I went to my first ever punk show nine years ago this month. It was an all-consuming feeling, standing in a crowd of strangers and watching a band I had fallen in love with performing. The vibrations traveled from the speakers across the room, making their way up my spine and I was hooked. I found a home in my small town’s DIY punk scene, and I’ve never really looked back.
Moving to Philly two years ago made the frequency and the sheer amount of shows increase by tenfold. It was overwhelming but in the best possible way. I loved finding new bands and getting the chance to see them give it their all. There’s something captivating about watching someone get in front of a crowd and absolutely kill it.
Friday night marked the first show at JJ’s Diner, a house in Mantua where two of my friends are currently living. The inaugural show was an acoustic affair, and the bands playing were not only some of my favorites, but people I consider my friends.
There’s nothing quite like watching your friends absolutely blow the minds of the people who haven’t heard them before. I brought along my friend Karnik for his first ever basement show, and when he went home he found one of the band’s EPs and absolutely fell in love with them.
I left that night feeling incredibly proud of the performers because I watched all of them fill the basement with their music and it was unreal how good all of them were. Music has been such a large part of my life for so long and I feel super blessed to know so many talented musicians.
It was Blueroom’s first show and I was utterly charmed by their performance. I know that they’re going to do great things. They’re one of those bands that I honestly feel that everyone should take the time to check out.
Harmony Woods never fails to astound me, and this time was no different with the vocals in a new song that gave me chills as she sings, “I tried to build a home with you but the foundation was overlooked. The floorboards were shaking in the room we lived once. Is this the end for us?”
James Barrett was the musical project I knew the least about going into the show, but he’s got these lyrics that are so raw and sincere. You almost feel like over the course of his set that you get to know about him and his life.
I almost don’t want to even talk about Grayling because anyone who’s talked to me in the last six months or so knows how much I love them. They never fail to put on a performance that leaves me wonderstruck and I do believe that they’re going to take over the world one day.
Better Days put on their last show here. This project was born when my older sibling was still in high school, and I’ve loved every chance I’ve had to see them perform. It’s hard to see something I’ve supported since the beginning reach its end, but it’s been nothing short of phenomenal to see James grow as a person and a musician.