The month of October signifies many things: changing leaves, the beginning of ravaging cold temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes and most importantly Halloween. It seemed fitting, in light of this, to attend a concert by the ever-haunting Dear Hunter on Oct. 15.
The venue for the concert was at Union Transfer, a classic spot for most progressive or alternative bands that run through Philadelphia. Easily reachable through the subway and only some blocks away from the stop, it’s almost impossible to not have a chance to go here if you’re a regular concert-attendee in Philadelphia. The Western-bar-gone-punk ambiance of the concert hall is sure to set you in the mood for most bands, especially if their show set up is on point.
Two very different bands opened up for The Dear Hunter. Both of them left me with very different feelings in my gut.
The first opening act was a post-rock (whatever the hell that is) band from New Brunswick, New Jersey. The five-member band features vocalist/guitarist Kevin Dye, guitarist Dan King, bassist Mike Maroney, drummer Daniel Crapanzano and guitarist Ethan Koozer. Their sound wasn’t too impressive. The best way I can describe their style was something similar to a band you would hear if you were walking around Warped Tour waiting for the band you actually wanted to listen to come on. You’d find yourself suddenly being surrounded by kids with checkerboard belts and straightened bangs. There was a lot of head-banging involved. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly good. There was definitely a lot of support from the audience. The audience would continually shout-out nice supportive things like “You rock!” and “You’re doing great!” Honestly, I might as well have gone to the concert with their parents. It was fun though, and the band had a great attitude. Their rapport with the audience was pretty good for a band that didn’t seem quite as mainstream as The Dear Hunter (which is like being underground of the underground), and I want to give a special shout out to the guitarists for their great moves on stage.
Chon definitely impressed me and was probably the best performance of the night. They had a great sound and they didn’t even have any lyrics. They were one of those instrumental bands with a great amount of very very skilled guitar. It felt great and it seemed like most of the audience was actually more here for them than they were for The Dear Hunter. One audience said something sexually explicit to the lead vocalist Drew Pelsiek, to which he replied, “Were you the same guy that said that to me the last time I was here?”
A progressive rock band from San Diego, California, Chon came on to the stage with little time after Gates, but handled themselves like they had been playing a million times before. Pelsiek maintained a great attitude with the audience and was very interactive. He was hilarious, and his persona only served to add to the great beats and guitar playing from his band. Guitarist Mario Camareno, drummer Nathan Camarena and guitarist Erick Hansel all had a great synergy with Pelsiek. If you ever get a chance to see this band, I definitely recommend it. Another special shout out to Mario, for that dashing-as-heck mustache.
Finally, the night moved quickly into The Dear Hunter! The band from Atlanta, Georgia came on with their low drums and lumber-sexual fantasy vibe with great power. All of their songs made me feel like I was being entered into an unannounced sequel to “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” They began with songs like “Wait” and “The Thief.” After a couple more songs from their oldies but goodies, they began to play more from their new album. Overall, Dear Hunter was great. They symphonic music really added to the atmosphere of the venue as well as the time of year. The audience they attract are good natured, but y’know, in high school and don’t seem like they shower too often. But hey, no judgment.
In conclusion, if you’re looking to hype about Oktoberfest or getting spooky this season, try to follow along The Dear Hunter tour. To be honest, I think people should really follow Chon out of all the bands, since they know how to have a good time.