Philly punk came to the ’burbs Feb. 1, as up/comers Restorations, Ma Jolie, Luther and Ronald Raygun came to Doylestown, Pa.’s Siren Records (Crybaby are from West Chester, thus ruining my intro despite being a good band). Despite the cold, the record store saw a packed, though somewhat quiet room.
Ronald Raygun (sloppy pop-punkers that namechecked Descendents and NOFX from the stage) and Crybaby (throaty Orgcore in the vein of Latterman and Spraynard) kicked off the show well, but it wasn’t until Luther came on that things got interesting. Fresh from the success of the Org-backed Let’s Get You Somewhere Else, Luther ripped through that particular record, taking an already infectious album and amping up the energy a notch or two. While the vocals were nonexistent at first, Luther were so tight and/or rocking and/or fun live that it didn’t matter. Seriously, this is how pop rock should sound.
Speaking of bands we like, Ma Jolie tested out some new material, to great acclaim. Frontman Kirk Malosh talked about how he bought his first Lifetime CD from Siren. He must have been taking notes, seeing as the new tunes have the shorter/faster/louder playbook down, with a dash of the Loved Ones’ more rock-oriented tendencies. All of the bands were stoked to be on the bill, but Malosh had the best line of appreciation of the night: “I bought a delay pedal because of Restorations, and I don’t even know how to use it.”
Up until that point, all the bands had been good to great. Then Restorations came out and pretty much wrecked the grading curve. Frontman Jon Loudon probably had the most fun of anyone that night. Dude likes to sing with his hands, occasionally throwing in the odd finger point. He even let out a smirk during the intro to “A,” when the whole band kicked in, as if to say, “Yeah, this song is pretty good” (which, to be fair, is entirely true).
Despite the limited sound/acoustics, Restorations still came off in full effect, perhaps aided by the band’s three-guitar lineup. All those genres they blend on record, like punk, blues and folk, come out even better live. Somehow they wed post-rocky riffs to bluegrassy beats and it all makes sense. As if I couldn’t anticipate the band’s SideOneDummy debut enough, Restorations’ live show left me even more eager, especially after a closing round of "A"/"B."