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Hop Along @ Union Transfer with Thin Lips and Clique.

May 11, 2015

Hop Along_10Text by Tim Mulhern. Images by Tim O’Donnell.

There is no question that Philadelphia loves Hop Along.

Saturday night’s triumphant headlining show at Union Transfer was just another confirmation of this city’s admiration and respect for the four-piece group.

Clique and Thin Lips joined Hop Along to celebrate the band’s most recent effort, Painted Shut, their Saddle Creek Records debut that released on May 4.

Clique has barely graduated from Philadelphia’s basement scene but appeared comfortable on the much bigger Union Transfer stage. The band only played their first show in September at the now-closed Golden Tea House but is quickly gaining momentum in Philadelphia.

The group’s tight, well-crafted set featured tracks from their self-titled release, which is receiving a physical release from Broken World Media later this summer. The band brought out Philly favorite Shannen Moser to sing on their closing two songs.

Clique is scheduled to perform at Glocca Morra’s last show at the First Unitarian Church on May 30 and is hitting the road with Old Gray in late June.

Thin Lips hit the stage next and made quick work of energizing the growing crowd. The group is touring with Hop Along and frequently shares bills with the band. On New Year’s Eve, the two groups helped ring in 2015 with a show at Johnny Brenda’s.

The band’s set drew heavily from their EP Divorce Year, which was released through Seagreen Records on May 1.

Frontwoman Chirssy Tashjian’s powerful vocals combined with the band’s brand of spunky up-tempo punk appropriately prepped the audience for Hop Along’s set.

On stage, Hop Along vocalist and guitarist Frances Quinlan spoke candidly to the audience about the stress she felt leading up to the band’s set. The last time the band headlined a hometown show was the New Year’s Eve party at Johnny Brenda’s. Since signing with Saddle Creek Records, they have received increased recognition and attention.

Her performance alongside her bandmates—guitarist Joe Reinhart, bassist Tyler Long and drummer and brother Mark Quinlan—did not show any signs of restraint, and the audience’s overwhelming support was, perhaps, the reassurance she needed that she and her band were doing a good job.

As the audience sang along to nearly every word – even to the newest tracks – the group tore through the entirety of Painted Shut with older cuts mixed in evenly throughout.

The first thing listeners hear on Painted Shut’s opening track “The Knock” is Quinlan singing, which is appropriate because Quinlan’s voice – at times hoarse with passion and at other times soft and reserved – stole the show Saturday night.

The stories told throughout Painted Shut receive an added layer of urgency when sung by Quinlan. Her acute ability to control the power of her voice made her performance even more commendable.

Quinlan’s bandmates provided a solid instrumental foundation throughout the set. Long anchored the low end while Mark Quinlan helped keep the band together behind the drum kit. Influences from Reinhart’s work in Algernon Cadwallader were heard subtly sprinkled throughout his lead parts in tracks like “Horseshoe Crabs.”

Hop Along ended the celebratory show in the same way Painted Shut ends: the re-recorded and re-released “Sister Cities.”

As the show came to a close, you could almost sense the relief felt by Quinlan and her bandmates.

Hop Along had made their city proud.

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