Review: A full-contact night with Marnie Stern, Barren Girls and Little Big League at Johnny Brenda's - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

All photos by Chris Sikich |

Shredding the night away, Marnie Stern and her crackling band headlined a night of indie rock awesomeness at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday. The tightness of the openers — phenomenal Philly locals Little Big League and the hard-rock stylings Barren Girls — readied the crowd for the entrancing guitar riffs and sweet yet edgy vocals of Stern, who was joined by bassist Nithin Kalvakota and drummer Joe Wong. By the second song, Wong’s shirt was off and the crowd was thrashing about, tossing their shirts onto the stage and hanging onto Stern’s every shred and her frequent references to her vagina. Though brief, her set, clocking in at under an hour, blasted through exuberant numbers from The Chronicles of Marnia, including the title track and a spirited “Year of the Glad.” And with a flourish of rock mania, the show — her last of the tour — came to a close with guitar theatrics and a drumstick flying at this reviewer’s mouth. After a brief taste of blood, all teeth remain — as well as memories of rock heaven, Marnie Stern-style.

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