Tilly & the Wall – First Unitaritan Chuch, Philadelphia Pa.

Wednesday night, I arrived at Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church halfway through Capgun Coup‘s set. The venue of the sold out show was already almost full as Nebraska-based openers Capgun Coup roared through their set to a mass of indie kids and hipsters who just stood and stared at the stage. Their set I could have done without: two of the four songs I heard were extremely sloppy, while the other two were totally tight. Capgun Coup was inconsequential, as the main attraction selling out the Church’s basement was Omaha dance pop rockers Tilly and the Wall.

Even before Tilly and the Wall came out to do their last minute sound check, the ground went nuts. As soon as the lights came back up from Capgun Coup’s set and the radio-friendly rap jams came over the PA, guys and girls alike started dropping, popping and locking. Cheers rang out as the band took the stage to do no more than set up their instruments. Once a brief sound check was completed, the audience once again turned their attention to their ridiculous dance moves, until the lights went out. The crowd grew rowdy as a dark figure snuck on stage to pass out balloons, which audience members proceeded to blow up and throw around the room to Salt N Pepa‘s “Push It.”

As “Push It” ended, the audience grew restless and began chanting “Tilly! Tilly! Tilly!” while balloons danced over people’s head, occasionally popping. The crowd went insane as Tilly and the Wall took stage yelling, “We say, ‘Oh!’ You say ‘Tilly!’ We say, ‘We Love!’ You say, ‘Philly!'” The Band screamed “Oh!” and “We love!” and the crowd yelled back “Tilly!” and “Philly!” respectively, solidifying the bond between the quintet and their fanbase.

While tried and true percussion practices of using a drum kit have stood the test of time, it was Tilly and the Wall’s tap dance percussion that initially sparked my interest when I first discovered the band years ago. Jamie Pressnall, former kindergarten teacher and current Tilly tap dancer (married to band mate and Tilly’s bass player and album art designer Derek Pressnall) dances up a storm, lending more than her fair share of energy to Tilly and the Wall’s wildly off the wall live show. Lead singer and bassist Kianna Alarid also brings wild intensity to the stage, often jumping around in neon-colored jumpsuits and ornately mismatched shoes.

Tilly and the Wall played an array of songs from debut album Wild Like Children to follow-up Bottoms of Barrels and newest single “Beat Control” from an album due out this June. While there’s nary a song the band that a Tilly fan doesn’t like, “Fell Down The Stairs,” “The Freest Man,” “Beat Control,” “Reckless” and “Bottom of Barrels” received the loudest cheers from the non-stop moving crowd. As “Bottom of Barrels,” the set’s last song, ended, the crowd again chanted “Tilly! Tilly! Tilly!” The insanity jumped up about a hundred notches when the fivesome came back onto the stage for its three-song encore, including “Lost Girls” and “Rainbows In The Dark.”

more photos @ flickr

From start to finish, Tilly and the Wall put on one of the most wildly energetic and ridiculously fun sets I have ever seen. If they ever come through or near your town, get there! Only two dates remain for this tour: tonight at the Grog Shop in Cleveland and tomorrow night at Subterranean in Chicago. The band will next be hitting the Wakarusa Festival in Lawrence, Ks. on Sunday, June 8th.

Tilly and the Wall: website | myspace

[where: 2125 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103]

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One Response

  1. […] Tilly & the Wall: website | myspace | O review | live review […]

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