The Promise Ring / The Bailey Hounds

The Promise Ring / The Bailey Hounds: Live in PhiladelphiaLive in Philadelphia (2012)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

"Thanks for coming out to Riot Fest." â?? Davey von Bohlen

Fans excited to see the Promise Ring at the canceled Riot Fest East got a much better deal when the reunited emo/indie rock act rolled into Philadelphia July 19. Instead of having to shell out extra money to see their beloved band on a giant stage with dubious sound, they got to see TPR in the tiny, sweaty First Unitarian Church basement with opening act the Bailey Hounds. That the band could pull together the show in very little time with a single post to Facebook and Twitter, and, an anonymous source told me, sell more tickets in seven minutes than Riot Fest East ever did, was a nice little bonus for everybody. Sometimes DIY works out.

Pity the Bailey Hounds, though. They weren't originally advertised as being on the bill, and people totally talked over them while they played a quick 30-minute-ish set. Me, though, I dug 'em. They played fragile alt-country with a slight late period Replacements edge. Sort of like Lucero, except their songs were about the devil instead of beers. That's something I can always get behind. Only complaint: The band sometimes ended songs just as they hit a nice groove. Granted, they were the opening act, but I'd love to hear what the Hounds' songs sound like when they have some more room.

Still, that's not why we all crammed into a hot basement. We came for the one Ring to rule us all, and gosh dang did they deliver. I'm a big Davey von Bohlen fan. With all the bands he's been in past and present, I'm comfortable calling him a musical genius on par with, say, Lennon/McCartney. I gush like this because I want you to understand that I went in super duper giddy yet full of expectations, and still had those hopes blown away. While opening selection "Size of Your Life" was a little rough (Dan Diddier was a little out of synch on drums there), the majority of the group's 90-minute set slayed.

The Promise Ring covered all of their releases, including the EPs. I lost my shit when they ripped through Electric Pink's "Make Me a Mixtape," because it's my favorite TPR song, because I was wearing a Hüsker Dü shirt and I totally didn't plan that, because holy butts you guys. The crowd in general, though, went off for the Nothing Feels Good material. That album still looms massive in emo's history, and rightfully so. Still, the tracks that surprised most came from Wood/Water. Remember when that was like an alienating artistic departure? Turns out, those songs fit in with the band's other material way better than anybody realized at the time. Nothing Feels Good has all those peppy rockers, but regular set closer "Get On the Floor" boasted a massive outro that just decimated the air. It was so much louder and monolithic than its studio counterpart. Then again, just as I saw with Maritime, von Bohlen and Diddier rock a lot harder live.

von Bohlen was in top form, trading jokes with the audience throughout the night. The whole band passed out water bottles to the audience to combat the heat. Oh yeah, and they played an awesome, diverse set. What started off as a corporate festival stop-off for the band was upgraded to a better, more intimate venue, and yield a longer set that they would have played had Riot Fest East actually occurred. The Promise Ring will almost certainly go back to the background after 2012, but on this particular night, with this particular crowd, they rallied back hard and put new life into old songs.

Set list
Size of Your Life
Happiness is All the Rage
Emergency! Emergency!
Jersey Shore
Red & Blue Jeans
Make Me a Mixtape
The Sea of Cortez
Nothing Feels Good
Become One Anything One Time
Skips a Beat (Over You)
The Deep South
Stop Playing Guitar
How Nothing Feels
Is This Thing On?
Perfect Lines
B is For Bethlehem
Picture Postcard
Tell Everyone We're Dead
My Life is At Home
Get On the Floor

Feed the Night
Why Did We Ever Meet
Red Paint
Everywhere in Denver
Forget Me


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jelone (July 29, 2012)

Ok, give me a number.

xchemicalx (July 25, 2012)

"an anonymous source told me, sell more tickets in seven minutes than Riot Fest East ever did"

Your source is lying through their teeth, and you're dumb to believe them.

Riot Fest East sold out it's six thousand capacity venue last year. The basement of the church hold less than six HUNDRED people (much less, likely). If you believe for a moment that they sold less than 600 tickets to Riot Fest this year (considering Refused ALONE are selling out 2,500 hundred capacity rooms in almost every other market), you are sorely mistaken.

1776 (July 21, 2012)

I saw this last night in DC and completely agree re Wood/Water -- mixed in with the rest, songs I never dug suddenly sounded great. Great show and an interesting experience.

Salvador (July 21, 2012)

holy shit what a set! the last time I saw them was when they were supporting wood/water and played this plea for peace thang Mike Park put together with The International Noise Conspiracy, Lawrence Arms, & Common Rider. By the time TPR finally went on, they just didn't seem into it. of course that was when things were horrifically falling apart. glad the show went well.

timahelm (July 20, 2012)

what an awesome quote in the beginning of review!

incomplicit (July 20, 2012)

clicked on this review because i was vaguely aware of promise ring's existence because i think they toured with Cursive's support of the Ugly Organ or something. And then i saw it: Song Title -- MAKE ME A MIX TAPE. hahahahhaha, unbeatable. unfreakingbeatable.

bryne (July 20, 2012)

Looks like more or less the same set I saw in Chicago in February, but still would've loved to have been there for this. Get me to Philly soon.

insinceredave (July 20, 2012)


insinceredave (July 20, 2012)

Good review, I would have loved to this this.

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