Review and Photos by Shannon Daly
Pop punk is a genre that I have only recently started getting into, which is funny considering I am twenty years old and only just started an era that most people enter when they’re an early teenager. The renaissance I have recently found with smaller bands like Movements, Joyce Manor, and even Mom Jeans have not only taken all of my streaming time in the last few months, but have introduced me to an extremely special environment: The Small Indie Rock Scene.
The best concerts, in my opinion, are the ones that make you feel a sense of community. The concerts I went to before this year were stadium tours, ones with thousands of fans and an extremely systematic approach. When I went to my first small-venue concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, I discovered how incredible this type of environment is. I can appreciate the thousands-of-screaming-fans insane-light-show-anticipation of larger venues, but there is something about good ol’ general admission. These are the ones with other fans that strangely know every lyric to a song by a random garage band from Washington D.C. I think this is what made going to see Origami Angel -twice- so special.
Origami Angel is a band that you can cry, scream, dance and fight to. Any person who may come my way is bound to hear my rambling about why I believe they deserve every inch of recognition they have. Yes, maybe all of their songs follow the same chord progression. Yes, I know some of their songs are about Pokémon and anime. Yes, maybe they do make music that would entice a fourteen year old boy- But they put on a mighty good show.
I went to their show on November 18 at Elsewhere Hall in Brooklyn, New York. It is hard to say exactly how this show would have gone down under normal circumstances, but after a girl cracked her head open while crowd surfing and the entire venue had to be evacuated due to a medical hazard risk, it was a bit of a different vibe than most had hoped. More surprisingly, this didn’t even occur during the main act- It happened 15 minutes into the first opener. The rest of the bands had to cut their sets short, and there was a no stage diving or crowd surfing rule enacted for the rest of the show. It was a shocking thing to see, and definitely showed the level of energy there would have been at the show. Being a sold out event, we were packed in like sardines. Despite the circumstances, the crowd had an amazing time listening to some of the best openers I have ever heard.
Insignificant Other and Pool Kids, the openers throughout the whole tour, were full of energy and knew their crowd perfectly. Insignificant Other is a pop-rock band that has songs that make you want to jump up and down the whole set. Pool Kids are a harder indie-rock band that are a perfect match for their headliner, who know how to get the crowd hyped up. This is rare for an opener in my experience. Both bands have female singers, and it was great to see so much inclusivity on stage and acceptance within the crowd in a majorly male dominated scene.
Two outstanding openers made Origami Angel even more exciting. Their songs have so much pure energy in them, which is impressive for a two man band. The crowd seemed to be all-in, which is always the best, especially in the age of “viral songs” and people who go to see a band after one song gets on the charts. After being squished like a grape, eventually I was able to get my footing and stand my ground against lots of early-twenty year old men moshing and jumping. It is a workout!
The pit itself was an event. There were people doing push ups, holding up their shoes and running in circles, amongst other frivolous behavior. Even by the main act, the no crowd surfing rule was still in place. This was unfortunate since a staple of pop-punk concerts is people lifting others up and constantly waiting for a kick to the head. Despite this, the two best friends Patrick Doherty on drums and Ryland Heagy on vocals and guitar put on a great show!
They sang a majority of their songs from their two albums Somewhere City and Gami Gang. Although most of their well known songs are from these two works, they have seven other EP’s that are everything from quiet singer-songwriter types to Pokémon tributes to death-core metal. They are everything but boring. I would say the highlights of this show would be “24 Hour Drive-Thru,” “Doctor Whomst” and “FOE.”
In fact, it was so good I went AGAIN to the November 21 show in Philadelphia at Union Transfer. This show was originally going to be at the First Unitarian in mid-October, but was rescheduled to be the last -and biggest- show of the tour. In my opinion, it was an even better show than New York’s. First off, there was probably two times the amount of people in the venue. The crowd of this show was a little older than in NY. More people were seasoned show-goers and knew how to deal with pits and crowd surfers a bit more.
The community of this show was unlike any other, every person was having the time of their lives. Although the bands were extremely tired after months of touring and their voices were shot, they went all out to conclude their tour and sang with all of their heart and soul. I was jumping, screaming, running and laughing the entire time. It was one of those nights I will never forget.
Growing up around Philly, it was funny to me to see the bands all dressed in some type of Philly attire. It definitely changed my brain chemistry in some way. My highlights for this show were “24 Hour Drive-Thru,” “The Title Track,” and “Find Your Throne,” a song I only discovered I love at this concert. This was one of the best concerts I have ever been to, and makes me even more of a fan than I thought was possible. I am excited to see what else they have up their sleeves in the near future and I WILL be attending another tour of theirs, and hopefully soon!