Monday, March 24, 2014

The Welcoming Party, Sealed for Phreshness & Hit the Ground Running / Marcy 23, 2014 / The Smiling Skull

By: Sammi Nelson, Contributor

Sunday nights at the Skull are typically slow and uncomfortably un-rowdy for the skeletal saloon. While the bar is typically filled with a mixture of shuffling college students and settled townies, Sundays experience quite a decrease in patrons compared to the weekend evenings. Such is the case for most bars, which surprised me when I found out about a three-band show scheduled for Sunday night. Now, normally I’d decline such an event, but when I found out that a friend was performing his act, I couldn’t miss the opportunity.

The crowd was undeniably a small one, but regardless of the lack of attendance, the bands went forth with their musical deliveries. The opening act was Hit the Ground Running, a group from Hudson, OH whose sound features some good ol’ pop-punk feels. While the band isn’t primarily acoustic, they performed their set as such on Sunday. They played a few songs of their own as well as several covers. The band had all of the college kids (and possibly a few townies) swooning with their “A Thousand Miles” cover.

Hit the Ground Running, whose music is a little too bright for the endearingly grimy Skull, performed a great set that has me excited to listen to their A Long Summer in Ohio EP, which comes out May 12.

The next act featured two dudes from Vienna, WV, one of which is a friend of mine. Sealed For Phreshness is a quirky alternative band whose music consists of two singers, a guitar and backtracks that produce the rest of the band’s sound. While their music contains a lot of samples such as these, the band was forced to go acoustic Sunday when their backtracks failed to work. For having never performed under these circumstances, the band showed the crowd and themselves that backtracks aren’t necessary to put on a good show.

Their music is heavily comedy-driven, with silly songs about awkward zombies, interjections like “FALCON PUNCH” and a song about dolphins, appropriately titled “Jessica Albatross”. The band also revealed a bit of their history, explaining how they originally planned to become a Christian worship group until they started writing and performing their now goofy sets.

The final act of the night was The Welcoming Party, a local Athens progressive hardcore band. This band was definitely unlike the other two performances of the night. They required a clearing of the space in front of the stage for some intended moshing by both fans and bandmates alike. The group erupted into a sound of pure ruthlessness that filled the Skull. The moshpit might have been small, but its participators thrashed to atom-scattering tracks such as “Hans Christian Anderson.”

The band had a few announcements, one of which was the bassist’s recent engagement and also the release of an EP on April 17, which is the same day they start their tour with another performance at the Skull.

As the night came to a close, I left the bar feeling energized and quite content. I got to have a lovely date night at Casa and enjoy a great variety of music at the Skull. I also learned of several EPs and local bands that are definitely more than worthy to check out.

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