I went into last night’s show blind. The guys standing in front of me while waiting to get my ID checked didn’t seem to fond of that. They had asked me how I excited I was to see Hop Along and I admitted to them that I had never heard of them prior to last night’s show but was excited to see what the hype was about. That’s where that conversation ended. They went back to talking among themselves and I went back to standing alone. That sounds terrible but, for me, standing along at an unknown concert is the best way to experience it.
Kicking the night off a hair after 9PM was the trio Bat Fangs. Their sound was extremely acid-washed but please don’t make me try and explain what I mean by that. With clear 70’s vibes mixed with a modern punk punch in the gut, Bat Fangs’ set was dynamic and energetic without being over the top or in your face. Watching singer Betsy Wright said pretty much everything that needed to be said about this opening set. She was clearly having the time of her life on stage. Although rarely addressing the crowd, when she did thank the audience for coming out early or when she introduced the next song there was an undeniable sense of genuine love that radiated from her. That passion mixed with the infectious smile of drummer Laura King and the sheer concentration of their touring bassist (Bat Fangs is typically just a duo and I was unable to track down a name for the bassist that was helping them out– my apologies!).
Bat Fangs’ set was the perfect punch in the gut to keep the sold out audience awake and excited for what else the night would bring. It was energetic, fun to watch, and truly unique. The fact that the opener was so original and fun had me optimistic about what headliner Hop Along would be like. You could feel the anticipation in the air as Bat Fangs left the stage and the crew took over to get it ready for Hop Along. The audience filled in every hole that was left near the stage just adding to the excitement. Although we were packed in like sardines (unless you were one of the people just chilling back with all of the personal space your heart desired), there wasn’t a single frown in the audience. Sure, it was uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure I apologized no less than one hundred times for bumping people as I attempted to get my camera out of my purse but there was still this light-hearted sense of fun that was radiating throughout the crowd. When the members of Hop Along finally took the stage, that excitement erupted into one of the best atmospheres I’ve felt at a show in a long time.
Hop Along is an indie-rock/ folk band from Philadelphia, PA that has completely taken the scene by storm. Singer Frances Quinlan instantly commanded the crowd as the band hopped into their set of up-beat yet deep songs. Much like the members of Bat Fangs, it was clear that all of the members of Hop Along were truly happy to be on the stage performing for the audience. There wasn’t a single point in their lengthy set that I felt like they were phoning it in or just going through the motions. Every note that was played on the Turf Club stage last night was played with precision and every word that flowed through the microphone into the speakers had an undeniable sense of passion behind it.
With four albums out dating back to 2005, Hop Along is definitely not a new band and had plenty of material to chose from. Every time they would jump into a new song, I would hear someone around me scream to their friends, “THIS IS MY SONG!” Although I couldn’t help but giggle at the guy next to me who claimed every song to be ‘his song’, it was that excitement in the audience that seemed to be the icing on the cake when it came to last night’s show. Although I had gone into the Wednesday night show blind as far as the music went and alone as far as friends went, within the first song of Hop Along I was swaying and dancing with the strangers around me. Sure, I couldn’t sing along to the words like they could but I felt like I was a part of something and that feeling can make a band you’ve never heard of before instantly become your favorite.
I saw the guys I had talked to prior to the show a bit later on in the night. They asked me what I thought and I told them I was in love. Absolutely in love. I think they thought I was kidding but I wasn’t. Some shows just have a vibe and atmosphere that is too good to ignore and can having you claiming the band you had never heard of before that show your favorite band. Last night was one of those nights and I’m already ready for another chance to catch Hop Along.