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Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Iceage @ First Unitarian Church (Philadelphia, Apr. 19)

Photo by Oda Edjar Starheim
The ruminations of one of Philadelphia's most well put together punk shows had a risk. Heading the formative billing of White Lung, Night Birds, and METZ was Iceage, the youngest of the four bands with easily the most buzz surrounding them. And with that favor came the band's less-than proud reputation of its listless live shows, which, given their youth, was somewhat unsurprising.

Preceding Iceage were three groups with consummate energy. White Lung, starting relatively early, ripped through last year's Sorry LP as guests leaked out of the earlier church ceremonies upstairs. Given the band's relatively surging popularity and the fact that the Vancouver group boasted the only female acts of the entire night (a welcome sign in the least), it was somewhat surprising that local band Night Birds were set to play afterwards.

The New Jersey punk band housed some of the nights best energy, which coincidentally featured a fellow Rowan University friend on guitar (awesome). Their self-branded American stylized punk wasn't much of a separator in terms of individual vision, but the piece-by-piece energy output of the foursome was certainly adept for the basement.

Which led to Toronto trio METZ, which had arguably the most proud reputation of ecstatic live displays. Each of the three acts soundly followed the last, showing its own merits and setting themselves apart from one another, with METZ coming out arguably as the night's best. They didn't meander through in-between song discussions, suffered little to no technical setback, and confidently strode through as a band that profoundly knew had to make a name for themselves.

As side-ways rain began to fall outside, making the floors even slicker than before from beer and sweat, Iceage quickly topped off the night. Still the biggest name of the four, the crowd stayed packed, and was more than admiring. The Dutch foursome still had some issues outside of lead singer Elias Bender R√łnnenfelt commanding his own spot, but a more than anxious crowd helped deter what could of otherwise been seen as a standard quick performance. Which proved, more than anything else, that crowd command matters more than young artists might realize.

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