Music @ The Fire, Philadelphia, 7/12/12

Another good music showcase at The Fire in the books. Ordered a Yards Brawler from stylish bartender Julie. Yards is my favorite Philly-area beer company. As usual, I end up arriving about an hour before the music gets going. Opening the showcase was Wilkes-Barre PA songwriter Tony Halchak. His style presents a low and striking voice, a few simple guitar chords with very little deviation, making his delivery rather hypnotic and somewht engaging Tony’s music resembles the best of acoustic Pink Floyd, Gordon Lightfoot, and possibly Mark Knopfler. His opening referenced a lonely vagabond, perhaps a fitting muse for his talent. He also stated “I’m a Lithuanian, and this is my Irish drinking song”. During the set he covered Tom Waits’ “Clap Hands” and also Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”, segueing out of his song Five Alarm Fire. Someone shouted out “More originals”. Tony replies “I’m from Northeast PA, where people shout ‘Jessie’s Girl’! “.
Up next were NYC’s At Sea, a band I had known about for a few years but never had the opportunity to see. Jason had received airplay from me years ago when he was more solo/songwriter based. Now he’s armed with guitars and Korg (which he used on the bridge of one song), bassist Pier Paolo Pappalardo, and drummer Stefano Baldasseroni. The sound is standard indie rock that all the hipsters like, with occasional backing tracks to fill in some of the beats. James’ vocal delivery makes the difference, with a higher octave register at times that gives the songs a 70’s classic pop-rock sound (think The Raspberries, Cheap Trick) with a foot in 90’s rock (Weezer,). One song saw Jason pull out a plugged-in acoustic. Their sound was good and loud, just the right mix for a sparsely populated room that was beginning to fill up.

Those who were entering atthis all-ages event were decidedly underage; they were there to see closing act Worry Ward, a local rock trio. Led by lead guitarist Eddie, they present a number of guitar riffs, rambling lyrics, a small selection of chords, and not much interplay between each other. Boring? Not exactly. Worry Ward’s strength is in their shared guitar chops (in fact, Eddie and his bassist switched instruments for the last song). Some songs have an interesting crunch to them, with Eddie’s hard rock vocal delivery reminding me of Dexter Holland (The Offspring). Eddie mentioned to me after the show that had layered guitar parts for his recordings and does something similar for live shows. I am sure he mentioned the word ‘drives’ which would indicate using different tone pedal (yes?). It produced a sound that reminded at times like Catherine Wheel and their Fripp-like guitar textures). Instead of that band’s long jams, Worry Ward goes for focused chords in several different styles, and remaining true to a vision that notably their own. Next gigs for Worry Ward are undetermined but they appear focused on their debut album and some more Philadelphia-area gigs.

YouTube of At Sea

More photos at the Facebook gallery 


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