Oh, World Cafe Live!, if only everything else in life was as reliable as you. When you step into WCL, you know a few things will be pretty much guaranteed:
- The eggplant fries will be amazing
- The lighting will be good
- All the bands on the bill will be phenomenal.
Such was the case Saturday night when I went to go see Philadelphia’s own Quick Step John.
Starting off the evening of awesomeness was No Second Troy, based out of Washington D.C. Frontman Jeff Wharen must have studied hard in his Frontman 101 class and scored the honor roll. Wharen threw himself completely into his performance; gripping the mic passionately, raising his arms to emphasize certain passages and thrashing around with his guitar when the music called for it.
Best described as Coldplay meets the guitar stylings of U2 with a touch of Radiohead thrown in, this is a band you’ve probably never heard of but that’s probably only a simple matter of time before you do.
Second on the bill was the danceable rock jams of Spoons For Adam, from Philadelphia. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect with this band. Apparently they were a last minute addition to the bill as the tickets only listed two acts for that night.
Fronted by lead singer Cait, they have an upbeat sound that demanded a little bit more out of the audience than they were ready to give. If given the right audience they could probably make the whole house move, but as is usually the case of a small seated venue like upstairs at World Cafe and an opening time slot, makes for a bit of a sparse crowd and little interaction. Regardless of the circumstances, they worked up a sweat of their own and even knocked out a respectable cover of U2‘s “Vertigo.”
After a very quick set change it was time for the night’s headliner, Quick Step John. By this time the crowd, as well as the band, were plenty liquored up and ready to rock.
To put it bluntly, it was exhausting even watching these guys play. Lead singer Craig Whitaker was all over the stage, and at times, off of it and standing on nearby tables.
While the rest of the band played the more subdued role opposite Whitaker’s wild man antics, keyboardist Ed Bagden wasn’t about to let a piano bench keep him from moving around.
While playing what sounded to be a best of off of their CDs, the crowd was very wired and enthusiastic for the high energy displayed on stage. Unfortunately, with tables and chairs in the way it was hard for them to get too into it. Once again, another case of right band, wrong venue.
Quick Step John, probably best known for their hit song “One By One,” pretty much destroyed the WCL. At the end of the set, they almost literally destroyed the stage. It was covered with an interesting mix of beer, a knocked over keyboard and a couple guitars. Right after the last chords of the final song in their set, the band went into a frenzy for a closing and charged off stage.
It was a good night of three solid acts in a row, a rarity in a lot of cases. I would definitely love to see what each one could do in a more suitable venue.
Written by: Ed Roper