May 30, 2013 North Star Bar
To those of you who’ve never been there, North Star Bar is a very relaxed venue with a stage just big enough to comfortably hold a band of 8. The walls are brick and the backdrop of the stage is fabric with a pattern that reminds me of a Moroccan rug. A few tables line the walls, but mostly people hang out on the floor or go upstairs to the balcony where they can watch and listen to the band.
The night started with Sonnder, a band pretty new to the Philly music scene. Led by charming Ryan Weidman, the band showed great potential to become well-known in the area. The way the band members communicated with each other with smiles was delectable. They are currently working on recording an album and expect to have it out in July.
The vest-clad men of Solus Rex followed with tremendous energy. As soon as they started, they got the crowd to gather together towards the stage. The contrast between their proper attire and wild moves was captivating. Their style was alternative rock with some spice. Their use of trumpet was attention-grabbing but I would have preferred it if they didn’t play the trumpet directly into the microphone, with the venue being so small and all.
The headliner, Andrew Whitman, is composed of 4 guys with a lot of spirit. They were down-to-earth and really pleasant to listen to. There was none of that awkwardness that happens when the band tries to interact with the audience and the audience doesn’t respond. They encouraged the audience to participate and be excited which was nice because it created a welcoming atmosphere. Their style was similar to a blend of LFO and Sugar Ray, taking me back to the 90’s. While sometimes the vocals were not the strongest, they made up for it with their ambience and songs, which were genuine and easy to follow. They threw in a little rap here and there which was a nice change from the other rock songs. For the first couple songs, the keyboardist was the lead vocalist from Solus Rex. It’s nice seeing bands collaborate and share talent with each other, this being the city of brotherly love. These guys definitely have fun on stage and spread happiness. Their website includes multiple links where you can listen to their songs.
The North Star Bar is a cool place in the quieter part of the city, out of the way of loud clubs and restaurants. You never know what kind of new music you’ll discover there and it really is worth a try if you want to hear something new.