour with Dr. Dog, opened the show and was mid-set when I walked in. Despite their lack of sleep, they were very energetic onstage and they kicked off the genre-defying trend of the evening. They combined elements of garage rock, soul, glam rock, and punk into different songs in a way that kept me interested long past the usual opening band attention span. They also introduced the element of vocal harmonies that was to continue for the rest of the evening. All four band members had mics and contributed to the singing, which is an element I’d like to see more of from other bands.
Next up were locals Delta Spirit. The stage was crowded with instruments for their set, including a miniature grand-piano-in-a-box and a marching band bass drum sitting sideways on top of two folding chairs. Their sound was sort of rollicking soul mixed with down home country rock – not too far off from the Cold War Kids, but a little less bass-heavy. Guitar and piano playing was traded off between two members of the band, but most of the singing was done by one member – who has quite a voice. He can, and did, belt out the tunes to my satisfaction, and his voice lent a feeling a desperation to the music that was in keeping with the tone of it.
Finally up was Dr. Dog. Quite a crowd had gathered for Delta Spirit, and even more trickled in for Dr. Dog until the room was quite packed. And it didn’t dissipate during their set, which may have been due to the slightly earlier than usual start to the evening.
Their set relied heavily on songs from their recent album We All Belong, including set opener “Old Ways,” “Worst Trip,” and “Alaska” (my personal favorite). The Beatles and The Band influences were even more rewarding live than on CD. A decent amount of the crowd was dancing around by the end of the set. There were a few sound hiccups mid-set, involving a guitar pedal that needed a new 9V battery, but after that was fixed, the set proceeded smoothly. My only sound issue was that I wish the lead vocals had been a little clearer. I think it’s a Casbah problem, not a band problem, but it was really unfortunate, seeing as how Dr. Dog utilizes Beach Boys-style harmonies in most of their songs. At any rate, it was a thoroughly enjoyable set, and everything I had expected it to be.
Btw, it appears that beards are all the rage in Philly. Naturally, considering it’s like 100 degrees there now.
After the show, I caught up with Andrew (Vinyl Radio, Swedish Models) about some photo stuff for the Swedish Models. I also managed to (finally) get an introduction to Tim Pyles (thanks Andrea!). I somehow ended up sticking around until about 1:30AM – whoops! But what can I say – it was good times with good friends, and it’s not like I had much to do in lab today anyway.