Upstairs at Milkboy on one of the most hot and humid days in Philadelphia this spring, the measly flow of A/C wasn’t keeping the room cool. Add body heat and hot stage lights to that equation, and you get a hot mess. The show was originally scheduled for Johnny Brenda’s but it had to be relocated due to a water main break that forced the evacuation of the Fishtown venue.
Penrose, a 3-piece band of brothers Dan, Tom, and Pat Murphy from Philadelphia started out with a slow, plodding, heavy sound that flowed into bluesy rock & roll. At the end of their 3rd song, vocalist/guitarist Dan Murphy knelt down with his back to the audience to gain his composure. At first, the audience wasn’t aware that anything was wrong. Bassist Pat checked to see if Dan was okay, then thanked everyone for coming, and apologized that they had to cut their set short. If I had heard more of Penrose, I may have been able to form a full opinion of their music, but all I can honestly say is that they seem to have good potential.
Next up was Roadkill Ghost Choir. With an added box fan on stage to keep cool, these Florida boys played a full set of spacy folk tunes, which reminded me instantly of My Morning Jacket. I liked the grungy guitar sound mixed with the twang of the pedal steel. RKGC played songs from their EP “Quiet Light” and a few others that varied from quiet, reflective songs to kicked up rockin’ jams. For their last tune, Kiffy Meyers picked up the banjo, which increased my enjoyment of this band even more. During their set, singer Andrew Shepard’s long shaggy hair created a curtain from which he barely peeked out from on stage. These guys are good, really good. But they seem rather shy about showing it. Or maybe they’re just humble. Either way, I’d like to hear more from Roadkill Ghost Choir.
By the time Dead Confederate went on, the stage lights were lowered considerably. Starting off with fan favorite “Wrecking Ball,” T. Hardy Morris began slowly and quietly on his guitar with soft keys from John Watkins and weeping slide guitar from Walker Howle. When they hit the 3rd verse, Brantley Senn and Nick Sterchi added their bass and drums and the song became a loud, pounding, destructive force. The majority of Dead Confederate’s set contained songs from their recently released “In The Marrow” which have a great grungy, shoegazey sound. Their set also included the Nirvana-esque “Heavy Petting” and Dead Confederate staple “The Rat.”
Before their last song, Dead Confederate darkened the stage completely to cool things off. “Slow Poisons”, ended with a long beautiful clamor of distortion, with Morris, Howle and Senn on their knees, heads bowed, intently switching and tweaking their distortion pedals while Watkins feverishly played his keys like he was possessed.
Dead Confederate Setlist
- Wrecking Ball
- Slave To Slavery
- In The Marrow
- Best Of The Worst
- Heavy Petting
- The Rat
- Winter Waters
- Dead Poetry
- Slow Poisons