by Lauren Rosier
One of Philadelphia’s best and newest venues, Union Transfer, hosted a crowded room of indie rock and 80’s synth pop music lovers from the urban hipster to the bearded soul. On Monday evening, Union Transfer brought in the sounds of indie rock bands Tigertown, Panama Wedding, and Magic Man.
The opening band, Tigertown, a quartet, from Sydney, Australia was a very solid, indie rock band whose material was very upbeat. The band played a 30-minute, six song set comprised of all upbeat, synth pop/indie rock tunes. Throughout the band’s set the crowd seemed very into it, dancing, and thrashing about. The second track into the set was very reminiscent to me of a Haerts meets St. Lucia mashup.
The fifth track, “Don’t Tell Me,” featured Magic Man’s guitarist, Sam Vanderhoop Lee, and the crowded roared as he took to the stage. The last song of the set, the band’s first American release, “Papernote”, was an excellent 80’s synth pop tune. This tune also really seemed to hold the crowd’s attention as there was plenty of dancing and bopping of heads. Tigertown was very a high energy, upbeat, and definitely an up and coming band that you want to be on the look out for.
The middle set featured New York City four-piece Panama Wedding with frontman Peter Kirk opening the band’s set with a catchy tune with an upbeat chorus singing “you wait; you wait.” The band’s song “Trust” featured some cool effects in the beginning of the track and throughout the rest of the set, the band engaged in the crowd, and garnered crowd participation. Much of the band’s music gave me a strange comparison between a mashup of Toto and St. Lucia. The band closed out their set with their popular tune, “All of You People,” which led to a huge crowd sing-along.
Magic Man opened their show high, raw energy and a bright, light show. The band played a twelve song set plus a two song encore.
It was really just a complete party atmosphere – a large crowd of strangers who loved the same music having a blast together. It’s incredible how music can do that. Alex Caplow is an incredible frontman in the way he is able to engage an audience, take a crowd of girls and turn them into screaming fans, and change any skeptical guy into 80’s synth pop loving urban hipster.
The band played “Apollo” the third song into the set, and the crowd went wild. It was a party; a crowd sing-along, dance party. Six songs into the set the band played another sing along “Catherine” – again, Caplow has a way with interacting with the crowd and engaging with his audience.
The two song encore included a cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” and then of course, Magic Man’s wildly popular song, “Paris”. The crowd ended up singing nearly all the song.
I’ve been to a ton of shows and it just amazes me just how much raw energy all three bands had during their sets, which is quite rare to find these days. I have been to shows as a spectator and from the inside – and not every band has the ability to create raw energy and engage an audience that easily, so when you see it done you really have to step back, take notes, and appreciate it.