The High Court
Bedlight for Blue Eyes, Asteria, The Great American Soundtrack, Committed
Philadelphia, PA • March 13, 2008
The crashed van on the sidewalk of the Trocadero should have signaled that this show wasn’t going to be typical. After talking to New Jersey’s own Bedlight for Blue Eyes, notes of piercing guitars and drum thumps beckoned me up the staircase.
I arrived to find that the stage was already bombarded with teenagers who must have known to show up early for a spot at the stage. When you’re dealing with a pop/alternative rock bill of this nature, showing up early isn’t courtesy–it’s mandatory. Committed were leaving the stage as the next band shuffled around them. I had heard about The Great American Soundtrack, knowing the vocalist from his prior band. Dressed to impress with button down shirts and vests, band members took the stage, causing several screams from audience members. The music had a pop rock flair that was all too perfect for the crowd sing-alongs. The one song that stood out was “A Song for Laura,” which was written about the lead singer’s sister who passed away a few years ago. The jumping and texting stopped; all eyes were on Kurt as he belted out the lyrics in a heartfelt manner that captivated the audience’s attention.
Indiana’s own Asteria were up next. This emo/pop rock quintet bounced around the stage, trying to pump up the crowd. While the audience wasn’t entirely engaged with the set, a few die hard Asteria fans sang along with every word. Toward the end of the set, the crowd started to sway, as fans began a combination of dancing and moshing. Listening to the vocals of lead signer, Terrance, you could see why they were doing well on the same bill as the High Court. With both bands, you can easily find yourself starting to dance and not caring about who’s watching. Perhaps their best track of the evening was “Slip into Something More Comfortable,” which had the girls screaming. In between sets, the Indiana quintet talked about their experience that day in Philly…their arrival, going to get cheesesteaks, and getting not one or two, but three parking tickets, according to Terrance. But that wasn’t going to rain on their parade; the band played approximately six or seven tracks, all of which were well-received by the crowd.
Bedlight for Blue Eyes was up next and had a warm welcoming from the young crowd. They played mostly tracks from their latest release, Life on Life’s Terms, released on Trustkill Records back in 2007. The vocals and music were basically impeccable–I could have sworn I was listening to the record. The band was able to not only get the audience’s attention, but keep it, despite going on before the High Court. The best part was their playful nature, with each member displaying a bit of his own personality during each song. Whether it was an intense focus on the solo riffs or Daniel’s little dances to the beat, Bedlight for Blue Eyes offered a nice alternative to the typical band performance of taking things so seriously that you forget about having fun with it. Sure, it’s not all a party, but a little unpredictability on stage will get their attention, as Bedlight for Blue Eyes proved.
Up next was the High Court. I’ve seen them many times now, and yet, each time I always forget that their fans are serious. Really. The majority of them being female teenagers, the audience was crammed as close to the stage as they could possibly get. At first, there was an issue with one of the amps and the band had to borrow equipment from Asteria. After that, fans glanced over their shoulders, looking for lead singer, J.B. Once he made his way through the crowd (which seemed to fill the room), the band began their set in what was perhaps a tasteful mayhem, with each member rocking out in their own tiny space. To confine this power-pop rock band on the stage of the balcony is just wrong. However, they never have issues and always seem to play their best, regardless. With five of them on stage, it seemed like things might get a bit chaotic, but it was the crowd that turned. During “2 Much Love For 1 Woman,” the crowd started to move to the music, yet, also being confined on the small floor, soon dancing became pushing and two girls almost broke into a fight. Um, last time I recalled, this doesn’t happen at pop-rock shows. Even J.B. and the rest of the band seemed a bit shocked. After the song was finished, J.B. asked the fans to calm down or face getting thrown out.
The band continued to play tracks off of their debut release, Puppet Strings, which was released on I Surrender Records this past summer. While no one song got a bad reaction, clearly the crowd favorites seemed to be the faster, more intense tracks. Entwined in the old favorites, the band made sure to play some of the new tracks that they had written, urging any and all crowd participation…and they got it. At times, J.B. would start to speak and the crowd would burst out in screams; after a while, it seemed that the band should just play, and they did. They even played an extra two tracks, due to the crowd’s demands.
An early night, the show was over by about 10:30, but the Tuesday crowd rushed outside. Meanwhile, others swarmed around merch tables, eager to congratulate bands on their performances and even get stuff signed.
Overall, it was quite a surprising show to say the least. While it quenched my inner love for dance pop-rock, it also made it clear that these bands’ fans mean business.