by Ziggy Merritt
There are rarely more than a handful of times where you can look back on a moment or an event and say with certainty that it exceeded all expectations. This past Saturday at Johnny Brenda’s saw three of the most promising acts currently rising through the ranks of the crowded Philadelphia indie sphere do just that. Heading the lineup that night was Oldermost, an eclectic indie rock quintet on the heels of the two breakthrough singles, “Honey with Tea” and “Finally Unsure.”
Opening up for the band came Hemming and American Trappist, each controlling the stage and captivating the audience with their uniquely powerful performances. Normally a quintet themselves, Hemming was fronted that evening solely by principal songwriter and vocalist, Candice Martello. With a voice that crackles with unfiltered emotional angst and honesty, Martello’s uncanny ability to condense each role from her band into a solo, acoustic performance cannot be overstated.
Following on her heels came American Trappist with their brand of self-described “Gothic Americana.” Quite a different energy went through the room as their performance would often venture into a blitzkrieg of guitar and percussion sated only by the careful and imaginative lyrical mind of frontman Joe Michelini. With their self-titled debut out on September 2nd and already a series of EPs to their name, the genre boundless outfit has filled their first few months of existence with tireless dedication.
Oldermost’s turn at the stage naturally had a lot to live up to, but their practiced and casual demeanor showed little sign that they wouldn’t be able to live up to both the anticipation and expectations that hung in the air. Their set sailed through on a breeze that reveled in pop hooks with an indie sensibility comparable to Kurt Vile or The War on Drugs. Later featured near the end of the set was rising singer-songwriter Rosali, contributing her own sweet, sonorous vocals to “Honey With Tea.” Performed live, the airy, easygoing pace of the single took on special significance as a culmination to the night’s celebration of Philly’s rising stars.
For more on Oldermost check out our own feature from the band in promotion of this appearance at Johnny Brenda’s.