Johnny Brenda’s

23 12 2006

I started my Christmas vacation yesterday. There’ll be no more work for me until January…. And thank heavens for that. I’m feeling way unappreciated and undervalued at work (probably unfairly), and I need a break from various, um, workplace irritants.

Actually, I guess the vacation started Thursday night. I had tickets to see mewithoutYou, an indie band whose most recent album, Brother, Sister, really impressed me. A colleague joined me at the gorgeous Johnny Brenda’s, a new-ish venue in Philly’s Fishtown (really) neighborhood. Johnny Brenda’s is awfully cool…. We sat at a table in the balcony, overlooking the small stage. Johnny Brenda’s bar serves local beers, and I was drinking a Stegmaier winter ale (which, by the way, really kicked my butt). Good music, good company, good beer, good seats—I couldn’t have been much happier.

The opening acts were good, too. Missing Palmer West, a local band (click here to learn about the band’s name), played a short set to get things started. MPW has potential, although I think the current sound might be a little too Ben Fold Five-ish. (Random aside: I keep hearing that kind of sound in local bands. What that’s all about?) Dr. Dog, a local band that seems to be on the verge, followed with a longer set. Dr. Dog has quite a following, and more people came to hear the Dogmusic than to hear mewithoutYou. In fact, a good portion of the audience wandered off before the headliner began to play… That’s a real shame because mewithoutYou—which has its own local roots—did a fierce set. I guess I might describe the band’s music as accessible post-punk. The driving vocals, more shouted than song, are distinctive. The lyrics are distinctive, too, for their poetry and, I guess, for a kind of vague undertone of Christianity. (The occasional religious imagery certainly hasn’t put me off.)

I poured myself out of Johnny Brenda’s about 1 a.m., which is really, really late for this middle-aged body of mine. Happily enough, a cab seemed to be waiting just for me. And thank heavens I didn’t have to go to work on Friday….

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