Halloween came early on Saturday, as The Great Socio threw a party at their band house in Manayunk. With kegs, costumes, and candy, there was something for everyone, not the least of which were fantastic live performances by the hosts and their guests. In a gesture of humility and goodwill, the Socio boys elected to open their own show, kicking things off early in full Aladdin regalia. Frontman Alberto Munoz took the role of Jasmine, shaving his face completely for the first time in years, as did keyboardist Monty, who portrayed Aladdin himself. Blue-clad bassist Craig Stenger ably served as genie, and drummer Drew Bernier played as the villain Jafar. Rattling through a short set of originals, the band seemed anxious to participate rather than play, excitedly amping up the intimate crowd for the acts to follow. It was a performance that had to be seen to be believed, with band and fans all jammed into their practice space for a sweaty rock’n'roll dance party.
New Jersey’s Solus Rex, fresh from a show the previous night at Bourbon & Branch, took it upon themselves to become The Great Socio. Frontman Cain donned a top hat and mustache as Alberto, with keyboardist Matty Rogoff sporting Monty’s distinctive mutton chops, two ties, and brightly colored skinny jeans. Bassist Rob Franchetti’s wig got the length right, but the color wrong for his portrayal of Craig, but that was quickly forgiven once the unerringly accurate mustache on his upper lip was spotted. Drummer Tyler Perle not only wore a jersey as Drew is apt to do, but uncharacteristically left it on throughout their set. The Raven, Solus Rex’s lead guitarist, was left without a costume and played himself as an additional guitarist for The Great Socio, an idea the hosts have been toying with for years. From the infectious piano riff that opened “Hysteria” to their scene-stealing rendition of Socio’s “The Lioness” to close it off, Solus’s set was a blistering barrage of feel-good rhythms and sing-along hooks, the perfect way to get the party going.
The Revere were in from suburban Doylestown, where they will be playing a show with The Great Socio and fellow Doylestowners Native Maze on Halloween night at Puck. That show will include 90s covers, as well as original music, a preview of which was incorporated into the trio’s set. Most notably, they played an excellent rendition of Cake’s “The Distance” that had smokers running in from the back yard to rock out. Stripping the five-piece arrangement down for their use really emphasized The Revere’s raw talent, bringing a punk energy that I wouldn’t expect from a Cake cover. With costumes including Zorro and a skeleton, the band was in the spirit, hanging out long into the night with fellow musicians and fans alike. The crowd did seem to be a who’s who of the local scene, with RKVC, Danielle & Jennifer, and members of Bong Hits for Jesus, Rowboat Casino, and Plantation in attendance, as well as a jam session that started up late in the living room. It was quite an evening, and if it’s any indication of what to expect Friday night, Doylestown is in for a good time.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC