by Alexandra Healey
I can’t remember the last time I went to a concert early in the day, especially on a Sunday. It was perfect weather for the free concert held by Radio 104.5. The sun was shining and though it was a little hot, there was a wonderful breeze that helped you cool off.
I got to Festival Pier right before 2PM to catch the openers, The Wild Wild. The electronic-rock band got the concert goers ready for the long day of music with songs like “Kids of the Sun” and “When We Were Young”. Singer Benjamin Dunn shared his energy with the crowd as he moved to his music of electronic beats.
Next to play at 3PM was Los Angeles natives, Bleached. The ladies of the punk rock band lined up in a row along the stage. Jessica Calvin with her guitar to the left, lead singer Jennifer Calvin in the center, and bassist Micayla Grace to the right, while drummer Nick Pilot set up behind Jennifer. Starting off with “Trying to Lose Myself Again,” the crowd, which had grew since the first band, started bobbing their heads. Jennifer’s voice was beautiful, yet raw as she sang “Keep On Keeping On” and “Wednesday Night Melody.” Micalya took to the mic to thank the radio station for inviting them to play, then Jennifer told the crowd about how they met a man in a long coat and top hat, and that they were going on a ghost tour with him around Philadelphia. In my 23 years of living in this city, I didn’t even know there were ghost tours.
Jennifer put down her guitar to run around stage as the band played “Sleepwalking”. More of the crowd towards the center of the stage jumped around and a handful were singing along. Micayla and Jessica played on either side of Jennifer, adding back up vocals here and there. Jennifer then announced that they were going to play an older song, one of the first songs she had ever written called “Electric Chair”. More people started moving around and those who just arrived quickly stopped to watch the ladies jam on stage. They began to play there last song “Dead In Your Head” and towards the end of the song, Jessica came to the end of the stage to show off her guitar playing skills. I couldn’t see, but I assumed Micayla went into the pit to play near the crowd by the way the photographer on stage was pointing his camera down. Nick and Jennifer switch instruments and everyone cheered as she rocked out of the drums. Jessica slowly fell to the floor as she played her guitar on her back while the rest of the band left the stage. The crowd cheered for them as they all left and DJ Reed Streets began spinning to fill the time in-between bands with mashups of popular songs.
Canadian band Arkells were up next, but ended up coming on a little late due to what seemed to be some technical difficulties with the bands piano. Once they started, they jumped right in with their popular song “Leather Jacket”. The lead singer, Max, seemed to be at home on stage. He couldn’t stop smiling, but probably because so many people in the crowd were singing along. During their second song, “Private School”, Max jumped down into the crowd to sing with them and it became a giant dance party. The band covered “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates (who also played Philly that night), which they said they heard coming into city. But soon after, because they started late, the set was cut short due to the strict schedule.
At about 5PM, the Arkells’ neighbors in Canada, The Strumbellas, joined the stage to a roaring crowd. Many started chanting “Dave”, who was the keyboardist for the band, which sparked a heated conversation later in the set between lead Dave, lead singer Simon, and Isabel who played violin. Simon tried to turn the crowd against Dave, outing him as a New England Patriots fan, while Simon claimed the Eagles were his number one team. Isabel quickly caught his lie by asking him who his favorite player was, in which he replied “Number 14”, which doesn’t exist on the current roster. The six piece folk, indie rock band played songs like “Wild Sun”, which was appropriate as the sun began to set and light up the stage from behind. They closed their set with their most popular song “Spirits”. It seemed as if the crowd was singing louder than the band.
Many people seemed to leave after The Strumbellas, but those who stayed quickly filled in the empty spaces. Right before 6PM, Jessie from the radio station walked on to the stage to excitedly introduce the headliners, Kongos. The four brothers came on to the stage smiling and went into their rightful places next to each other. Dylan to the right with his bass guitar, Jesse next to him with his drums, Daniel on lead guitar, then Johnny on keyboard and accordion. They began slowly, which through me off because I was use to hearing songs with more power from them on the radio. But towards the end of their set, they began to pick up with their songs such as “Take It From Me” and “Come With Me Now”. The crowd went crazy during these tunes, and were dancing and screaming along.
The band invited everyone to join them at their after party/encore set at a bar in Northern Liberties right after the show. The members of the radio station announced the performers for the free concert in August- The Struts, Bishop Briggs, 888, The Rebel Light, and Sonnder, which excited the crowd even more.
Some left the show satisfied and tired from the sun, but others hurried to the after party to see Kongos play again.
Head to our Facebook page for a complete photo album of Sunday’s show.