Saturday, September 11, 2010

Junk Culture and Tobacco at The First Unitarian Church

We step down into the basement of a church with the type of ceilings that you can throw pencils up into. The walls are made of dark wood paneling from floor to ceiling, and there is a sweet red bulletin board with no announcements that I pass on the way to the bathroom. This is no ordinary church basement though. The bands we came to see, Tobacco and Junk Culture , aren’t on yet, so we step outside with our paper bags of beer for some fresh air.
The First Unitarian Church is old, and made of stone that is peppered with beautiful windows of stained glass. Parts are covered in ivy. The railings are covered in bicycles and the steps draped with young people. A passerby comments on how odd it is that a bunch of kids are standing outside a church at this hour. As we sip our beers from the steps of a church across the street I note that it is quite funny to see this mixed crown of flannel and tye dye milling around outside of a church on a Friday night but soon we all head in to see Junk Culture take the stage leaving the bikes to their own devices.

our new friend: Deepak

Junk Culture is usually a guy named Deepak with his brother on the drums, but for this tour he's brought along Harrison instead and his tour manager, Will. They are a diverse bunch of guys from Mississippi who come together to play "cosmic r&b." They played a short set and caught my attention when they not even sampled but just straight up played Mily Cyrus' "Party In the USA" We were maybe three of five people who were into it but it showed a definite sense of humor.
Turns out they not only have a sense of humor but some guts. Over breakfast they told us about their beginings and how they left whatever school or work they were doing to pursue their passion for music. One Jetta, three Mississippians, and a killer road trip = one awesome tour. Check out their website for future tour dates in your area.

And back to the show...

What makes this venue so cool is that you can bring in your own alcohol. As we wait for Tobacco to come on we make friends with the people around us after one young Temple student gets yelled at by this awesome chick who is working the event for throwing his empty bottle against the wall. “Do you know who has to clean this up?” She shouts? “You?” the kid guesses.
Knowing absolutely nothing about music and less about the two bands we are here to see, I ask my new friend Evan (a more respectful Temple student) how he discovered Tobacco. This is the first time I hear the name Black Moth Super Rainbow and I make a note to look it up. Evan tells me that he likes the band because he likes dancing. A grin spreads across his face. It’s got a beat he tells me.
And the next thing I know we are all dancing to that beat and…Pterodactyl Porn? Na├»ve me didn’t even know this stuff existed, but the crowd does and the gives up a shout as this very specific porn video begins behind the band and front man Tom Fec wraps his mouth around a voice modulating device (a vocoder) attached to his mic. In his black and white trucker hat his eyes aren’t visible and this adds an air of mystery to the whole thing as he rocks it on his electric guitar. A girl in a black tank top and a low ponytail is to his left and plays what I imagine to be a key board and some other electronic devices. A crazy giant basketball with a face on it sits on one of the amps.
The video is crazy to the point of distraction. After the censored pterodactyl porn there’s a non-censored penis coming out of a hole in the middle of a table, eighties work out videos with women in crazy metallic high cut leotards, some wrestling , more porn that consists only of women’s faces as they orgasm and then some over the top video of a female ET like creature giving a blow job and then performing other acts of sex with various people.
But back to the music. On Wikipedia it says “their music contains elements of psychedelia, folk, electronica and pop. My new buddy Jim Smith put it so much better. Wen I ask Jim how he would describe the music he replies without hesitation. “Animal from the muppets with 5000 distorters mixed with robot vocals from another planet,” seems descriptive enough for me so I forget about trying to describe it and dance.
Two more members of the band come on stage. A drummer with a mustache and an FBI shirt and a guitarist with a ponytail totally change the sound to a harder, less electronic type of rock music as the modulated voice wails on. And then Sam starts a mosh pit.

The next thing I know our friend Sam (who brought us to this event) gives me a shove. And I shove back. Our new friend Evan is DTF and then so is everyone else. After one song I edge my way to the outside of the fray to enjoy the rest of the show.
After the show we hang around and talk to some people who have bought the album at the show.

mmmm...maniac meat...I wonder if Trader Joe's carries a tofu version...

We talk about the band, music, and Philly and meet fellow bloggers Paul and Kelli from whohave come in all the way from New Jersey for their love of Maniac Meat. Its my first full weekend in Philly and so far I can't complain. The kids seem less pretentious here, the music is good, and the venue is b.y.o.b. Need I say more?

1 comment:

  1. I don't even know what to say! Sounds very alternative and scary!