Zuli, Static Mountain, Souldiers of Soul and R.R. Perkins @ Everybody Hits.
Text by Eric Fitzsimmons.
Everybody Hits, the batting cages-cum-music venue on Girard Avenue was the first stop for New York-based Ryan Camenzuli and his band, Zuli, on a seven-week tour bringing them down to Texas and back up the west coast. They joined Philly’s Static Mountain, a resident favorite and big draw for the evening, along with Souldiers of Soul and R.R. Perkins for the show this last Friday.
The evening started with R.R. Phillips’ synth-heavy instrumentals with the still-small crowd chilling around the picnic tables then gets into gear with Souldiers of Soul (below).
Zuli was in the middle of the song “Forget my Name” before anyone knew what was happening, the lights flicked off and conversations ended abruptly, but just as suddenly the music stopped.
Just a soundcheck, does it sound good? Ready for more?
With the crowd’s attention, Zuli launched into the title song off his 2015 debut EP Supernatural Voodoo. His brand of bright psychedelic pop is hard to resist, the songs are quick; “Supernatural Voodoo” clocks in at a tight two-and-a-half minutes with shades of surf rock, the Flaming Lips and glimpses of other influences peeking through on any given listen.
It took a bit for the crowd to catch the beat. Everybody Hits is one of the more intimate concert venues in the city and in this case it was less about the size than the feel. Everyone seemed to know each other and the bands and the artists hung in the back by the merch table. People streamed in mostly after 10, usually running up to greet friends already there with the groups shifting and merging throughout the night.
It was an away game for Zuli, but he knows the touring game and he was pleased to see the crowd moving along to “Better all the Time” towards the end of the set. For those who have been following since his well-received EP, there were a couple treats as he broke out two brand new songs, “Funky Feeling” and “Four Blaze.”
Camenzuli mostly hung in the back, taking in the other bands. He had some bad luck in Philly in the past – vehicle trouble mostly – and already, he hit snow and had to cancel a stop in New Brunswick when the bar got robbed. But he got to the concert without incident and was digging the show.
Static Mountain suggested Everybody Hits when he connected with them about a show and he liked the vibe. It’s a tall room with a lot of empty spaces to the side in the batting cages.
The place was just about filled up when Zuli took the stage for his six songs. When he’s finished, it looks like a house party again. A couple people step in for a round in the batting cages, but the local headliners take the stage.
As Static Mountain began their set, everyone who was mingling back by the art and merch shifted forward as images from Superman, Star Trek and The Land of the Lost flashed on the wall overhead. Static Mountain’s sound is dirtier, longer, trippier.
Camenzuli was on the floor too. He was psyched to see the home team live too, before heading to D.C. for the next stop on the tour.