I can’t believe I’ve been back in Philly for over a month and this is the first show I actually get to write about. Not because I haven’t been attending, but because other staff members took point on a few while I got settled into the new HQ. And there is no better way to start off The Maestro’s Concert Review Season 2015 than with one of my favorite trios, DIE SO FLUID. Hailing from the UK/Los Angeles, the band combines the spooky ambience of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES and the dark, moody rock of CONCRETE BLONDE with a harder, heavier sound that is unquestionably all their own. Over the past ten months I have been able to interview the band, Al Fletcher (drums/back-up vocals), Drew Richards (guitar), and Grog (bass, lead vocals) all together, and more recently Grog via Skype on New Year’s Eve, so I was beyond excited to see them live.
I arrived at North Star Bar early to catch local support CARFAX ABBEY, a band I couldn’t get enough of when I first discovered them in the late 90’s and was pleasantly surprised to find out was on the bill. Their seamless brand of industrial rock sounds every bit as raw, live, and angry now as it did then. From opener “Spitshine” and “Flush to the Floor” to closer “Mindless” singer Gary Billings looks like a man possessed and his voice hasn’t lost a step, not one. This was evident by the loud cheers after each number. There were quite a few of their fans there and they were surely making their presence known. I’m real anxious to go see these guys on one of their headlining gigs because that set was just NOT enough for me!! But don’t take my word for it. You’ll have to get out to a show and see the live madness for yourself.
Now it was time for Grog and Co. to come out and show Philly how they take care of business, which they did, make no mistake about it! Opening with “Gang of One” from debut album Not Everybody Gets a Happy Ending which led right into “Mercury” from sophomore record The World Is Too Big For One Lifetime, the group was tight and streamlined from the very first note. Al’s harmonies meshed wonderfully with Grog’s powerful leads, and those in attendance around me were really getting into it. Grog’s beautiful and expressive eyes are beyond hypnotic and as she sings they only serve to lure you in further until you are trapped in DIE SO FLUID’S web.
Turning to new album The Opposites of Light, the band tore into new tracks “Black Blizzard” and “Comets” and I couldn’t stop moving my head and smiling. Here is this group of people I’ve been going pretty bonkers over since 2013 and they were ripping shit up right in my backyard! Going back to the last album “Raven” was up next, and I don’t think it could have sounded better than it did on this night. However, the show sadly had to come to an end, but when they pulled out old song “Existential Baby” I was in heaven. When all was said and done they certainly made some new fans on this night, and as I was chatting with them after their set I was happy to see merch moving pretty briskly. I even got to chat with Grog at length about all kinds of fun stuff, too. She really is an absolute sweetheart of a person and a joy to be around. I wasn’t lying about the eyes either, was I?
All told, the night was a rousing success. I got to enjoy music from two bands that have made quite an impact on me both as a fan and a writer, and it was great to do it in Philly…my home. Be sure to go to CARFAX ABBEY’S and DIE SO FLUID’S websites to grab some tunes, merch, and tickets for their shows. Neither band will disappoint, I promise! And big thanks to Ryan “C.B.” Whitehead for stepping in to help with the DSF photos!
LIVE REVIEW: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: ARDENT OWL MEDIA