Divers Top Rock-tastic Bill at Johnny Brenda’s

At first glance, a bill containing Satellite Hearts, Purples, and Divers might seem repetitive.  All are known to play hard, bringing high energy to any venue. All have developed some sort of following for their particular brand of rocking out.  And, of course, all have band names that are just plural nouns without articles.

Turns out, that first notion is a misconception.  Not only is putting all these bands on the same bill a great idea, but at Johnny Brenda’s on October 10th, it resulted in a night that continued to build upon itself, culminating in nothing short of musical satisfaction.  The night’s crowd was an intense one–small to start off with, but always growing and always attentive.  The show led off with the intense-yet-approachable boys of Satellite Hearts, who, as of late, have also been showcasing their chops as the backing band for solo artists Ali Wadsworth, and Ron Gallo.  Though they played hard, frequently inciting supportive yelling from the audience, their rocking sound was balanced by their youthful and low-key stage manner between songs.

After Satellite Hearts, Purples took the stage.  Before they even began to play, it was hard not to take notice of the eccentric band.  Dressed to match in well-fitting suits, the fairly tall group formed an abstract wall from which their sound spouted forth, starting with their dance-instigating number “Standard Human.”  That high-energy opener set the stage for the rest of the band’s set, getting the crowd jumping and heads shaking to the uptempo tunes.  By the end of the set–closed with a hilariously stage-whispered “roar of the crowd” from the band themselves–the audience was even more warmed up and ready to see what the last band of the evening had to offer.

The crowd fell into a dull roar of chatting and excitement as Divers took the stage to set up.  When the first notes of the set left Ross Bellenoit‘s guitar soon after, and the ethereal quality of Emily Zeitlyn‘s voice filled the room, the chatty crowd came to a hush.  The energy that had been building throughout the night was carried through Divers’ set, as demonstrated by the audience that never stopped swaying to the tunes from the band’s forthcoming album (which you can pre-order through PledgeMusic to help fund its recording).  Lighting–at times, appropriately blue and watery green–and a smoke machine helped to set the stage, now filled by Bellenoit’s electrifying guitar solos, Zietlyn’s lead vocals (depending on the song, ranging from a ghostly howl to a powerful, gravelly roar) and the moving rhythm section made up of Tom Bendel on drums and Todd Erk on bass. The  band set listeners adrift in a sea of diverse, engrossing influences and hypnotizing harmonies.  In short, Divers demonstrated that night exactly what a musical tour-de-force they can be, and where they fit amongst an already-stacked Philadelphia soundscape.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.