by Jaz Bowens
It’s been a few months since I’ve been to a Communion show and I’m glad I got back into the swing of things by checking out April’s installment at the Underground Arts. The crowd was small, but the night moved with ease and we all enjoyed a great show. Five bands played on both the main stage and in the Black Box.
The first performer on the main was Gretchen Lohse. The Philadelphia native singer and songwriter sounded good. I couldn’t make out her lyrics over the instruments, but what I heard from her melodies and rhythm sounded nice. She had a quiet voice and her music was mellow. Her music is something to listen to on a quiet spring night.
The second performer in the black room was a country singer named Sturgill Simpson originally from Jackson, Tennessee who currently resides in Nashville. His first performance in Philadelphia went great in my opinion. It was just a man and his guitar. He sang some original songs and some songs written by others. The sound quality was good and you could hear the lyrics past his country twang. He sung about love, drugs, tripping, and turtles. A nice combo. His album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music will be released May 13th. Before then, check out his website for music, tour dates, and updates.
Back on the main stage Johnny Stimson was getting ready to show off his dance moves. The pop-rock Dallas trio livened up the audience and had many on their feet dancing to the electro funk beats. Their first time in Philadelphia had many impressed. Stimson’s vocals fit together perfectly with his keyboardist and drummer. It’s easy to compare his sound to Justin Timberlake or a dash of Robin Thicke. He probably gets that a lot. I really liked his performance because it definitely brightened up the place. To get a taste of his vocal abilities and great songwriting skills visit his website. It might just make you a fan.
Banned Books was the fourth band of the night. The duo, who are tri-state natives, had a small group of audience members watching as they played. Although the crowd died down as the night wore on, supporters of Banned Books were there for a show. I’ve never heard of the band before, but it was obvious that they had been playing together for a while. A 60’s psychedelic rock sound is what came to mind when I heard them play. They sounded really polished and put together, quite professional and definitely a band to keep your ears on. Bnndbks.net has all the ways in which you can keep in the loop on social media and some of their music, too.
The final band was The Lawsuits. They’re a Philadelphia band who makes me think of happy times even if a song’s subject matter is serious. I can image their music as a theme song for a sitcom. Their music makes me excited for summer. It’s evident in their performance that they simply like performing, like playing their instruments,and making music. They’re genuine and the audience could see that. Their website is under construction now but you can see The Lawsuits on Youtube. You’ll like their style.
April’s Communion was good. Hopefully May’s will have a larger turn out with warmer weather. Communion is still keeping with it’s mission of getting local bands to play at the showcases and it’s nice to see those locals getting a platform. Make sure you stay updated with Philadelphia Communion shows by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.