Back in Philadelphia May 9, this time on the Union Transfer stage and not in a cramped Philadelphia basement, local band Hop Along came, saw and killed it. The four-piece group, fronted by vocalist and guitarist Frances Quinlan, was psyched to share the stage with fellow Philly natives Clique and Thin Lips. Hop Along celebrated the May 4 release of their second full-length album, “Painted Shut,” through the American record label Saddle Creek Records. The rest of the band consists of the effervescent Joe Reinhart on guitar, Frances’ brother Mark Quinlan on the drums and the talented Tyler Long on the bass.
Relatively new on the Philly music scene, Clique took the stage without hesitation, playing songs from their self-titled indie rock-emo release. Looking tight and put together on stage, they didn’t have much time for small talk as their music clearly spoke for them. While lacking some stage presence, they still rocked the house and the audience seemed to lap it up as the band showed their raw talent. Their last two songs featured another Philly talent, Shannen Moser, who sang her heart out. You can see Clique perform with the basement scene’s own Glocca Morra, who will be playing at the First Unitarian Church May 30.
Thin Lips followed up Clique’s moving set with a little more energy and a little more spirit to get the crowd moving before Hop Along graced us with their presence. They played quite a few songs from their newly released EP, “Divorce Year.” Super talented front woman Chrissy Tashjian had some things to say about “how hard it is to be a girl” and got the audience hyped. Tashjian sang her heart out as the audience moved around to her powerful vocals and the pop punk inspired indie rock tunes.
After a break between sets, Hop Along calmly walked on stage to a roaring audience that quickly fell silent as Frances approached the mic. Happy to be back in a familiar place, the band started off with the emotionally pungent, “Waitress” off their new album, “Painted Shut.” The band’s folky roots come through clearly in Frances’ lyrics, but the overall vibes of the album are a little harder than their 2012 release, “Get Disowned.” The rest of the set was nothing short of amazing and powerful, as Frances went through “Buddy in the Parade,” “The Knock” and “Texas Funeral,” all from their latest album.
Frances talked with the crowd quite a bit, introducing her mom, who was standing in the audience right in front of the stage, and wishing all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day. Luckily for the older fans in the audience, the band played “Laments” and the very popular, “Tibetan Pop Stars,” both off of “Get Disowned.” It seemed as though everyone in the crowd knew the lyrics to “Tibetan Pop Stars” and not a single body stood still.
After telling a perfectly timed joke about a depressed moth, Frances busted out those amazing vocals for fan favorites like “Powerful Man,” “Well-Dressed,” “I Saw My Twin” and “Horseshoe Crabs.”
The amazing support from the crowd helped Frances blow the audience away with her solo “Happy To See Me,” ultimately moving the audience with her passionate mix of smooth and rough vocals. The star of the show for a reason, Frances’ ability to juxtapose her delicate and soft voice with raspy aggression came through beautifully throughout the whole set, wrapping up the show with the re-recorded and re-released “Sister Cities.” All four musicians helped complete the group’s heavier sound, making the show nothing short of impeccable.