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Pedro The Lion / John Vanderslice

Pedro The Lion/John Vanderslice: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2004)
Jade Tree Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


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

The Pedro the Lion show was the first performance ever held in the Philadelphia Ethical Society building. The building was an old one, much like the other Constitutional era buildings in downtown Philadelphia. It was an interesting setting for a show, but also an uncomfortable one because it was an .


The Pedro the Lion show was the first performance ever held in the Philadelphia Ethical Society building. The building was an old one, much like the other Constitutional era buildings in downtown Philadelphia. It was an interesting setting for a show, but also an uncomfortable one because it was an old stuffy building that became hot very quickly.

John Vanderslice opened for Pedro and put on an average performance. His songs were generic sounding rockers with the occasional echoing guitar or ambient keyboard swell. Vanderslice and company could have made up for the dull songs with a great performance, but instead they simply swayed like wallflowers at a high school dance. The most interesting part of the set was the constant turning on and turning off of lights in the room (a side effect of the promoters being unsure of how to operate the lighting since the venue was being used for the first time), which actually caused Vanderslice to pause a few times during his set in frustration.

Pedro the Lion may not have been much better when it came to a rocking live performance, but David Banzan's presence and haunting vocals made up for the lack of movement. He spent most of the set in a statuesque pose with his eyes shut, simply filling the room with his somber vocals and lo-fi rock. Pedro also played an interesting set that covered songs from each of their albums and even found time for a Radiohead cover.

Between songs Banzan would allow the audience to ask him questions, a practice that broke down the separation between band and audience that too often happens at shows and allowed for more of a communal experience. The questions also gave more insight into Banzan as a person. He spoke about the all too popular punk topic of the upcoming election stating that John Kerry was only slightly the lesser of two evils and that he would probably bring about the end of the United States in 100 years as opposed to Bush who would bring it about in 50 or 60 years. He also assured one audience member that his wife was not creeped out by his recurring theme of spousal murder and informed another that he does not take the Bible literally, but unraveling what it means makes it that much more worth while. He even threw in a joke about Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis saying, "Why did Anthony Kiedis cross the road? Because there was a lot of heroin on the other side," which he followed up by saying that although he doesn't like RHCP he means no harm to Anthony, hopes he is clean, and wishes him the best.

The show was nothing phenomenal, but still enjoyable. John Vanderslice and his backing band did nothing to distinguish themselves from any other indie rock performers. Luckily Pedro the Lion saved the show with great music, great vocals, and an attempt at making the experience more personal and intimate by conversing with the crowd.

 

 
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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.
Anonymous (June 30, 2004)

There have been many shows at the Ethical Society. Think the organizer was trying to explain why he doesn't know how to work the lights yet. Not a great excuse since it's a pretty consistent crowd there and we've all been throught this before- not enough fans and very late starting.

JV was great- went to see him and was too damn hot to bother staying for Pedro.

Anonymous (June 24, 2004)

I live in Missouri, and here all of the Bible thumping Jesus-freaks are starting cXe bands. Never saw or will see again so many Christians in their sisters' pants...

Haha that reminds me, one time I went to a show, a really shitty metalcrap show with a friend, and the singer of the headlining band gave me the mic because I was the only one in the crowd who wanted to sing...

Anyway, because I didn't "scream-sing", or really sing at all, and the fact that I was wearing semi-normal clothes and had short hair, the drummer of the band threatened to punch me out for not being "core". I thought he was joking, but evidently these rich boys take their bullshit excuse for music very seriously. So they didn't beat me up, I just told them they looked like assholes and should stop while they're ahead.

-BSD

dignin (June 24, 2004)

hell yeah Im SLC punk!!! But seriously they should make a movie a movie called SLC Straight Edge,and it could be about all the Mormons who turn straight edge so they can be militant about not doing drugs.

Anonymous (June 24, 2004)

Dignin is SLC Punk!

-BSD

Anonymous (June 24, 2004)

j. vanderslice is the man. i saw him a few months back. it was enjoyable. i hope your tastes aren't too bland to appreciate his work.

Anonymous (June 23, 2004)

"Sensefield and Texas is the Reason played the Ethical Society building in 1996, so this is not the first show ever there."

TITR and pre-crappy sensefield? sometimes i wish i was a bit older and could have been around for that...

Anonymous (June 23, 2004)

he played the radiohead song "let down" when i saw him, it is on a tour EP

Anonymous (June 23, 2004)

haha someone thinks Pedro the Lion is emo. what a dumbass. don't scream "ive never really heard this music before, im just pretending i have and am commenting anyways" any louder.

Anonymous (June 23, 2004)

wow, what radiohead song?

Jesse (June 23, 2004)

Vanderslice rules.

Anonymous (June 22, 2004)

the poster below me doesn't sound ingnorant at all, huh?

::end sarcasm::

Anonymous (June 22, 2004)

why did david bazan cross the road?
he heard there was a lame christian emo convention on the other side

Anonymous (June 22, 2004)

i saw this show in little rock. pedro has his drummer and bass player. he really day play songs spanning every album....bad diary days, beauty queens, indian summer, rapture, bands with managers, arizona, transcontinental, big trucks, slow and steady wins the race...thats just off the top of my head

YourMother (June 22, 2004)

Sensefield and Texas is the Reason played the Ethical Society building in 1996, so this is not the first show ever there.

Anonymous (June 22, 2004)

mentioning maybe at least a couple of the songs he played would be appropriate for a live review....

Imposs1ble (June 22, 2004)

Good lineup, but it has to be a boring show.

dignin (June 22, 2004)

and another thing, did Pedro have a backing band on this tour?

dignin (June 22, 2004)

pedro always converses with the crowd even when he opened for elliott smith a a huge outdoor setting. Big ups to him and I can't wait to see this in SLC.

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