Inside John & Brittany’s FINAL SHOW

John & Brittany’s SOLD-OUT and FINAL show at the Hard Rock Café on Market Street was not one to miss!  Though it was emotional night for the band and the Philadelphia music community, the band went out with a roaring, tear-stained bang. The outpouring of love was truly noticed.  Though the venue is relatively intimate, each band played with the enthusiasm of a stadium, bringing great music and who each were proud and very thankful to be at the show.  Each performance was peppered with thanks, yells of “Rock and ROLLL!” and “I love you”-s to John Faye and Brittany Rotondo, who at each (if they were not backstage prepping) waved and blew kisses, clapping alongside the crowd.

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Joey DiTullio performs at Hard Rock Philadelphia

This would not be an farewell-album-release party without, of course, new and seasoned talent!  Joey DiTullio, Kid Felix, and Placid Admiral lit up the stage with their roaring energy.  NJ-native Joey DiTullio opened the show with his big hair and fun-loving energy.  Though he seemed a bit stiff at first, like any new talent, once he got going…he kept going.  On “Long Way Home” off of his new album, Tomorrow Never Comes, the teen nailed a new-school, bluesy sound reminiscent of a young Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.  Immediately following a rendition of the title track of his album, DiTullio, brushing his huge mane out of his eyes, launched into a seamless cover of “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, joined by Kid Felix frontman Jake Falana. 

DiTullio and Jake Falana perform at Hard Rock Philadelphia.

DiTullio and Jake Falana perform at Hard Rock Philadelphia.

Placid Admiral performs at Hard Rock Philadelphia

Placid Admiral performs at Hard Rock Philadelphia

Immediately following Ditullio were seasoned rockers Placid Admiral, back from an extended break.  Placid Admiral kept up the energy of show but took it to another, moodier place.  As the band launched into “Crusher” and “Pushing” and  their sound came more apparent, like a toned-down Godsmack.  Towards the end of the set, though, it seemed they lost their luster a tad and more fans shuffled off down towards the restrooms.  When this happened, though, it propelled the band to let loose and finish off strong with “Cherub.”

kid felix - runner up

Kid Felix performs at Hard Rock Philadelphia

Once Placid Admiral left the stage, the Devil appeared.  Yes, this seems a bit too literary for a rock show…but he did appear in conjunction with Kid Felix, encouraging debauchery, revelry, and the boisterous applause of John & Brittany as well as the upcoming band.  Though once Kid Felix entered the arena, however, all bets were off.  The band, especially frontman Jake Falana captured the attention of the crowd with his soaring vocals and unstoppable energy.  From a photographer’s standpoint, it was difficult getting a good shot–he just kept moving!  But, from concert goer’s perspective, Falana’s Energizer Bunny vigor re-energized the alcohol-and-carb-laden crowd into a frenzy, as he teetered on an instrument case into the crowd, becoming one with the sea of adoring fans.  If that didn’t work, towards the end of the set, the band invited many from the front row to join them and launched into a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Alive,” joined by John K. Faye after they had cleared from the stage.

John Faye and Kid Felix collaborate on Pearl Jam's "Alive"

John Faye and Kid Felix collaborate on Pearl Jam’s “Alive”

As J&B’s set drew nearer, denial was a still bitter pill to swallow.  I was of the camp that did not want to believe that this awesome band was no longer after this show. It is for the best, according to their Facebook, so that Rotondo and Faye will “remain best friends.”  Throughout the set, I was waiting for a “GOTCHA!” moment, where they would announce, “JUST KIDDING! WE HAVE A WORLD TOUR!”  Sadly, this was not the case.

WMMR's Jaxon makes a speech prior to John & Brittany's performance.

WMMR’s Jaxon makes a speech prior to John & Brittany’s performance.

Once 933.3 WMMR’s Afternoon Ninja Paul Jaxon (better known solely by his surname), a clear friend and huge supporter of the band, cracked jokes with one quick jab at their “breaking up,” it became cemented that it was, in fact, not an elaborate hoax.  Most of his jokes however, were at Brittany’s expense: “If she was as old then as her fake ID said it was, she’d be old enough to date [WMMR’s] Jacky Bam-Bam!” and “Is her face as red as her hair?”), but turned serious when he said that after J&B, Kid Felix is the “band of future” for Philly rock’n’roll.

WMMR's Jaxon pokes fun at Brittany Rotondo prior to John & Brittany's performance.

WMMR’s Jaxon pokes fun at Brittany Rotondo prior to John & Brittany’s performance.

As John & Brittany began their set, the looks on Faye’s and Rotondo’s faces were not necessarily sorrow–it was more nostalgia as they opened strong with “Dirty Little Magazine” and “ZZZOLOFT.”  Their energy, their passion, their drive was all encapsulated in their instruments and voices.  They played their hearts out, and it was apparent as the crowd became more and more rowdy, wanting to take in every last bit of their amazing performance as humanly possible.  Even when a fan jumped up on stage, there was no security to escort her off, Brittany and John gladly played alongside her, Brittany wrapping an arm around her neck and posing for selfies.

John & Brittany perform at Hard Rock Philadelphia

John & Brittany perform at Hard Rock Philadelphia

While the crowd responded moreso to older songs like “Fancy Dance,” “Mississippi Fred,” and “Gas Mask Queen,” each riff and movement was still met with equal exhilaration from band and crowd.  As blue paper airplanes were passed around the venue, John simply said that paper airplanes were the inspiration of the song, and it was very meaningful that they share the moment with the crowd, they slowly launched into “Paper Planes” towards the end of their set. Faye and Rotondo alike told brief stories in between songs, telling the crowd the inspiration and assuring them that this was not the end, but the beginning of many great things to come.

John & Brittany perform at Hard Rock Philadelphia

John & Brittany perform at Hard Rock Philadelphia

What was truly unique and awesome about this event was that, unlike typical concerts where the acts are hidden backstage, nary to be seen outside of the dressing room, each band mulled with the crowd, getting drinks, eating food, and generally rubbing elbows with the very respectful and unassuming crowd, occasionally taking pictures.  Not one band showed the least bit of ego, especially not even the headliner!  Wishing more shows would be like this, and more to come from these awesome bands!  John & Brittany, see you soon!

2 Comments

  1. Lauren Silvestri

    October 23, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Sad to see this band disband! But I love Kid Felix…

  2. Pingback: Why You Need To Go To Hollystock 2015 - Rock On Philly

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