The Lawrence Arms / The Copyrights / Elway @ Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA

By Maryam Hassan

The Lawrence Arms, The Copyrights, Elway
Thursday, March 06, 2014 at the Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA

A cold and dreary Thursday doesn’t seem like a great night to go to a show, but the Lawrence Arms and Co.’s recent outing made it completely worthwhile for Philadelphia punks to come out of hibernation. Philly’s South St., a popular tourist trap and home of the Theatre of Living Arts (TLA), was abundant with locals and those travelling from various places for what was The Larries’ first Philly show since 2010. Many people (and band members) could be found pregaming at South St. bars like Tattooed Mom and building up a lot of excitement for what was to come.

And because it was so ridiculously cold, Colorado sweethearts, Elway were given the huge responsibility of getting everyone warmed up and ready to go for the rest of the night. I’ve always found Elway to have a sound very reminiscent of The Lawrence Arms which makes them a great fit for this tour. What followed did not disappoint. The set itself was mostly old favorites from their first record, ‘Delusions’, flanked with material from last year’s ‘Leavetaking’. Sprinkled between songs were drunken (and quite hilarious) musings and quips from frontman Tim Browne. Most prominently, Heaven Hill Whiskey was mentioned almost as much as they mention Colorado in their songs. I’m not sure if this is some sort of endorsement they have going (if not, they should get one) or if this was responsible for the entertaining banter throughout the set. Regardless, the sparse crowd at the beginning gradually began to grow and by the end of their set, there were already a good number of people dancing and singing along and ready to keep that up the rest of the night.

Up next was Illinois pop punk band the Copyrights, who have given Mikey Erg yet another addition to his seemingly endless resume of bands, by bringing him along to drum for this tour. While I’m not too completely familiar with the Copyrights’ back catalog, I recognized a lot of songs from ‘North Sentinel Island’, their last full length record. They were far less talkative between songs, but they were met with energetic reception from the crowd and gave what was a fun and danceable set. It was a treat for old fans and those new and less familiar with their material.

After a quick set change, the house lights dimmed and the Indiana Jones theme song blared as the Lawrence Arms took the stage. Since this tour was in support of their new release ‘Metropole’, it came as no surprise that a majority of the set’s songs were from this record. The new material definitely translates well live, and even though it’s only been out for a few months, a good chunk of the crowd already knew every word by heart and met every new song with the same enthusiasm as many of old favorites and standbys like ‘Intransit’ and ‘Brick Wall Views’. Scattered between songs was the classic banter the Larries (namely Brendan Kelly) are known for. Plenty of dick jokes, self deprecation, and the like. BK also made note that this particular crowd was the most well behaved Philly crowd he’s ever seen (especially compared to a past gig where he mentioned an old timey style saloon brawl broke out).

Despite being less intense than in the past, the crowd still had a great energy and it’s definitely apparent that the Lawrence Arms’ presence has been sorely missed in Philly. All of the arm in arm sing-a-long’s definitely felt a long time coming, and before anyone knew it, they were closing the set with ‘Like A Record Player’. Of course the crowd always wants more, and of course there was an inevitable and predictable return to the stage to do a round of encore songs. But, mustering up what little remnants of voice I had left to shout along with, ‘100 Resolutions’ and ‘Are You There Margaret, It’s Me God?’ was the perfect way to cap off the night.

All in all, it was a great night, full of great music, and a fun and friendly, enthusiastic crowd. The supporting bands were a perfect choice and hopefully have turned on a lot of new fans to their music on this tour. It was great to finally see the Lawrence Arms again. Don’t make us wait so long for the next one, guys.