Radio 104.5 hosted its fourth Block Party of the summer season Aug. 3 at The Piazza at Schmidt’s in Northern Liberties. Radio 104.5, Philadelphia’s alternative radio station, has been hosting the free monthly summer concert series since 2010. The fourth show of the season featured Walk Off the Earth, Alt-J, and Panic! at the Disco.
The show started at approximately 3:45 p.m., and it was absolutely packed. It may have been the most crowded 104.5 Summer Block Party show to date. This particular show brought more people with tattoos and piercings than I have seen in a while, and it also featured someone crowd surfing in a unicorn mask, among the many other crowd surfers.
Canadian band Walk Off the Earth, which recently rose to fame after posting a number of covers of pop artists on YouTube, played a short but sweet set. Walk Off the Earth has developed its unique sound by singing in tight harmony and by playing a myriad of distinctive instruments, such as xylophone, glockenspiel, ukulele and horns. All the current band members are multi-instrumentalists. Walk Off the Earth may be best known for its single “Red Hands,” and of course, they played it for their fans!
Next up was Alt-J. Hailing from Leeds, England, the band members’ accents were adorable. Alt-J is best known for its single “Breezeblocks,” which features a verse sung in a round. Deriving their name from the Greek letter delta, which is typed by pressing alt-J on a Mac keyboard, Alt-J has gone through a series of band names, some of which they had to relinquish because other established bands already went by the same name. A surprising number of attendees I spoke with were there just to see Alt-J.
The final act of the afternoon was the infamous Panic! at the Disco. Now veterans of the music scene, Panic! at the Disco has been around for nearly 10 years. Originating in Las Vegas fresh out of high school, Panic! At the Disco has spent the last decade maturing and honing its signature sound. With three albums out and a recently announced album on the way, Panic! At the Disco has been the center of much chatter over the years due to occupying a truly unique space in the music scene, a shift in sound, the absence and reappearance of the “!” in the band’s name, and half the band leaving in 2008.
Playing a mix of older and newer material, the crowd responded wildly. The only thing that was really missing was representation from Panic’s second album. All things considered, Panic did a great job. The hole that was created when Ryan Ross and Jon Walker left the band will never truly be filled, but for a band that has had such chancy beginnings, Panic is trudging along quite well.
The next show in the Block Party series is Sept. 14 and will feature The Airborne Toxic Event, The Unlikely Candidates and American Authors. For more information on the Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party series, visit www.radio1045.com.