Friday night I was treated to a night of great local music, as all three bands playing at the Khyber in Philadelphia’s Old City section hail from in and around the city. The first to perform was retro pop outfit The Bye Byes. I say retro pop because, as front man Peter Shauger (vocals, guitar) explained to me, “people seem to think we’re 60s influenced, but I like to think we sound like 1974.” While I can’t claim to know 1974 first hand (or anything for over decade after), I can speculate that The Bye Byes would have fit in with Paul McCartney and Wings, America and The Carpenters.
The pop quartet played a tight and energetic set that left me wildly impressed. It seems to be rare nowadays that a band sounds better performing than they do recorded, but that’s exactly what The Bye Byes pulled off Friday night. Their sunny and effervescent tunes transpired beautifully live and pulled the crowd away from the bar and to the stage.
The Bye Byes’ vintage pop sensibilities are unrivaled as Joel Rose creates happy melodies on the keys, matching Shauger’s upbeat riffs, Erik Schmidt‘s simple beats and Steven Binnig‘s quiet but thumping bass lines.
Head over the The Bye Byes’ MySpace page to download several tracks saturated in a carefree summer attitude that will certainly get you dancing around. Check back soon for an interview with the band.
Scranton, Pa.’s The Minor White took the stage following The Bye Byes. They unfortunately experienced just about every technical difficulty imaginable on stage left, but it’s obvious from what they were able to play that The Minor White is a wildly talented group of guys.
Front man Roy Williams covered an Everly Brothers song on his acoustic and intermittently played solo tunes while guitarist Kyle Wall tried to work out issue with his amp and later re-string his guitar after breaking one. Wall’s difficulties were made up for by his technical skill and in the ferocity with which he strummed his guitar (I was not the least bit surprised to see he’d broken a string).
The Minor White, who will be releasing a new album titled Old Theatrics this fall, were just as poppy as The Bye Byes, but in a much heavier way, lacking the sunny disposition of Bye Byes songs. Drummer Shane O’Hara matched Wall’s intensity as he wailed on the skins creating a beat to match Kevin Williams‘ grand sweeping keyboard melodies. Sans technical difficulties, The Minor White would have had an amazing instead of just a really good one.
Headlining for the night was New Motels, an outrageously energetic and hilarious quartet met with equal outrageousness and hilarity from their fans, all of whom are die hards in the best way possible. With a MySpace page that greets you with “causing treble since 2003,” you can tell you’re in for a smart and funny ride with these guys. New Motels’ set was nothing short of absolutely solid and a whole lotta fun as everyone in the place dropped it like it was hot.
Insanity flowed forth from drummer Kyle McDonough as the crowd successfully got him to take his shirt off, let encouraging him to lose the pants, but he and front man Josh Levandoski (guitar, vox) turned it around on the audience telling them that they didn’t see any of them taking their pants off. The foursome are both excellent musicians and entertainers. They played an excellent set that kept the crowd spirited, dancing and demanding “one more song!” (which they got) at the set’s close.
Be sure to check out these great Philly bands through the links below. Lastly, I’d like to give a shout out to fellow blogger Tom of Bag of Songs who was also at the show dancing along.
Filed under: concerts | Tagged: erik schmidt, joel rose, kevin williams, kyle wall, new motels, peter shauger, philadelphia, roy williams, shane o'hara, steven binnig, the bye byes, the khyber, the minor white |