by Matt Kelchner
Last Wednesday, California’s own Joyce Manor brought their headlining tour to Union Transfer. Earlier this year they released, Never Hungover Again, their latest full length record. Fans eager to hear the new songs from the album packed into the former Spaghetti Warehouse early to catch the impressive lineup of opening acts. Locals The Spirit of the Beehive and Dogs on Acid shared the bill along with Joyce Manor and their tourmates, The Exquisites.
First up on the night was The Spirit of the Beehive. Featuring members of other well known Philly acts Kite Party and Glocca Morra, The Spirit of the Beehive have developed a different sound compared to their basement punk relatives. They mix heavy, massive walls of blistering shoegaze-esque guitars with more upbeat and energetic rhythms that offered the crowd fresh taste. Most impressive was their ending song, “Chump”, from their current self-titled album.
The second of two Philly bands were next up on the night. Rising from the breakup of well known and loved Algernon Cadwallader, Dogs On Acid share some similar styles from the former group. John Reinhart and Peter Helmis, two bandmates from Algernon Cadwallader, make up half of Dogs On Acid. The energy and catchy riffs carry over, but Dogs On Acid separate themselves by swapped out the mathy, guitar noodling for more of a fuzzy, 90s college rock sound. For being a relatively young band with a small collection of songs, Dogs On Acid showed a kind of experience one would expect from a well seasoned group. Be on the lookout for more from these guys because it will only be a matter of time before you see their name everywhere!
The Exquisites are a three piece band who hail from Seattle, WA but Wednesday night they expanded to four with the edition of local musician Evan Bernard. The night picked up as they chugged away song by song. Songs like “Selfish Feelings” and “Setting Sun” got the crowd fired up and moving. There was so shortage in riffs as the Pacific Northwest trio (plus one Philly addition) played. The night ended with another fan favorite “Make A Song”.
As the stage was being set for Joyce Manor, fans were planning and prepping for when the band would go on. And as Joyce Manor member walked on and began playing, it took all of about 30 seconds into the first song “Heart Tattoo” for the excitement to boil over. There was a rush to stage as fans from seemingly every corner of Union Transfer climbed on top of one another for a chance to get closer. Early on in the night lead singer and guitarist Barry Johnson expressed a bit of concern as he asked for the crowd surfing and stage diving be toned down, but it would be a wish that would fall on deaf ears as fans continued throughout the night.
While much of the night was focused on the songs from Never Hungover Again, Joyce Manor gave the fans a number of older hits as well. “Catalina Fight Songs” and “Beach Community” were mixed in with the likes of “See How Tame I Can Be” and “21st Dead Rats”. Every song played Wednesday night echoed throughout the high ceilings in Union Transfer as those who came out sang along to every song. Nothing was louder than the final two songs of the night, “Five Beer Plan” followed with “Brown Leather Jacket”. The energy and emotion that night was as high as any show that left with both Joyce Manor and their fans walking out with smiles from ear to ear.