Show Review: Exitmusic @ Union Transfer 11/17/11
Emily | On 20, Nov 2011
On a chilled Thursday night, Union Transfer provided the warm haven for the music lovers and Exitmusic to come together and make sweet music ear love to each other.
It was my first time to Union Transfer so I’ll make quick mention of this new Philadelphia music venue. In short, it is as if the Electric Factory and the TLA had a baby and that baby was an 80-year old factory worker. The best part about this venue is that they really seem to cover all the preferences for each type of show-goer. First, a large bar area makes room for those that mostly want to have a few drinks, relax, and listen to a band they got into recently. Then, there’s side areas on two levels, where people can stand if they’re not so into being in the middle of the crowd, but are also into the band enough where they don’t want to passively sit and listen. Third, there’s bleacher-style seating on an upper level for those that want a great view, but don’t want to be standing for too long. Then there’s a great-sized area for those that want to be right at the stage and in the middle of the action. This is definitely a venue that I will be looking forward to going to again soon.
Exitmusic emerged on stage wearing all black and the lead songstress, Aleksa Palladino, taking center stage and boy does she deserve the center of that stage. Her hair alone warrants an extra platform. For being such a new band, each and every level of their performance was so delicately and intricately planned. Not in an obvious or unsurprising way, but in the way that a broadway show is so perfectly organized that the audience doesn’t realize they’re at a show. If Exitmusic’s goal was to create a subtle and haunting experience for the audience-member, they succeeded in spades.
Let’s start with the hair. Palladino’s hair looked like she had just woken up from a nightmare back stage. Everybody in the band wore all black and the banter was kept to a minimum. Usually, I hate when singers don’t talk to an audience, but after some thought and reflection (which you can’t help but do after an Exitmusic show) I realized any sort of banter with the audience would have ruined the effect and appeal of the entire performance. What are you supposed to say between relaying trance-like nightmarish experiences that leave the listener fuzzy and disoriented? “Glad to be here, Philly, you rock!” No way.
Lastly, the floor tom. Before Florence + The Machine, I had never noticed a floor tom. Now, I’ve been to several shows where the floor tom was like another band member. Exitmusic used the floor tom to full effect. Really, I don’t know why every band doesn’t use a floor tom because it creates a sense of urgency in a performance that is simply not achieved using any other instrument. Something about that pounding sound forces a listener to wake up and pay attention.
As the opener to my beloved Phantogram, Exitmusic had a lot of work to do to engage this listener, but they did more than that. They actually made me think, wow, Phantogram better be on their A-game coming on after a performance like that.