Balance and Composure @ Union Transfer with Foxing and Mercury Girls.
Text and images by Erin Marhefka.
It has been almost two years since Balance has toured, giving them the break they needed in order to grow and expand as artists, as well as the time to craft their newly evolved sound.
Mercury Girls opened up, bringing out a psych-rock vibe. Back in the comfort of Philly streets, they put on a wonderful performance that showed off frontwoman Sarah Schimeneck’s beautiful voice that has an impressive range. Their hauntingly captivating sound is what separates them from most up and coming bands, and leaves an impression on the crowd.
Foxing followed Mercury Girls and immediately claimed Philadelphia as ‘one of their favorite’ cities to visit.
Trumpeter and frontman Conor Murphy vocalized his appreciation of the fans multiple times during their set, as the last few months deemed a difficult time for the band. At the beginning of tour, they lost their iconic red van that they used over the past three years (12 tours). Then, at the beginning of November, the band suffered an accident where a truck hit them as they were parked on the side of the road, ruining the van but not injuring the band. Through these financial and emotional hardships, they found solace in playing music to their fans.
Foxing is a band unlike any other, quickly taking the alt-world by storm with their haunting melodies and versatile, ambient sounds that can make you go from jamming to crying in a matter of two chords. The live violinist – along with Murphy’s trumpeting skills – is a unique part of the bands live set up, which is pleasant and refreshing from the ordinary band set up. They successfully capture the feelings of melancholy mixing with anger and love. They create a passionate atmosphere that ascends from the stage, captivating their audience with the naked emotion of their music.
Finally, Balance and Composure took the stage.
Hailing from Doylestown, this is a close-to-home show for them. The many faces in the crowd are the same ones from their YMCA Teen Center days, way back when Separation wasn’t even in existence to the public. Their vibe has changed astronomically since then, the feeling of teen angst leaving their sound and being replaced with an adult wonder.
Three square LED lights hovered behind the guys and frontman Jon Simmons took center stage, forgoing his guitar which, for many, was a shock as they’ve never seen him not with a guitar in his hand. They eased into “Midnight Zone,” one of the new tracks from LWM, and Simmons swayed to the beat as the dim lights circled around them. Andy Slaymaker added keys to his guitar set up, another new thing they have adopted on stage.
The crowd swayed with them to the chilled beat but as soon as “Void” came on, the mood shifted from relaxed to hype.
They played other classics like “More To Me,” “Quake” and “Reflection.” They ended on “I Tore You Apart In My Head” in a double encore. This is a song that they do not usually do live, so this took many by surprise and the crowd seemingly lost their minds the second that first chord hit. The room shifted forward and backward, side to side, as Balance ripped through their final song.