SHOW REVIEW: Save Ferris/Hagfish/Home Grown
April 18, 1998--Philadelphia (Theater of the Living Arts)
By: Jen Brown
After spending much of the day on Saturday April 18, 1998 walking around Philadelphia's famous South Street, I was more than ready to attend the Save Ferris show that evening. The show took place at the Theater of the Living Arts on South Street, a small venue that looks as if it was once a movie theater, complete with the old marquee in the front advertising Save Ferris, Hagfish and Home Grown, the bands set to play that night.
Around 8 pm the first band, Home Grown, took the stage. They played several punky upbeat songs in an attempt to get the energy of the crowd going. The four boys of Home Grown seemed to be having a little difficulty, since everyone wanted to save their energy for the headliners. At one point, though, the horn section of Save Ferris joined the Home Grown on stage to give the crowd a treat. Picking up guitars from Hagfish, the saxophone, trumpet and trombone players started "jamming" along. Some highlights from Home Grown's set included songs from their full length album, That's Business such as Surfer Girl, a song relating the feelings we all feel when we are ditched by that hot surfer girl. Also, their upbeat Face in the Crowd, along with catchy covers of Aqua's Barbie Girl, and the Spice Girl's Wannabe. The little known punk, hornless-ska band from Southern California's Orange County left a great impression on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania crowd. After their set comments like "awesome," "rocked," and "they're great!" floated around the Theater of the Living Arts.
Two years ago, almost to the day, rock band Hagfish came to Philadelphia with Everclear, they finally came back. Prior to their set they managed to stir up the already pumped ska loving crowd by boldly taping "ska sucks," signs to their amps. Despite the fact that most people in the crowd weren't true rock fans, Hagfish, as Home Grown managed to get some activity from the crowd. Especially when while playing Alien, a song off of their self titled 3rd album, members of Save Ferris and Home Grown joined the band on stage. Everyone on the stage, including members of the other bands, mockingly smoked cigarettes, because the Theater of the Living Arts is a non-smoking venue. Hagfish managed to play a good mix of songs from their second album, ...Rocks Your Lame Ass, and from their new self titled release. This included a cover of They Might Be Giants song, Twisting, which can also be found on their new album. Before leaving the stage, the band managed to please the crowd with their hit song, Stamp, from their second album.
Finally the headliners took the stage, creating a massive rush to the stage as everyone pushed forward trying to get an inch closer to the stage. Save Ferris was finally on stage, the moment everyone had been looking forward to had arrived. The band needed no help exciting the crowd, however, Home Grown's bass player, Adam Lohrbach joined the Save Ferris gang on stage to show off his trumpet playing talents during The World is New.
No Save Ferris show would be complete without various undergarments being thrown on stage to lead singer Monique Powell, and tonight was no exception. At least three bras were flung at the swingy singer, one of which she gladly put on over her black vintage dress. Save Ferris pleased the crowd by playing a variety of songs off of their first two albums, Introducing..., and It Means Everything. The set was filled with swing, ska, and pop music, with a dash of sing-a-long thrown in for fun when the band played Spam. Also, the crowd was taken on a trip down memory lane, all the way back to 1983, a year when the majority of the crowd was still in diapers for their rendition of Come On Eileen, an old Dexys Midnight Runners hit. The band paid homage to one of the most influential early ska bands, Operation Ivy, by doing their rendition of the Operation Ivy song, Artificial Life. Save Ferris eventually left the stage, only to towel off and take take a little break, but were quickly back on stage to preform again. Powell gave a short speech about why you should be nice to your significant other, so they don't write a song like Lies about you, then began the sultry, heartache, heartbreak anthem. However the group ended the night on a more upbeat note, with why it Sucks To Be Under 21.
After the show members from all three bands were available for pictures and autographs outside of the venue. Overall it was a great show, and I am happy to know that while people may have come for Save Ferris, they discovered some really talented not so well-known bands, like Hagfish and Home Grown. In fact, I one anxious teen ran up to Adam Lohrbach of Home Grown asking what band he was in, because she loved them so much. Being the prankster he is, he lied and said he was with Hagfish, and she being the naive youth, believed him. Oh well, that's life.