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The Homophones and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Johnny Brenda’s.

December 19, 2011

Text and images by Kevin Brosky.

Philly quartet The Homophones (above) opened last Tuesday’s bill at Johnny Brenda’s with trademark jangly guitar pop. Dubbing it their “Christmas Show,” the group had decked out the stage with strands of lights, a Christmas tree, balloons and, naturally, ghosts. Singer/guitarist Jason Ferraro switched between acoustic and electric guitars while airing out his distant croon.

The set, ripe with dazzling new tunes, included “Sweater Weather,” a song released on the band’s Bandcamp page a few months ago. “You’re the reason, my favorite season/ You’re my sweater weather,” echoed Ferraro over vibrant electric guitar picking.

JUMP caught Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s sold-out Kung Fu Necktie gig a few months back. Like that show, elbow room was at a premium when they took the stage on this night, with dance-ready fans wall-to-wall at the slightly larger venue. The duo, along with a live drummer, ripped through most of the material on their acclaimed debut It’s a Corporate World. Effects samples and fuzzed out electric guitars accompanied the endless supply of danceable rhythms and hypnotic melodies.

“It’s a corporate world/ I’m a corporation, cutting back,” they bellowed on the record’s title track. The enthusiastic packed house seemed to get the satire.

Jr. Jr. returned, wearing rainbow-checkered suit jackets (above, right), for an encore that included an explosive cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Sombody” and the magnificent “Nothing But Our Love,” bringing the show to a close with breezey vocal harmonies.

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