American Music Club – Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia Pa.

American Music Club is a classic American (duh) mostly indie rock band. They’ve been together and making great music since before I was born, so it was a pleasure to see them play last Friday night at Philadelphia’s Johnny Brenda’s. Fronted by the witty and somewhat self-loathing Mark Eitzel, American Music Club entertained its large audience with songs old and new, as well as some humorous anecdotes. The started out rocking hard with “Hello Amsterdam” from 1994’s San Francisco before mellowing out into the beautiful ambiance that has come to define American Music Club.

During “The Revolving Door,” also on San Francisco, bassist Sean Hoffman walked off stage to the bar, prompting Eitzel to turn to drummer Steve Didelot and ask, “Where’d that bass player go?” Eitzel then looked at Hoffman at the side of the bar and asks him, “So did you just quit the band? Is that what happened?” Hoffman smiles and raises his pint glass in good cheer and takes his place back on stage, setting his beer down before he resumes playing.

Johnny Brenda’s was full and buzzing with energy as American Music Club played on with a five-song string of material off the new record The Golden Age, including single “All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco,” before delving back into past albums original to Eitzel and longtime bandmate and guitar player Vudi, whose musicianship is unparalleled. “Home” and “Another Morning” gave nods to 2004’s Love Songs for Patriots, American Music Club’s comeback album after a ten-year hiatus that began in 1994.

After finishing out the set with “Johnny Mathis’ Feet,” Eitzel left the stage, followed by Hoffman and Didelot. Vudi stuck around strumming chords on his guitar either out of spite for the silliness of leaving the stage just to come back and play again, or because it was just too much an effort to walk across the stage and out the back door only to come back 3 minutes later. Vudi succumbed to the loneliness on stage and began his departure just as Eitzel returned. American Music Club played a 3-song encore, with each song taken as a request from audience members who’d approached Eitzel before the show had begun, among which was “Firefly” and the wildly popular “Jesus’s Hands.” Before playing that latter, Eitzel launched into a lengthy anecdote about having lived in a small concrete box surrounded by crackheads who never let him get a minute’s sleep so he nipped out to the bar for a drink on a nightly basis.

American Music Club played a strong set which the crowd more than enjoyed. Old and new songs transitioned fluidly into one another and Eitzel’s antics and stories kept the audience wrapped around his finger. He constantly apologized for no reason at all and it only made the crowd love him that much more. American Music Club was an absolute pleasure to see live, even if at 23 I was the youngest person in the crowd by far. You can still catch the band on tour in support of the recently released The Golden Age. I highly recommend it.

more @ flickr

Set List: Hello Amsterdam , Blue and Grey Shirt, The Revolving Door, Decibels and Little Pills, All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco, I Know That’s Not Really You, The Sleeping Beauty, The Windows on the World, Home, All My Love, Another Morning, Western Sky, Johnny Mathis’ Feet (Mercury)
Encore: Jesus’ Hands, Firefly (California)

Tour Dates:
May 03 – Hi Tone/Memphis, TN
May 04 – Randy Bacon Gallery/Springfield, MO
May 05 – Record Bar/Kansas City, MO
May 06 – Vaudeville Mews/Des Moines, IA
May 07 – Waiting Room/Omaha, NE
May 09 – Larimer Lounge/Denver, CO
May 10 – Urban Lounge/Salt Lake City, UT
May 12 – Rhythm Room/Phoenix, AZ
May 13 – Plush/Tucson, AZ
May 15 – Belly Up/Solano Beach, CA
May 16 – The Echo/Los Angeles, CA


American Music Club: website | myspace | The Golden Age review

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