The Voltage Lounge is one of my favorite venues in Philadelphia, simply because they’re known for having top-notch shows. I have wonderful (but fleeting) memories of seeing bands like Leftover Crack and The Virus, both of which I count on my list of some of my favorite shows I’ve ever attended. So naturally I was pretty psyched when I heard about this event featuring a lineup that’s, dare I say, perfect.
I’ll never get tired of seeing Posers play shows. The Philly band has an attitude on stage that is truly addictive to watch. Singer Jade Anna appears to be deeply distressed, peering off into the distance as she delivers a mighty vocal performance. But just as often, she can be seen in the audience, microphone in clenched fists, shouting and writhing on the ground. Meanwhile, guitarist Rory Cain, bassist Johnny Mick, and drummer Collin Russert are keeping everything under control with an impressive confidence and sense of urgency as they power through a mixed set list of old, recent, and not-yet-released tracks. One of these new tracks, apparently called “I Think Therefore I Am A Mess,” is an aggressive attack from start to finish, featuring some pretty hostile screaming from Anna and frantic guitar and bass work. Whatever direction this band is going in, I like it. I’m in for the ride.
Next up was Crazy and the Brains. This band knows how to get a crowd moving, dancing, jumping: who cares. They also have a xylophone player and he performs with such gusto that it’s something that everyone should see. One of the most enjoyable tracks to hear live was “Good Boy” which was quickly followed by “Brain Freeze.” Singer Christoph Urban rocked his signature gold chain along with a pair of suspenders that he only wore half-way, his energetic movements causing them to slip. Jeffrey Rubin is prone to breaking sticks for his xylophone and glockenspiel, so he can be seen throwing them erratically into the audience.
Wyldlife was absolutely phenomenal. The band takes influence from garage rock, indie rock, power pop, and punk to make for a sound that is almost guaranteed to get you bouncing around. They also ooze a classic New York coolness, all clad in leather jackets, some in polka dot shirts, and hair all in disarray. Frontman Dave Feldman crashes around the stage in a way that makes me imagine a scenario where Pete Doherty starts a punk band (which would be great). Their energy is all fun and games, often playful. Tracks like “Saturday Night” and “First Time’s the Worst” had the crowd bouncing against each other like mad atoms. Drummer Stevie Dios is manic in his playing and full of aggression, but he’s also graceful in his speed- I haven’t seen a drummer play so well in a long time. I can’t wait for Wyldlife to come back to Philly. They play an unforgettable show.
Next up was Paul Collins, best known for his work with The Nerves, The Beat, and The Breakaways. This was just him with his guitar, and that was all he needed. Each track seamlessly flowed into the next. “Stand Back” was one of the most fun tracks of the night, delivering a healthy dose of power pop that had crowd members rocking into each other all the way through to one of the last tracks, “Don’t.” Finishing off with “Walking,” everyone at the front of the stage was singing along wholeheartedly as Collins sang back at them with an equal amount of energy. His solo tour is something you should check out if he’s coming to a town near you.
Finally, Protex took the stage, the Northern Ireland band’s first time playing in Philadelphia in over 30 years. The 1st wave punk band is easy to love, and their performance is just as catchy. This second generation of Protex managed to bang through thirteen songs in quick time and they’re no spring chickens – they know these songs like they were born to. “Strange Obsessions” was an absolute blast to hear live and sent most of the crowd into frenzy. Aidan Murtagh is an absolutely wonderful frontman and has great energy on stage, not once faltering in his vocal delivery throughout.
This was such a great mix of old and new in the world of power pop punk brought together in one fantastic night. To all the bands that played, I thank you.