by John Dempsey
Silvertide was back in the house on the 9th for a show at the sold-out TLA on South Street. It was a packed house from the floor to the mezzanine. The faithful were in full force to welcome their favorite sons home.
The night kicked off with the most buzz-worthy band on the local original rock scene, Kid Felix. They opened up with one of their fan favorites, “Class Action Satisfaction”, followed up by their newer track, “Jericho”. This was a tougher spot than Kid Felix is used to; they’re usually the headliners. They’re also accustomed to playing more than seven songs. Their crowd was in pockets throughout the floor section, so the infection took a song or two to spread. But they delivered as they always do, and by mid-set they were in full- stride. The normal smack to the senses had been delivered to the audience. And when they closed with “Once Upon a Genghis Khan” all eyes were onstage.
Lead singer Jake Falana had this to say, “At a show of that caliber, opening up feels just as good as headlining. Just getting to perform with artists like Silvertide is an incredible feeling in itself. I used to walk around the halls of Sterling High School singing songs like “Ain’t Coming Home”, “Foxhole Jesus Christ”, and “Devil’s Daughter”, so it was a bit of a surreal experience for me.”
Kid Felix wound up playing an encore show later that night at the TLA After Party at Dobbs on South St. It came together on the fly when their manager Zac Tait joked with DVT’s Vince Volz to “clear off (at Dobbs) the stage cause we’re playing at the after party.”
John and Brittany were the second act of the night. They hit the stage with their standard riffs galore, keeping the energy level right where Kid Felix left it. They deliver a consistent show every time, and this night was no exception. This would seem less impressive if it wasn’t only the second show with their current rhythm section. Bass player Mike O’Brien and drummer Terry Sharkey were recently added to the line-up. They played multiple tracks from their new EP Start Sinning like “Zzzzoloft”, “Start Sinning”, and my personal favorite “Dirty Little Magazine”.
John Faye opened up after the show, “This was definitely the biggest show that John & Brittany have done to date. The energy at the TLA was amazing and we really fed off of the crowd’s energy. It was also the first big show we have done with Mike O’Brien on bass and Terry Sharkey on drums, so that made it all the more exciting for us.”
And then, it was time for Silvertide to hit the stage. The crowd murmured with excitement as the minutes between sets passed. A cheer for a guitar check. Another cheer for a drum roll. And then the curtains went up, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. A one, two, here we go! Back-up! Back-up! Back-up yeah! Ain’t turning back…I ain’t coming home.” Well-played fellas. The crowd agreed.
The energy in the crowd was electric. There were some people there who were meeting Silvertide for the first time. They may have heard a song on the radio a few years back. These people were introduced to Silvertide the live band; and its strong handshake. Silvertide made their bones being an awesome live band, on top of all their talent. So many bands are stuck with one or the other. Great crowd interaction. Great energy on-stage. Great camaraderie between everyone. There’s truly a trickle down effect from the way lead singer Walt Lafty interacts with the crowd, to the energy from lead guitarist Nick Perri, to bassist Brian Weaver, rhythm guitar Mark Melchiorre and drummer Kevin Frank.
A larger contingent of the crowd was like an old friend who you haven’t seen in awhile. Excited to see you at first, then reminiscent of the good times the longer you talk. I found myself up on the balcony to get a better view (and a faster drink). Up there with me were people singing along with every word. There was a great exchange; “I brought my rain to California, all the way from Philadelphia, PA.”
The show had a similar feeling for the band. Drummer Kevin Frank had this to say about the atmosphere backstage, “This one (show) was more family members, friends, and sponsors that we hadn’t seen in awhile. It almost felt like a high school reunion. But our pre-show half hour rule kicked in. We spent the half hour before our set together as a band, no matter what. Just like we used to.”
The band decided to play the entire Show ‘n Tell album. They threw in some b-sides and even “Adult Child,” which was only released on the Japanese version of Show ‘n Tell. The crowd was happy with their extended set, because they were to make-up for lost time.
As the night came to an end, after the crowd roared for more, many conversations talked about the future. Pockets of fans talked about how great the show was, but openly wondered what was next. So what is next? I could tell when I spoke to Kevin that he had heard this question a few hundred times already. He was diplomatic in his response, with a sense of quiet hope, “Right now we’re recording for the next two-three weeks with David Ivory. We’re all good friends; he’s a great mentor. We’re expecting to release a new EP sometime in late spring. And we’re looking to play shows sometime later in the year.”
He continued, “But right now we’re five people doing five very different things. We get together as friends. We write music. We’re going back to our roots; re-establishing the original flicker, the original flame. Long term plans for Silvertide are temporarily on hold. We are going to make the CD, re-connect with our fans. If they like it, cool. If they want us to play more shows, great we’ll do it. Whatever falls into place, cool.”
Whatever is on the horizon for Silvertide looks promising, when using Saturday night as a barometer. It was a great night for Philadelphia’s original rock scene. New faces. Known faces. There’s a good amount of promise locally. Silvertide deserves some of the credit for giving everyone else something to aspire too. Here’s to them pushing their bar, and Philadelphia’s collective bar, even higher.