Photography and Story by Steven Philips StSteven.com #StSteven

The XO Lounge, a new venue at 15th and South St. in Philly, that has booked a lot of great acts for this spring.  They put together a triple bill on March 21 that filled the spot with happy people who had a great time dancing to these three fun bands.  XO has a few things going for it, including some former Blockley staff members that know how to book talent and throw a good party; Parking is pretty easy in the South Street area neighborhood, as is access to public transportation which is always a plus. The entrance “around the back” gives the spot a warehouse party feel, and the 3am closing time, and hour extra over the Philly norm, is also a bonus usually reserved for after hours places. The sound system is good, although sometimes the sound isn’t optimized for the room, and can get very loud. The lighting is another area that will hopefully be improved, as it was very dark on stage for this show. But the music was great, and that’s what matters most.

Catullus

Catullus

Catullus kicked off the evening with their unique brand of funky dance groove jam rock.  They play a number of their good original songs and some great covers as well.  They have a solid rhythm section including both a drummer and percussionist. The crowd knows and loves their music, so a few songs quickly become sing a longs.
Underwater Sounds

Underwater Sounds

The Underwater Sounds have been one of my favorite local bands for several years now.  The band is fronted by Sonni Shine (guitar, vocals, songwriting) and she is an amazing talent.  This band is a great vehicle for her vocal grooves and funky guitar, which set the tone for a style of reggae beat music that is unique in it’s approach.  Many of the songs are downtempo, almost psybient sounding jams, and Sonni’s hypnotic voice draws you right into the groove.  The lyrics are positive and inspirational, and vibe is very chill.  You can read Sonni’s beautiful lyrics to the songs on their new album HERE and the album will be out soon.
Two bands share the talents of Billy Campion (guitar) and Sean Youngman (drums), Philadelphia Funk Hustle, and Underwater Sounds.  Billy plays great guitar riffs and leads many of the songs into great jams, sometimes jazzy, sometimes spacy, but mostly with a reggae/island/underwater feel.  Sean Youngman is a drummer I’ve admired for years.  He’s a perfect fit with this group, and a friend to everyone on the local music scene.
The Mantras

The Mantras

This night was my first time seeing The Mantras, and I was interested to hear how they would sound with Ken Mogul, formerly of Psychedelphia.  They played a very high energy set of rock music, at times progressive, jazzy, and funky.  The musicianship of each of the members was right on and they got the crowd dancing hard.
All in all a super fun night at XO, where I will be several more times in the upcoming weeks for more great music.

FULL GALLERY