Tsunami Bomb - Live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tsunami Bomb

Live in Philadelphia (2017)

live show

They might have been walking around the venue, yukking it up before their set, “acting” relaxed, but you could tell that Tsunami Bomb had a lot riding on their July 13, 2017 gig in Philly. The show was the first of three dates of a short East Coast trip, and though nothing was explicit, one got the impression that they were testing the waters.

Now with singer Kate Jacobi at the front, the band has rebuilt itself in a modified version of its proto-form with founding members Dom Davi and Oobliette Sparks on bass and keyboards respectively, early, early member Gabe Lindeman on drums, and long time associate Andy Pohl on guitar. Would the notoriously tough Philly crowd be accepting of Tsunami Bomb in its ancient/future form?

With little fanfare, the band quickly took the stage and got to work. Opening with “The Invasion from Within,” the band made it clear that they were there to pull from their earliest days. The band was fast and jagged, emphasizing the song’s inherent power and speed. That’s not to say that the band wasn’t tight- they were- but they were tight enough to play with a certain looseness, which is the way punk should be played, resulting in a lively rollicking version that maintained the song’s character while really letting those notes fly.

The band has an inherently likeable dynamic, now, with Oobliette and Davi jabbing at each other like a brother and sister. And for one thing, it’s damn good to have Oobliette back in the band. The keyboardist has a certain edge she interjects into the music which gives the generally “good times” jams a bit more bite. This was none more apparent than during “Irish Boys” where she jumped into the pit and pushed the song into near hardcore punk territory as she howled into the microphone like a blonde John Brannon, bent forward and hissing.

Meanwhile, bassist Dom Davi was practically all smiles for most of the show. Davi knows that the core of these songs is in their rollicking rhythm, so somehow, he was able to play fast, aggressive notes that highlighted the inherent whimsy in these tunes- no easy feat.

New-ish singer Kate Jacobi had a lot of expectations hurled on her as the new singer for this fairly storied band (did you know that Jacobi is the third singer, not the second…?) Well, listen, Jacobi is dynamite. She’s got the vocal chops. She’s got the stage presence. And frankly, she seems to share the knucklehead mentality of the rest of the band. Jacobi sang these songs with the force and enthusiasm of someone with a true love of these songs and without a fear of immutability. Jacobi forged these songs into the band’s contemporary raucous style and she did it like a champ.

Original drummer Gabe Lindeman and guitarist Andy Pohl did their part as well- that is to say, this band was chopping it up, in part, in thanks to these two letting the music fly off the rails just enough to be barely under control. That’s how music should be.

The set ended with a fiery rendition of their earliest jam “Lemonade”- a tune about getting through the hard times intact. The song might be about gritting one’s teeth as one scrambles through the briar patch, but live, they played it like a cheery tune- an explosively cheery tune with some thorns tucked away, but a cheery one none-the-less. If there’s a better representation of Tsunami Bomb in 2017, you’d be hard pressed to find it.