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Modern Baseball @ The Fillmore with Thin Lips and Joyce Manor.

June 30, 2016


Text by Joanne Caruso. Images by Patrick Clark.

Modern Baseball landed in their hometown on Sunday as part of their current U.S. tour, eponymously named after the newly released Holy Ghost. Their setlist ran the gamut of their catalogue, with fans never missing an iconic line or a well-pointed expletive.

The night was an unrelenting display of some of punk/pop punk’s finest of today with tight, quickly moving sets that left the crowd just enough time to come up for air before screaming back the lines that have defined both the bands and their fans through their relatability and emotional conjuring.

Opening the show was fellow Philadelphia-based Thin Lips, boasting a sound that was both melodic and hitting, with enough of a sting and substance to stick with you. The band played a number of tracks off of their May 2016 release Riff Hard such as “My Mouth Is Skinned Like An Apple,” which is about just “how weird Tinder is.” Their sound evoked steady waves of head nodding and body swaying. Lead singer Chrissy Tashjian’s voice carried above the crowd at all the right moments as members jumped in place to keep time with the songs in a punctuated, emphatic performance.

Philly’s own Frances Quinlan of Hop Along joined them for “No Obituary,” one of a few songs on which she provides vocals on Riff Hard. Tashjian also took a moment to remember those of the Orlando shooting and called on those in the room to step up “and show the people that you love that are queers that you love them and help them feel safe.”

Before launching into their closer “Divorce Year,” Tashjian thanked everyone for hanging out.

“I can’t wait to hang out with you guys and drink whiskey and not be nervous anymore,”Tashjian said.

Yet Thin Lips’ performance came across as all energy, with no hint of the nervous variety.

Up next was Joyce Manor, from Torrance, California who dove right into “Beach Community,” igniting the crowd to life as they fervently shouted back every word. Their set, much like their records, was an unremitting deliverance of direct, fast and heavy lyrics and sounds reverberating through the flurry of crowd surfers and raised hands and arms. Not taking repose, they played right into “Derailed,” another track off of their self-titled 2011 release.

They performed at full tilt, running through a number of tracks such as “Heart Tattoo,” “Housewarming Party” and “Constant Nothing,” yet never skimping on an ounce of rawness and rage. “End of the Summer” evoked a heavy melancholy longing with the still quintessential Joyce Manor punch with an absolute crowd blowout at the start of Never Hungover Again’s “Leather Jacket.” The night also saw a cover of The Murder City Devils’ “Midnight Service At The Mütter Museum.”

The penultimate “Constant Headache” garnered a strong sing-along, with fans tearing through—in their own solo of sorts—the latter part of the line, “It’s such a stubborn reminder one perfect night’s not enough!” Though, it could be argued, this was one perfect night that certainly delivered.

“What’s up, fam? We’re home!” shouted Modern Baseball singer and guitarist Jake Ewald to an erupting crowd after the four-piece walked out to the recorded version of their latest album’s opening track “Holy Ghost.”

They segued immediately into “Wedding Singer” and then again into “Note to Self,” bouncing back to You’re Gonna Miss It All’s “Rock Bottom” with an ever uproarious and impassioned “Whatever, forever!” from the crowd.

“If you can’t tell, we’re trying to play a lot of songs really fast,” said singer and guitarist Brendan Lukens with a laugh early on in the set, having played through a number of tracks such as “Tears Over Beers,” “The Weekend,” and “Alpha Kappa Fall of Troy The Movie Part Deux (2 Disc Director’s Cut).”

Modern Baseball never showed any signs of slowing down as fans sang lyrics the whole way, a sort of rallying cry and celebration of all who had known the words and lived or related to them.

Their performance was fun and inviting, heartfelt and effusive, each lyric a release of the emotions inside. The members interacted with each other throughout the set from high fives to playing near one another and sharing laughs. After playing their “final” song “Just Another Face,” Ewald appeared again to play the acoustic “Pothole.” The rest of the band filtered back out to close out with the great “Your Graduation.”

Moments in, members from the show’s opening acts and others from the band’s touring coterie ran out onto the stage, some picking up instruments and microphones to add to the commencement celebration.

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