Recently I had the honor of attending the Radio 104.5 8th Birthday Show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden. It is safe to say that the birthday show has been one of the best gigs I have attended this year.
Take alternative rock, but with a gritty, 90s grunge tonality and that’s basically what comprises Philadelphia’s very own ANDORRA. They certainly opened up Radio 104.5’s 8th Birthday Show with a bang. Starting off with “Tell Me Father,” the band’s energy illuminated all throughout the amphitheater as bassist Michael Trycieckyj started off a killer solo with lead guitarist, Sam Carlen who chimed in seconds later. “Ain’t It a Shame,” which has becomes the band’s signature live song, kicked off with vocalist Kevin McCall and Carlen dueling it out with some killer guitar riffs, followed by McCall’s smooth vocals. “The End,” which is not actually the end of their set is their more ballad-esque song off of Etc, Etc, Etc… With the combination of Jordan Petrellis’ drumbeat, which was accompanied by the nodding of heads in the crowd and Carlen’s insane solo, everyone from the pit to all the way on the lawn was hooked. Check out ANDORRA if you haven’t already.
VANCE JOY is a beautiful mixture of indie, folk, and alternative. Vocalist James Keogh has the voice of an angel. He started his set with “From Afar,” a more folk-y track off the album Dream Your Life Away. He performed with a full live band, but rather than staying in front of the mic, he engaged with the rest of them, making it a magical experience. Towards the end of the set, they played “Georgia,” one of his more low-key songs. During “Georgia,” VANCE JOY really connected with the crowd; it was like they were one. The set ended with radio and fan favorite, “Riptide,” which left the entire crowd swaying and singing along to VANCE JOY’S angelic voice.
WALK THE MOON
The first time I saw WALK THE MOON was back in 2012 on the Naked Feet Tour at The Theater of Living Arts (or TLA) in Philadelphia. Since then, WALK THE MOON has always been a favorite of mine. For a band that played smaller venues three years ago, this band has done extremely well for itself. If playing for a sold out show for over 7,000 people was any indication, these guys will be doing even greater things in the near future. Vocalist Nick Petricca walks out onto the stage as fans are chanting, “Walk the Moon.” Immediately, he starts jumping up and down, and engaging the crowd followed by guitarist Eli Maiman and bassist Kevin Ray who do the same thing as well. WALK THE MOON opened their set with fan favorite “Different Colors,” and immediately the crowd started jumping around, swaying their arms, and singing along to each word. They also played older songs off of their self-titled disc such as “Tightrope,” and “Lisa Baby.” The second to last song as well as another fan favorite (as well as mine), “Shut Up and Dance” had everyone from the pit and all the way back to the lawn, dancing and singing along, and some even crying. The group closed with an oldie and yet ANOTHER fan favorite, “Anna Sun,” and everyone went wild. At the end of their set, the lights turned off, everyone returned back to reality and slowly started to come to terms with the fact that WALK THE MOON put on a killer set and they have just seen one of the best live bands out there today.
PASSION PIT is a band I have loved since I was 13. And they drew an energetic crowd for their set. They opened up with “Little Secrets,” which is an oldie, but still a great track off of their 2009 album Manners. The guys played “Lifted Up (1985)” followed by “Carried Away” from the album Gossamer. The crowd was jumping up and down and moving their bands to the beat of “Carried Away.” They ended their set with “Sleepyhead” (one of my personal favorites) off of their 2008 EP Chunk of Change. Despite the heat, PASSION PIT kept the crowd alive and active.
OF MONSTERS AND MEN
OF MONSTERS AND MEN closed the entire birthday show. By the time they went on, the crowd had been standing and out in the heat for almost 12 hours, but that didn’t stop them from singing and dancing all night long. The Icelandic group did an incredible job at keeping the fans enticed. “Thousand Eyes” was their opener, also the ninth track off of their second LP, Beneath the Skin, which will arrive this June. Many fan favorites off of My Head Is An Animal were played such as “Mountain Sound,” and my personal favorite, “Little Talks.” They ended the show with “Dirty Paws,” and everyone in the crowd went wild. This crowd had the same amount of energy for OF MONSTERS AND MEN as they did for WALK THE MOON who easily played six hours before them.
Happy Birthday, Radio 104.5. Keep on rocking!
LIVE WORDS/PHOTOS: KYRA HOWELL PHOTOGRAPHY