Went to see Free Energy a couple Fridays ago. The concert was at the First Unitarian Church in Philly, a venue which perfectly recreates the look and feel of the finest dens and finished basements of the 1980s, and a good place all around (people are always pretty psyched to be there). Some rough notes and music:

Sweatheart – Back Up

Sweatheart are from Philly, and they opened the show. This band has lots of energy, scary amounts of energy. Each individual band member was probably putting out approximately a kilojoule per minute by the end of the show. Their overall aesthetic seems like it’s drawn specifically from the comic relief guys sometimes seen in the background of Jane Fonda workout videos. This works really well for the music, which is fun and weird and extremely likable. Also interesting: two of the band members, Amanda and Rose, run Hot Probs, a call-in show/podcast that helps people with their real and imaginary problems.

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The Postelles – Can’t Stand Still

Second band were Postelles, whose music hews close to the casual coolness of old rock and roll–there’s kind of an effortless feel to their songs. Also high energy on stage (this must be a prerequisite for touring with FE), the Postelles played an amazing cover of “Hound Dog,” and were just totally entertaining.

[Buy the Postelles LP]

Free Energy – Dark Trance

Free Energy attract a diverse crowd of listeners. I can’t recall ever seeing a more varied group of people come out to see a band at the church: there were families, high schoolers, hardcore hipster kids (including a guy who looked like he was the youngest and only Amish ombudsman ever elected to office), and people around my parents’ age. The classic-rock sound of Free Energy’s music obviously appeals to a lot of different people, but seeing that fact demonstrated within the confines of a basement was both impressive and somehow touching. I think this band is able to recreate, on a consistent basis, those sweetly accidental moments when a great song surprises you–on the radio, over the PA at a grocery store, blaring out of someone’s car–with its appropriateness for that exact moment. It’s kind of unbelievable how good Free Energy are at accomplishing this. They played maybe three or four new songs that night, and all of them were as brutely fun as the songs from Stuck on Nothing.

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