November 16, 2013
That Was The Show That Was: Little Big League with Paws, Idiot Genes | Great Scott | 14 Nov.
We've expended plenty of words over the past year talking about the impossibly fertile music scene in Philadelphia right now, so we won't reiterate that again here. What we will tell you is that among the many top-shelf acts currently operating out of our executive editor's former hometown is Clicky Clicky faves Little Big League. We were pleased to be able to catch the hotly tipped indie-punk foursome Thursday at Great Scott, on a stacked bill sandwiched between rising Allston scuzz-punks Idiot Genes and present tourmates Paws, and, oh boy, was it a doozy.
The Philly quartet's expansive emo sound takes on a harder edge when the band presents it live. Guitars sliced through the front of house mix, gliding along to the cadence set by the rhythm section. Leading lady Michelle Zauner's dynamic vocals became strained as she pushed her voice above the buzz of crashing cymbals. This is not a knock on Little Big League in the least; rather, it shows a dimension of the band different from that represented by the (relatively) controlled performances on its thrilling debut long player These Are Good People, which was released by Tiny Engines in August. If anything, we dug the live versions even more than their recorded counterparts, no mean feat considering how hard we fell for Good People. For a relatively young band, Little Big League boasts a wealth of good tunes, and they ran through a pile of them Thursday with gusto. The patient and yearning rocker "Lindsey," easily one of the better album openers of 2013, was particularly triumphant, with short bursts of ringing distortion punctuating the tune's soaring chorus
Scottish garage punks Paws headlined, and their melodic, sloppy and gear-destroying jams capped a great night. Having seen the trio at Great Scott previously when they were out supporting their debut Cokefloat!, we had some familiarity with Paws' live look and sound, and it's a beautiful thing. Sure, they flub a few notes here and there amidst frequent drum malfunctions, and a guitar pedal, or two, or three, shuts down... but that's rock 'n' roll, baby. Thursday these great Scots [see what we did there? -- Ed.] composed their set almost exclusively from their forthcoming "Adventure Time"-inspired sophomore LP Youth Culture Forever, and, based on what we witnessed, you all will be psyched to hear it when it comes out. Indeed, few of the new songs are downright fierce. In a touching moment of tour camaraderie, LBL sent up a little gift to Paws, a Finn The Human action figure from the aforementioned "Adventure Time," an animated series that is also a favorite of this writer. Go figure. The Paws/Little Big League tour closes tonight in Chicago, after which the bands go their separate ways. Paws heads to the west coast while Little Big League winds their way back to Philadelphia via Boston yet one more time: the quartet headlines O'Brien's in Allston Rock City Nov. 22. Stream all of These Are Good People via the Soundcloud embed below, and buy the record from Tiny Engines right here. -- Dillon Riley
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