Union Transfer double booked themselves Friday night. Norwegian deep house revivalist Kygo’s show sold out months in advance, so the venue chose to book indie rockers Kopecky Family Band for an early show beforehand. The latter act decided to bring Nashville newcomers Coin on tour with them, who are warming up for the release of their first full-length, due in the spring from major label Columbia. About this time last year, we covered the lead-up to their run of shows at CMJ, their only real previous tour experience. The grueling two months they’ve spent criss-crossing the U.S. with Kopecky Family have been a sort of trial by fire, which they have passed with flying colors. Their merch sales have so far outstripped expectations that they were down to just small t-shirts by the time they got to Philadelphia, and with good reason. Coin’s opening set was one of the best I’ve seen from such a young band, with exuberant originals of various vintage and a rocking take on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” that managed to get even the back bar singing along. You can download that cover and a couple of recent singles in exchange for a Facebook like here. Free music is perhaps to be expected from a group that makes pop music and clearly loves what they do, infectiously enthusiastic from the first moment they stepped on stage. Though they’ve since wrapped up the tour, Music City fans can catch them Saturday headlining Exit/In.
Though I wasn’t as familiar with Kopecky Family Band, they had made an excellent choice of opener, with beautiful harmonies just as passionately performed, and the welcome additions made by experience and a broader variety of instrumentation. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the band’s favorite colloquialism was “Variety is the spice of life”, as each member seemed to play 3 or more instruments in the course of their set, including trombone, ukulele, electric cello, and a floor tom that seemed to be passed around to everyone. For the closer, they simply didn’t have enough hands, and invited the guys from Coin to join them on tambourine and other percussion, as well as backing vocals. The overall effect reminded me quite a bit of Arcade Fire, with songs every bit as anthemic seemingly played to the metaphorical cheap seats, Union Transfer’s general admission approach notwithstanding. Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon were effusive about their love of Philadelphia, rooted in their longstanding relationship with local public radio outfit WXPN, who presented the show. While not as packed as the impending EDM show would be, the crowd was boisterous enough to demand an encore, a request that was honored despite the venue’s need to move the stage promptly after their set. I will certainly be on the lookout for KFB’s next trip to Philadelphia, and be listening between visits to appreciate them better.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC