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The Bad Doctors, Psychic Teens and Hot Guts @ The Pharmacy.

August 25, 2014

BadDoctors3Text and images by Brendan Menapace.

DIY shows are rarely a tight ship but to say that this show at The Pharmacy ran smoothly would be giving the show too much credit. Random difficulties, misplaced equipment and involvement by the police would be the theme of the evening in South Philadelphia.

The show started off with Hot Guts, an industrial duo made up of heavily affected guitar riffs, haunting synth melodies, drum machines and minimal vocals reminiscent of dour teens bobbing their heads in the 80s.

The skinny room was packed with a very diverse crowd. Some guys couldn’t be a day under 50, twenty-something dudes in denim jackets with Jawbreaker patches stood right beside them, and everything in between.

The next band in line was Psychic Teens, a three-piece that balanced between shoegaze, fuzzy garage rock and metal. They were fully set up and tuned and ready to play, but the microphone was mysteriously still off. The DJ, spinning mostly industrial and drum-and-bass from behind the sound booth, seemed to be oblivious to the band’s issues. Finally, the mic was turned on and the reverb was turned up. Their strobe-lit set closed with a tuned-down and pounding grand finale, as someone in charge of the show lined his fingers across his neck and gave them the universal sign for “cut it.”

Headliners The Bad Doctors set up their equipment and a few more problems came about. First off, the microphone was still heavy with reverb and every time vocalist Matt McDermott went to ask if the reverb could be turned down, he lunged back, wincing in pain.

“Could we manage to make it so the mic doesn’t shock me whenever I use it?” he asked into the mic. “No? Okay…stupid question.”

The reverb was turned down, but after that it was the low levels on the synthesizer. After that it was a missing high hat stand and finally, the band was ready to play. The same guy who cut Psychic Teens then came up one more time.

“You guys can play like…four songs,” he said to McDermott. “The cops are seriously agitated.”

The three went through their catalog together, and counted on their fingers until they got the four songs they would perform tonight. Despite the speed bumps, the band put on an energetic show.

Their fast-paced, Ramones-meets-Joy Division style got the crowd excited, But they couldn’t play for long. It was very obvious that they certainly have developed a strong following in the city. The Bad Doctors shirts could be spotted throughout the packed room. Some fans were pushed to the point where they were closer to the makeshift stage than the bass player.

The show continued despite McDermott’s occasional winces in pain as he was electrocuted but he played it off well.

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