“Biologically you’re a sound individual, mentally you’re just crazy as a loon. You hit me like a train running so hard, let’s skip the wedding and honeymoon.”- Kalob Griffin Band, Honeymooners
And so describes my relationship with the Kalob Griffin Band—when I heard them at the Tri State Indie Music Awards in February, my ears perked up, pulse sped up, and my honeymoon began. They ended up winning the award for Philly Indie Band of the Year. The second stop on my honeymoon tour was MilkBoy in Center City, Philadelphia. This particular evening brought out distinct crowds for the KGB as well as TJ Kong and The Atomic Bomb and The Peace Creeps.
The sound of the Kalob Griffin Band is part folk/americana, part rock, with a generous splattering of pop on top. Their energy is contagious. Part of it can be explained by the natural youthful exuberance of the band—the other part comes from their fan base of Penn State followers. In between songs, the chants of “K-G-B! K-G-B! K-G-B!” were rousing. There was heckling, there was shouting, there was singing, and a swelling of bodies much akin to a beer glass overflowing with foam.
Kalob Griffin’s voice is a loud and clear shock to the soul—a woodsy mix of Justin Townes Earle and Colin Meloy of the Decemberists—with a high and powerful texture. The band played songs from their self-titled EP such as “Beards”, “Take Me River”, “Flood of 1889”, “Whiskey My Love”, and “Ricky Tick Tack”. As a unit, they are tight, forceful, and freewheeling. They’ll be hosting an album release party on Friday, June 1st at the World Cafe Live in Philly for their upcoming album, June Found a Gun.
Speaking of guns and other explosives, TJ Kong and The Atomic Bomb lit up the MilkBoy with a floor-stomping mix of what can only be described as punk-a-billy. It’s hardcore folk—grated strings, aggressive tambourines, heaving harmonicas, and upright pounding…yes, take that however you’d like. You’ve got “Ten Minutes” until the sun goes down and you find yourself surrounded by this curious quartet. I’m digging the album cover for Idiots—keep this band on your radar.
And as for The Peace Creeps who opened the show, I suggest you check out their album Autumn of Love, as well as “Fashions for the Fall” from their latest album. Not only is it the kind of psychedelic rock that will always burn up my insides but it also shares my name, my season, and my decaying sense of boundaries between this world and the next.