Monday, May 30, 2016

Concert Review: Cheerleader @ Milkboy - Philadelphia, PA 05/27/16

There are good problems.  Good problems are getting discovered before you've played your music live and having to form the rest of your band so that you could take your music on the road.  Cheerleader couldn't have better problems.

Joe Haller and Chris Duran left Connecticut for the sunny pastures of the Philadelphia music scene just a few years back.  They composed a series of demos, simply titled Cheerleader Demos, on SoundCloud.  43k listens, praises from NME, multiple festival appearances and three new band members later Cheerleader are exploding.  They recently released their first album, The Sunshine of Your Youth. and it is filled with hazy and jangly indie pop.  While their music is truly their own you can hear the celebration of their influences. It's almost as if the Beach Boys, The Stone Roses, and Animal Collective all took the stage together.  Now they are hitting the road with fellow Philly folk Paperwhite and I would be witness of their homecoming at the Milkboy in Philadelphia.

Milkboy is a great small venue right in Center City Philly. You can sit downstairs and eat great food from scratch and have a top notch craft beer before heading upstairs for the show.  When I arrived there were problems with my credentials but everything was sorted out.  I want to give a shout out to the staff of Milkboy.  The were professional and helpful and I am truly appreciative for their help.  Thank you!

What was so exciting about this show was the pairing of Paperwhite and Cheerleader. Two bands capable of headlining sharing the stage. Tonight Paperwhite would be opening with their dreamy synth pop that is reminiscent of Goldfrapp and Chvches.

Katie and Ben Marshall took the stage, with help of a keyboardist, and rocked it with unbound energy.  Katie's voice sounded wonderful as they played fan favorites like "Wanderlust".

They played the bulk of their two EP's, Magic from 2014 and Escape from 2016.  Katie asked the crowd to sing along on "Storm".  The result was wonderful.

Almost immediately after Paperwhite left the stage Cheerleader took the stage. It was a small stage for five guys.  Cheerleader have a big sound.  It's a wall of glimmering guitars and synth.  Sometimes music is too large for a small venue.  I feel both artists would have benefited from a larger venue.

I was expecting to hear mostly music from their new album but what I wasn't expecting was to hear new music. We were fortunate enough to be treated with a couple new songs.

Cheerleader is still growing as a band.  Their new music is psychedelic and quirky.  To be honest I can't get it our of my head.  I wanted more.  They were able to get my mind off of it by playing the highlights from their new album.  "The Sunshine of Your Youth" was a true highlight.

It was obvious the crowd was full of friends and family. It was like a homecoming after finding their success. The crowd was happy and in awe.  They were watching their friends doing what they do best.  The road has been quick but no doubt it will be long.

It was easy to see the bands chemistry on stage. They joked.  They shared smiles.  They had fun.  I had fun.  It was contagious.  You can't fake that type of chemistry.

Joe was focused and sounded great.  It was interesting watching him switch from old favorites to new songs.

Like any good show, your are sad when it ends.  This crowd was happy so they could speak with their friends.  Before the band left the stages to hugs and hellos they took a photo with the crowd to commemorate the occasion.  It is now their Twitter Cover Photo and also my proof I was there.

I managed to get everyone's autograph on my tour poster before I left.  I have a feeling that this is a show I will be talking about in the future.  They are going to be huge and I saw them at the Milkboy.

See you when the needle drops!


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