It’s been way too long since Pretty Girls Make Graves played a show in Philadelphia, about three years too long. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but catch them on the last stop of their short stint of tour dates with Montreal’s Tangiers and labelmates The Double.
In addition to not having seen them perform in years, I had drug myself out into the cold night mainly because I was hoping to hear some of their new material. While waiting for them to set up, I tried to predict how much of their set list would be songs off of their upcoming album (FYI: they did confirm at the show that the new album is set to be released in April.)
They did deliver some new songs to my delight. One in particular featured keyboardist Leona Marrs playing the accordion. To be honest, my stomach sunk when I first saw Marrs pull it out because I really couldn’t fathom how an accordion could fit into any song by Pretty Girls Make Graves. To my surprise, it congealed better than I could have ever imagined.
The most intriguing new song consisted of a few of the band members switching roles. Drummer Nick Dewitt abandoned his drum kit to play the bass guitar, which left Derek Fudesco to supply only backing vocals and handclaps. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, Jason Clark picked up a saxophone. Although their version of musical chairs sounds complicated, it proved to be a success as it featured the members displaying their talents in a brand new way.
Front woman Andrea Zollo was as powerful as ever, helping lead the band through fan favorites such as “Chemical Chemical,” “All Medicated Geniuses” and “The Getaway.” Looking down time to time from my perch in the balcony, I could see the fans forming a frantic pit as they sung along with Zollo.
When Pretty Girls Make Graves played “This Is Our Emergency,” the fans overzealousness became apparent, as many reached out in hopes of touching Zollo as she sung out “Stand up so I can see you / Shout out so I can hear you / Reach out so I can touch you.”
As it finally came time for them to play “Speakers Push The Air,” it was as if the entire audience sung out the chorus, “Do you remember when the music meant something?” It’s quite apparent that yes, Pretty Girls Make Graves did remember back then in 2002 as much as they remembered that cold night in Philadelphia.
Source: Christine Ernest