Hey guys, Billy boy is back to the music now. I can feel your relief through the keyboard as I type this. Are you ready for some rock ‘n roll? Of course you are! Up, up and away then.
There is a small club in South Philly called Boot and Saddle. It gets the bands that are the newest of the new or that lack a big enough following to be able to play one of the bigger clubs in town. I had never been, and wanted to go just to check out the scene. I found a kindred spirit, and off we trekked on a recent Wednesday night to see a band called Royal Canoe.
I didn’t know anything about Royal Canoe. I did know that it was $10 to get into the show, and since Friday was payday, I could float a third-party post-dated check for two days before I had enough cash to cover the hefty outlay. Haha, $10? That’s less than a movie. And for that, we got not only Royal Canoe, but also Vincent John.
So who are these musical acts? I did a little research. Vincent John is a Philly guy who put out his debut EP 'Never Go Back' on October, 21 2016. On stage, it was Vincent playing a keyboard/synthesizer, and guitar, too. There was also a drummer. Credit to VJ for having a live drummer (who was damn good, btw) rather than synthing out the whole thing. Vincent’s music reminded me of pop/electronica acts like Hall & Oates and New Order. I really enjoyed his set. Here are some pictures:
The headliner, Royal Canoe, is a Canadian indie rock band with six guys. How to describe their music? Let’s see, how about psychedelia mixed with slow funk and heavy Frank Zappa influences. You better listen if that intrigues you because it’s different and unique. These guys were accomplished musicians with a very keen sense of what they wanted to do musically, and they were into it. But it wasn’t my cup of tea. Oh, and the guitarist must have a side job as a plumber - he kept bending over to adjust something on the floor and had his back to the crowd. It seemed like he was looking for a pencil or something, but couldn't find it because it was in that ass crack that he was flashing at the audience. Pictures? Of course, this is BillyRocksPhilly, right? But no ass crack because there might be kids checking this out. Here you go:
What about Boot and Saddle itself? Well, you get to park free on the street amid the ubiquitous Philly broken glass. It’s not in a rough neighborhood, but it’s not very nice – think warehouses, empty lots, and construction suppliers, with some housing a few blocks further away. It’s right on South Broad, which is trying to gentrify, but it has a ways to go.
The club itself has a western motif. You could find it in working class parts of Wyoming or something, but not the hipster millenials that frequent it. It has a front bar with tables and serves food, and the music venue is in the back through a steel door. You have to buy your drinks at the bar, then go past the ticket taker to get into the music venue because there is no bar back there. In fact, the back room where the music is played is as simple as it gets. It’s about the width of a two-car garage, and maybe three times as long. At the far end is a simple stage, and there is a sound board at the back. No tables, no chairs. Basically, it’s as stripped down as it gets. But it has good acoustics, decent lighting, and was not crowded. I’m guessing there were 75 patrons at most on Wednesday. Would I go back? Hell yeah. I recommend it if there is someone you want to see there. Or, to do what we did: just go to enjoy some live music at a remarkably low cost.
Following up on Wednesday, it’s going to be a big weekend here at BRP. Tonight, it’s the Revivalists at Union Transfer, and tomorrow, Low Cut Connie and Marah at some beer festival in Philly. And, if I'm lucky, no more ass crack. Turn up! Reviews to follow. Thanks for reading and I hope your weekend is full of fun!
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.