Each and every Wednesday, John Faye of John & Brittany hosts an open mic at The Legendary Dobb’s on South Street. Unlike your typical open mic, filled with poets, comedians, and performers of various kinds, this one tends to be full of original music, with the songwriters behind various local bands performing their material in some sort of stripped-down format, promoting upcoming shows and albums. This week was no exception, with Faye himself starting off the night, followed by a performance by Colin Newell and Tyler Perle of Solus Rex on acoustic guitar and drum kit, respectively. New song “Maneater” seemed to go over particularly well, with the crowd moving from the bar to the front to dance along to its bluesy grooves. As the night evolved, there was everything from comedic punk to Italian gypsy music, The Late Saints being an especially good example of the latter. Frontman Jacopo de Nicola has a kazoo on a mount one would expect to see a harmonica on, and it’s remarkable how much it sounds like a saxophone when played through a decent sound system. Speaking of saxophone, Andrew Donaghy of Bong Hits For Jesus was sitting in with jazz group Swing That Cat for their entire set, highlighted by a cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”. The gathered musicians were even treated to a set from John & Brittany with Drew Bernier of The Great Socio on drums, adding that extra bit of bounce to their acoustic/electric interplay.
The highlight of the evening, however, was clearly The Great Socio’s complete live performance of their new EP, Find the Time. They ran through the songs in reverse order, with crowd favorite “Criminals” provoking an enthusiastic singalong from fans and fellow musicians alike. Corey Presner of Plantation, who had performed an acoustic set earlier, was enthusiastically headbanging and screaming along to the chorus like it was his own band performing. Frontman Berto Munoz’s infectious enthusiasm overflowed into the crowd, sometimes physically as he rushed out to join them, wireless mic (and sometimes trumpet) in hand. Considering it was their last hometown show before heading to SXSW in their newly purchased van, each member was fully prepared to leave it all on the stage. Bassist Craig Stenger’s typically calm countenance was beaming throughout their set, with Matt Montgomery’s antics behind the keys standing out less than they usually do by virtue of the rest of the band’s increased energy. Closing with “The Lioness”, a standout from their previous EP Modern Grip, the Socio boys made sure to mention their ongoing Kickstarter campaign, the money from which is intended to pay for the van and tour. You can catch them live at any of the following dates, with more TBA:
- 3/7 – The Homey Awards @ World Cafe Live at the Queen (Wilmington, DE)
- 3/8 – The Black Flower w/ Lovebettie (Raleigh, NC)
- 3/9 – Brother’s Bar (Jacksonville, AL)
- 3/10 – Super Jam @ The Maison (New Orleans, LA)
- 3/12 – SXSW Showcase @ The Handlebar
- 3/13 – SXSW Showcase @ Burnside’s Tavern
- 3/14 – SXSW Showcase @ Bourbon Girl
- 3/14 – One Koast Fest @ The Lodge (Austin, TX)
- 3/15 – Home Away From Home Festival (Austin, TX)
- 3/18 – Douglas Corner Cafe (Nashville, TN)
- 3/19 – One Stop Deli & Bar (Asheville, NC)
Having gone from a local to regional act in the past year, The Great Socio hopes to take things to a national level with this tour and especially the SXSW showcases. Hopefully both the tour and the Kickstarter campaign to pay for it will be successful and they can continue to bring their party-oriented rock’n'roll to the masses on an even wider scale.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC