Tag Archives: The Hooters

Grouplove Kills It in Philly


Grouplove Philadelphia Concert Review

I recently found myself obligated to make a trip to Philadelphia. Typically not a preferred destination, this time I was thrilled to be going once I realized that Grouplove was taking their Seesaw Tour to the city on the same night.

Grouplove at Underground Arts
Grouplove at Underground Arts

The City of Brotherly Love might just be the most inaccurate nickname ever. Philly is generally not a friendly place. Their sporting venues are dangerous places, their drivers are rude, politicians are sketchy… You get the picture, but there’s one very notable exception. These miscreants know how to rock. For decades, Philadelphia has been a city that rocks, birthing such stellar acts as The Hooters, The A’s, and Cinderella. In addition, the city is a favorite tour stop for all of the iconic names in rock and roll. On this night, they got to witness some future icons.

Philadelphia rock music fans are fantastic, and they make every show in the city just a bit more special than in most other locales. I had caught Grouplove last fall at Florida’s Next Big Thing festival and loved their energy and charisma, not to mention their music, but I was truly excited to see them in a rock ‘n roll city like Philadelphia. They did not disappoint.

On this tour, the talented quintet are playing two shows in each city; night one, a raucous rock affair and night two (this night) a more laid back acoustic show. I was thrilled to be able to secure a ticket for the acoustic night, because these five are superbly talented and creative, and I was anxious to witness the different spin they’d offer on their unique blend of pop rock.

The sold out venue, Underground Arts, in the industrial Callowhill part of town, was an excellent backdrop for the set. After a nice warm-up set from up-and-coming Australians The Rubens, the electricity in the crowd was palpable. With fog drifting from the rafters, front man, Christian Zucconi took the stage to a loud ovation. He slid behind the piano for an unaccompanied solo as his band mates joined him for a slick version of “I’m With You.” From there, they kicked into “Itchin’ On A Photograph,” and the party was on.

If this night was the more mellow acoustic show, I can’t imagine the previous night’s fervor at Union Transfer. The band just oozes energy and offers non-stop superb, fun rock music. The set was maybe the slightest bit toned down; we saw the keyboards eschewed for piano as an example, but it was still a rollicking good time, and a nice night to showcase the band’s talent.

Hannah Hooper of Grouplove
Hannah Hooper of Grouplove at Underground Arts

At different times in the night, we saw lead singer / whirling dervish, Hannah Hooper, drummer Ryan Rabin, and Zucconni slide behind the piano. Phenomenally talented guitarist Andrew Wesson, took a turn behind the drums, and bass player Sean Gadd took lead vocals on several songs. But, most of the focus was directed to Zucconi and Hooper. They complement each other fantastically, often deftly trading off boy/girl vocals, all the while appearing to be having an absolute blast.

Aside from their musical talent, these guys all sing extremely well, which resulted in unusually crisp five person vocals at numerous times throughout the night.

There truly wasn’t a soft spot in the entire set, where we were able to enjoy numerous fun twists:

  • “Chloe” – Was introduced by Rabin and offered our first chance to see Gadd drop his bass and deliver lead vocals on a powerful, fun tune that had the crowd in a frenzy.
  • “Close Your Eyes” – Practically in mid-sentence, Zucconi began to howl, the crowd eagerly joined in, feeding nicely into the opening of this softer offering.
  • “Ways To Go” – I was wondering what they’d do with their current keyboard driven hit, and they offered a great spin. Rabin on piano, Wessen behind the drums, Gadd on bass, and Hooper and Zucconi killing the fun vocal duet.
  • “Cruel and Beautiful World” – Tender vocals, and phenomenal guitar work from Wessen. Just beautiful to listen to (wish I had recorded this one).
  • “Getaway Car” – featured an xylophone solo, and Gadd again on vocals.
  • “Tongue Tied” – Another fun party, this one had the crowd singing along perfectly, and sounding fantastic.
  • “Lovely Cup” – the entire crowd danced to this one, which spotlighted Gadd’s superb bass.
  • “Philalalaladelphia” – Yeah, it’s not a real song, but the night before, they wrote two lines while hanging out in Rittenhouse Square. It was silly stuff, but damn if they didn’t turn it into a three minue crowd infused party. Only in Philalalalaladelphia!
Christian Zucconi of Grouplove
Christian Zucconi of Grouplove at Underground Arts

In between, there were plenty of deep cuts, ample representation from all three of the band’s releases, a nice cover and creative alternate versions. An hour and a half of fun stuff in a lovely, loving atmosphere.

Follow Us on Twitter or Like our Facebook t0 receive alerts. Here are the photos, not great, but some decent shots: Grouplove photo album from this show. Also, here are some older photos to fill your needs Grouplove at The Big Ticket

(see the full setlist below)
Rock On!
Cretin

Setlist

I’m With You
Itchin’ On A Photograph
Raspberry
School Boy
Chloe
Close Your Eyes
Hippy Hill
Ways To Go
Oh Well
Cruel And Beautiful World
Gold Coast
Tongue Tied
Shark Attack
Getaway Car
Love Will Find You (cover)
Lovely Cup
Philalalaladelphia
Colours

Best Albums of 1987


It was 25 years ago today…

I just realized that it was 25 years ago that The Simpsons first graced our television screens, then got to wondering what was the music we were listening to back in Bart’s nascent years. As it turns out, it was a damn good year.

(You can click on the title of each selection to sample it on iTunes)

Here’s our RARA’s Farm Top Dozen in reverse order:

12. Whitesnake – Whitesnake – Usually a band eponymously names their first album.  For some reason, David Coverdale decided to do it on Whitesnake’s seventh. Who am I to argue? This one was the best of the bunch, and the band’s biggest commercial success.   Coverdale’s signature vocals soared on “Here I Go Again,” “Still of the Night” and “Is This Love.” Tawny Kitaen writhing on the hood of the car in the “Here I Go Again” video was a nice bonus.

11. A Momentary Lapse of Reason – Pink Floyd – This was really more of a David Gilmour solo album, and the absence of Roger Waters was definitely noticeable.  Waters basically said the album sucked, and it was not great by Floyd standards, but “Learning To Fly” and “On the Turning Away” are great tracks.  Still some excellent Gilmour guitar throughout no matter what Roger says…

10. Document – R.E.M. – These guys were on top of their game at this point in the 80’s, where everything they produced sounded great as Stipe and crew constantly evolved.  “It’s the End of the World…” and “The One I Love” got all of the airplay.  “Welcome to the Occupation” and “Finest Worksong” were better.

9.  Permanent Vacation – Aerosmith – RUN DMC breathed some air into their deflated sails, but this release from the boys from Boston is what truly welcomed them back into the rock spotlight.  Some HUGE hits on this one: “Angel,” “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and “Rag Doll.”

8. One Way Home – The Hooters – Yup, I was frequenting the Philly rock bars in 1987, but that had nothing to do with this selection; it’s just a damn good album.  Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian wrote well together and paired their vocals fantastically.  And our favorite drummer, David Uosikkinen was at the top of his game.  “Satellite,” “Johnny B” and “Fighting on the Same Side” were brilliant.

7. Floodland – Sisters of Mercy – Speaking of Philly, does anyone remember The Club Revival?  These guys were mainstays at the after hours haunts of the 80’s equivalent of emo (folks like me).  This is dark, driving dance rock, featuring “Dominion/Mother Russia,” “Lucretia My Reflection” and the amazing “This Corrosion.” Hey now, hey now now…

6. Diesel and Dust – Midnight Oil – Spinning records in a former life at a mythical place named the Jersey Shore, an Aussie walked in during INXS and told me I need to hear Midnight Oil. He was right and they were the real deal.  With “Beds Are Burning,” “The Dead Heart” and “Dreamworld” they caught the attention of lots of ears on this continent.

These Top Five are in a separate class from the first seven on the list.

5. Hysteria – Def Leppard –  With Hysteria, the guys from England made a roaring return to the rock music scene after taking a n unexpected hiatus following Rick Allen’s accident that cost him his left arm. They didn’t miss a beeat with this hit album which featured “Animal,” “Rocket,” “Love Bites” and the anthemic “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

4. Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses -The first was this masterpiece debut from Axl and Slash.  I’m sure some of you have this closer to the top, but the album was basically half a dozen great songs and half a dozen mediocre. Always loved “My Michelle,” but this one is all about “Paradise City,” “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle.”

3. Strangeways, Here We Come – The Smiths –  Morrissey is a genius, and on this one, may be just a tad less uber-depressing than The Smiths’ other offerings.  “Unhappy Birthday,” “Girlfriend in a Coma” and “A Rush and a Push and the Land Is Ours” only scratch the surface of this deep album. So, step off that ledge and dig into some joyful “Death of a Disco Dancer.”

2. Kick – INXS – Atlantic Records reportedly hated the album and begged the band to can it and start over.  Lesson #857 on why we need less record company intervention and more independence for rock musicians.  These Aussies had a bunch of good albums, but this was their best and most diverse offering.  “Devil Inside,” New Sensation” and Need You Tonight” were huge hits. “Mystify” was the best of the bunch, though, on an album where every song is great.

1. The Joshua Tree – U2 – This one is in The 25 Albums of All-Time, and in my opinion somewhere near the top of the list.  “Red Hill Mining Town,” Trip Through Your Wires” and One Tree Hill” are absolutely amazing, and there’s not a soft cut on the album which is woven together perfectly.  You amy also have heard of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With or Without You.” Pure Genius!

Let me know what you think by adding a comment below, and click the linked album titles to sample this great stuff on iTunes.

Mike G

 


RARA’s Six Pack with David Uosikkinen

iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

On Tuesday, October 2nd David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket will rock the World Cafe Live. They’ll be featuring the release of their spin on The Trammps disco classic “Disco Inferno,” the sixth song from In The Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia.

Uosikkinen, the charismatic drummer from The Hooters, is back with an all-star cast of Philadelphia rock legends. We sat down recently with him and shared a six pack, Rock And Roll Animal style. Here’s his RARA’s Six Pack:

Cretin: Growing up, you played in a band called The Kooks – Are you familiar with the current band with the same name.
Uosikkinen: I know the band. What I’ve heard I really liked. My band, The Kooks was in high school where we weren’t writing songs, we were covering songs. I think the name is great; it looks cool in print. Two “O’s” just like The Hooters.

Cretin: What was your all-time favorite venue to play in Philly?
Uosikkinen: I’ve got a soft spot for The Bijou Cafe – it was a really famous place; Electric Factory Concerts used to book shows there.  We played there once when there was a bomb scare and wrote a song about it called “Bombscare.” It was my favorite place to play back in the day.

Cretin: Favorite cover song?
Uosikkinen: I think it would have to be “Friday On My Mind” by David Bowie. Great Song

Cretin: I saw you open the show at Live Aid. Was that the most exciting momoent for you on stage?
Uosikkinen: Right before I sat down at my drums Jack Nicholson came out and shook my hand. I have to say that was pretty cool.

Cretin: How old were you before you learned how to spell “Uosikkinen”?
Uosikkinen: (Laughs heartily) My last name was such a challenge going through school, you have no idea. It was okay going through elementary school because you had one teacher, but when you started going into Jr. High School, with seven different teachers, every one butchered it. It got to the point where I made up versions of my name. I’d change the spelling, I’d shorten it, and say Dave Oskin. Back then it was impossible for people to say, now it’s a lot more common to hear different sounding names.

Cretin: Any food you missed when you left Philly and moved to Los Angeles for a few years?
Uosikkinen:Cheese steaks. No question.

If you enjoyed this quick chat with David, check out our full length interview from earlier this year: David Uosikkinen Chats About Philly Rock

Links:

Rock On – Cretin