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The Music Made Them Do It: Creepoid, Dreambook and Amanda X @ Johnny Brenda’s.

July 15, 2013

CreAmanDrea13Text and images by Michael Bucher.

I’ll be honest, Creepoid is what brought me to Johnny Brenda’s on this cool, dreary Friday night in Fishtown. But Amanda X and Dreambook each brought their distinctive sound to entertain the mild hipster crowd.

Amanda X

Amanda X

Amanda X includes Cat Park on guitar and vocals, Kat Bean on bass and vocals and Tiff Yoon on drums. Often their sweet, poppy guitar sound reminds me of California’s Best Coast but they quickly take turns toward thrashing punk jams. After their second song – “After Nine,” Park admitted to the crowd that her biggest fear onstage is a bout of uncontrollable coughing. It’s the same fear she claims a girl gets in front of a boy she has a crush on, a scene she describes with enough detail that it must stem from a real, traumatizing incident.

The uncontrollable coughing never happened though, and like many of their songs, their set came and went in a short burst of energy.

Dreambook

Dreambook

Philly’s Dreambook took the stage next featuring Jim Anderson on guitar and lead vocals, Brian Ziprin on bass, Rachel Wetzel on lead guitar and vocals and Matt Scottoline (filling in for Kevin Priest who has a broken arm) on drums. With his eyes peacefully closed, Anderson sang not to outdo the other instruments but to blend in with the droning, shoegaze rock music. Overhead, two blue cones of light, broken into tiny individual threads, poured down on the band like police helicopter spotlights.

The band said little between songs, jumping from one song to the next with only a few seconds of silence between. They played a handful of songs off their latest LP, Only Shadows, such as “Silent Plain,” “Stay Inside” and “Ghost,” as well as a Dinosaur Jr. cover of “Let it ride.” Long stretches of meandering guitar during “In My Mind” created a feeling like one is floating across a dark sky with no clear destination, just enjoying the scenery below.

Bringing the crowd crashing back down from up high was Creepoid.

For me, great songs must pass what I call the “chill test” – a tingling sensation on the back of your neck that occurs from hearing a song. If a song can repeat this sensation over many listens, I consider it a great song. Creepoid’s first LP, Horse Heaven, gets me everytime and it was no different in concert.

Sean Miller on guitar and vocals, Anna Troxell on bass and vocals, Pat Troxell on drums and Pete Joe Urban on guitar became so absorbed in their own music’s energy that it takes them over. At one point, Miller became so caught up in his guitar part that his thick-rimmed glasses were thrown from his head onto the floor of the stage. Anna Troxell can’t contain her energy on stage. She jogged in place between songs. She smirked while playing as if she couldn’t believe how good the band is.

As their final song – “Enabler” – came to a close, the lights on stage went out except for a couple red dots. Everyone lost it in the thick fog. Miller was on his knees, glasses thrown from his head again, as he beat his guitar. Pat Troxell stabbed his drums with his sticks instead of tapping. Then he began pushing the pieces of his drum kit, scattering them about on stage. Anna Troxell swung aggressively backward and forward in rhythm. They slowly broke from their trance as the song closed and began picking up the pieces.

I get the feeling they would have done the same thing if they were just practicing in their basement. It was no gimmick. The music made them do it.CreAmanDrea11

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