Written and Photographed by Maria Arroyo
The Philadelphia music scene is captivating in the way it houses and attracts all sorts of bands, performers, and listeners. This past Thursday, upstairs @Khyber Pass Pub in Old City had an incredible lineup of bands that packed the venue to the brim.
Opening the show was an alternative rock band from Lancaster, 25th Hour, which immediately set the stage for a night of nasty guitar solos, killer vocals, and an overall great time. Headlining the show was the band Goings who describe themselves as a math rock-influenced, indie super-group. They did a fantastic job keeping with the momentum of this insanely energized show down to the last song.
But let’s get right down to why I came to the show in the first place. This eight-piece band captivates an audience like no other. This horn-driven progressive rock band takes influences from all over: Genres like pop, punk, funk, and metal, to ska and even musical theatre. The second they get on stage, listeners smile from beginning to end. This showstopping band goes by the name Big Fat Meanies.
Now I have to preface this because I am incredibly biased as two of the three bands I know very well from my college years. But that means I knew this would be one hell of a show that I did NOT want to miss.
So let’s get into it!
The moment Big Fat Meanies got on the stage, the venue packed shoulder to shoulder with people trying to get as close as possible to soak in every second of this lively band. The only downside was that the stage was tiny for an 8-piece band, but they made it work for them regardless. Even though they set up the horn section on the floor, to be at face level with some of the band members was a pretty neat experience. I have to say, not having them lit up like the rest of the members on stage was a pretty big bummer, but I digress.
The lead singer Brenna is a vocalist that will shock you every time she performs. Her effortless vocals in these high-stamina songs only elevate how talented this group of musicians is. Her ability to glide effortlessly through her impeccable range is something that most singers hope to accomplish. Plus, her fun personality always shines through her stank face and fun dance moves.
Everyone in BFM is insanely talented, but the band’s soul will always come from their horn section. They bring life and excitement that is over-the-top infectious to anyone in earshot. Even though they weren’t on the same stage as their bandmates, their continued attention to each other is something to marvel at.
Throughout the set, they constantly engaged with their fans to make them part of the show, which is always such a memorable experience. Their set consisted of some songs from the debut album, The Time Has Come… and their newest EP, Bad Hand, which kept things fresh and exciting. They played a huge fan favorite from their debut album, “Meet Me at the Downbeat,” which had the crowd singing along with every word. Some other songs were “Voyager” and “Fishin’ (For Compliments),” which were equally showstopping.
A few highlights included Zander (Rhythm Guitar and backing vocals) shredding guitar solos and Sam (lead guitarist) keeping the crowd engaged with his mind-blowing riffs and infectious personality on stage. He even started a whole dance party with everyone! As always, the horn players Rick, Nicole, and Jason keep everything fun and exhilarating, while the tight rhythm from the bassist Eric and insane fills from their drummer Tristan only made the show that much more insane!
BFM can create incredible musical tension and anticipation while incorporating different elements for a truly unforgettable show. They continue to perform like every show is their last and cultivate excellent relationships with every single person supporting them.
25th Hour and Goings had some memorable moments as well. 25th Hour had everything from an insanely in-sync rhythm section to a vocalist who blew me out of the water. The stamina and level of performance they played at will drop your jaw to the floor. Goings had a sweet flow throughout their set, ending the night with a bang! Their attention to detail and incredible musicianship tied the entire show together.
While Big Fat Meanies didn’t headline the show, they stole it. They had the room packed the second they hit the stage and had the crowd screaming for an encore after an already killer performance! Big Fat Meanies will always be the band to watch, and I can’t wait till they come through Philadelphia again!
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