Froggy/Powerviolets/Vixen77 - live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Froggy / Powerviolets / Vixen77

live in Philadelphia (2022)

live show

Froggy has arrived. The Philadelphia Trio came to smash it out at their record release show on August 7 at Philadelphia’s Ukrainian Club and they did. Harmburger, their first proper album, was in full display as the band played the entirety of the new record as well as select tunes from their earlier Eps. The thing with Froggy is they juggle angst and the silly yuks effortlessly and sometimes they mash them together. That’s what they did at their live show.

“Stupid Rich Boy,” which has a slight nod to Television, was kicked out early on and on one side, it’s a cold, tactical Patti Smith style takedown. But, on the other hand, the riffs crunch so hard and the lyrics dissect the target with such ease, it’s kind of funny. When the band ripped through the perfectly-placed-pop-punk-puncher “Jimmy’s Song,” the effect was the same. The tune itself is about rejection, but the band snapped the economical riffs out with such glee, the subject in this song becomes equal p[arts tragedy and Rodney Dangerfield. Live the band underscored one of their core strengths. Tragedy can be comedy.

The crowd was revved up on it for sure. About 2/3 of the way through, the audience divide into a wall of death… except it was the first four way wall of death I’ve ever seen with assaults coming in at all angles. Throughout the night, the audience bounced around the room, driven by the band’s poppy, but edged tracks.

At a few times, the band cut into to give a short speech here and there. Mirroring the double edged take on the music, sometimes the band was serious, like when they expressed earnest appreciation for the community and support, and sometimes they were hilarious when they felt they needed to expressed in extended detail that “Senior Citizen” doesn’t mean that they actually hate ALL old people… just some of them.

It seemed the crowd there WANTED Froggy to have a big win, especially since the band has earned so much goodwill through the punchy tracks and earnest self-deprecation… so it was nice that the record release show was gold medal worthy.

Before Froggy, NYC’s PowerViolets expressed frustration before starting their set. You see, apparently, one of their two guitar players refused to show up for the gig for undisclosed reasons. Frontwoman Violet Hetson delivered a takedown of the missing musician and expressed, in frank detail, about why they think the guy is a dick. In an age where everyone is so careful bout what they say because EVERYTHING is recorded ALL THE TIME, I really enjoyed the first-wave-punk-style frankness. It was chaotic and destructive in the good way.

That did charge the band for their set. Throughout their time, the band seemed to be pulling audibles on stage because they were down 25% of their manpower. To that end, the band collided grunge crunching with indie stargazing, resulting in a loud, but thoughtful set. The band takes cues from bands like Sonic Youth and the Pixies, and their music has a thunder roaring behind them at all times. But, up front, there’s a certain reflective thoughtfulness. I also liked Violet announced that she titled the song “Smegma” before she knew what the word meant. She also said she titled ”Demon slayer” that because it sounded cool and not because there is a popular anime series with the same name. Powerviolets reveled in wanton collision and chaos and it worked.

The show opened with Philly high energy punkers Vixen 77. The band is just coming off the release of a new music video (“Record Store”) and it seems like they are feeling their oats, leading up to the release of their own album.

Sometimes Vixen 77 play it scientifically and sometimes they lean towards the wild swing side of things and the Ukie club show was a wild swinin’ affair. The band thrashed and bashed through a full set, focusing mostly on their newest stuff. The aforementioned “record store” was thrown out in a perfectly loose, perfectly high powered version. Meanwhile, their cover of the Romantics “What I like About You” was given an super charged rendition (complete with harmonica) and a surprise cover ZZ Top’s “Tush” was given an especially freaked out run down.

In earlier days, Vixen 77 was a little more glammy, but in 2022, the band pulls from early punk, 70s hard rock, and even a little thrash and hardcore. As before, lyrically they address both the political and the personal, and often intertwine the two, because really, they flow from the same river. I’m not sure the crowd was ready to be hit as hard as they were, but Vixen 77 started the show with a snap kick and it was the exact jump start befitting of Froggy’s record release show.

Three whammy bands in a row! Wow!