Noise Pop Show Review: Foreign Born, The Fresh and Onlys and Free Energy at The Rickshaw Stop 2/24/10

by Pouria Yazdi on February 26, 2010

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One Serious Dancing Band

My night ended on a couch in the city followed by 4 hours of sleep and a massive hangover. How was I supposed to know I was going to have so much fun on a Wednesday?

My day started off like any other. I worked, exercised, and went to The Rickshaw Stop. Doing these things took time and various levels of prep. What I neglected to do was include dinner. I thought, “No worries, you’re not actually hungry AND you’ll get drunk quicker.” I was definitely right about that last part.

After meeting up with my friend, we entered in time to see Free Energy. We unfortunately missed The Splinters. Free Energy were the second of four bands to play that night. I checked them out on the interwebs and listened to one song and read one review. I was anticipating checking them out. As I was ordering my second Glenlivet and soda (they had no Dewar’s), Free Energy took the stage.

After grabbing my drink, my friend and I pushed our way up to the front. I got pushed in the back by some jerk as we were doing this. A tip for concert goers: don’t be jealous of others because you’re not willing to put the effort in to get to the front. Just because you’re too afraid to break some tenuous social moray, don’t take it out on others who are more committed than you.

Where was I? Oh yea, Free Energy. They were dressed like an amalgam of different rock groups: bandanas, tattered eagle shirts, feathers on guitars, and leather vests, you get the idea. They were like a modernized Rolling Stones. Not to say I like the Stones, because I could take them or leave them.

I’m also not saying that Free Energy sounded like the Stones, even though they totally were totally a rock band. I will say that this band from Philadelphia put on a great show. The lead singer, 2 guitarists, bassist, and drummer really were having fun out there strutting their shit.

This is the type of band that makes me regret not trying to form a band even though I have no musical skills. This is the type of band that plays with a rocking abandon. This is the type of band you should see. I contemplated checking them out again on Thursday at the 330 Ritch.

After Free Energy finished their set, a few more friends showed up and a few more drinks were had. I proceeded to let them know how sorry I was that they missed Free Energy. Fortunately we still had The Fresh and Onlys and Foreign Born left on the ticket. Unfortunately, The Fresh and Onlys really didn’t do it for me. I didn’t give them much of a chance. I had listened to them on Lala before, checked out some more stuff on the web earlier that day, and after hearing two songs my group all agreed we should head upstairs and hang until Foreign Born showed up.

Upstairs I got to talking with a stranger, as I often do when I’ve had a few, and she actually liked The Fresh and Onlys better than Free Energy. I mention this because she compared Free Energy to a typical good bar band that you could see anywhere whereas The Fresh and Onlys were more complex. I respected that analysis and thought hey, I’ll add that for “fair and balanced” into my review. Although I’d love to be hanging out at the bar where bands like Free Energy are “typical.”

I really didn’t know what to expect from Foreign Born. I had listened to some of their songs and really dug them, but playing live is a whole different matter. By the time Foreign Born took the stage I’d had five Glenlivet and sodas and still no dinner. I won’t lie to you guys, I was just a tad tipsy. How did Foreign Born do? Could they rock me more than Free Energy?

I’d say they hit it out of the park. After squirreling my way up to the front I got a full on sensory treatment. I thought Free Energy put on a great show (they did) but Foreign Born with its two percussionists were pretty amazing. Their mix of rock and African beats is infectious to the dancing bone. I was captivated.

The persona of the band also was far different from Free Energy. Foreign Born was really focused and serious, seemingly less carefree. It fit their style of music perfectly though because I kept thinking to myself this is a band that commands respect and attention.

They pretty much had us at hello. My compatriots and I grooved to each tune. Foreign Born ripped through their set and when they were done my friend asked, “They’re not coming back on?” Unfortunately they didn’t, it did feel really short. I didn’t feel like I was robbed but I just wanted the good music to continue on.

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The below photos were taken by Carla Deasy, and include both The Fresh & Onlys and The Splinters as well.

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