It has been about a year since I last saw Roadkill Ghost Choir perform at Johnny Brenda’s. In that time, the band has performed on Letterman, at big name festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, and released a full-length album titled In Tongues. It makes me happy to see a band with tons of potential starting to hit their stride. Their sound is hard hitting with soaring melodies and spacy jams. While I tend to compare them to My Morning Jacket, Roadkill Ghost Choir definitely have a unique quality all of their own. They are able to create these extremely dynamic and well-crafted songs with all parts working together just right.
For their set Friday night at Milkboy Philly, Roadkill Ghost Choir brought out new material from In Tongues and started off with the haunting “A Blow To The Head.” There was a lot of emotion behind Andrew Shepard’s vocals on “Sleight of Hand” and by the time they played the single “Slow Knife” I could see that the band has grown more confident as performers with a new album and lots of touring under their belt. Their set was only 7 songs long, but it was well worthwhile; the band took their time and gave the songs space to grow a bit from their recorded versions.
Philly local band Commonwealth Choir opened the show with their breezy indie rock. I’ve seen Commonwealth Choir a few times now and each time, I have grown to love their catchy tunes a little bit more. They’re the perfect band to kick things off and get the night started. They get you hooked with their “whoa oh oh’s” and with tons of energy on stage the band is a hell of a lot of fun to watch as well. For this performance, Josh Friedman of The Lawsuits filled in on drums, lending a hand to his Philly band brethren.
Headlining the show was the 5-man indie rock band Caveman from NYC. This was my first time seeing Caveman, and their dreamy surf pop and ambient harmonies reminded me at times of that other NYC band Grizzly Bear… (Speaking of which, where have THEY been lately?) The stage filled with a thick artificial fog adding to the otherworldly quality of Caveman’s down tempo set, and the Milkboy crowd seemed happy to be carried away on Caveman’s vibes.