Mumblr | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott
Philly underground faves Secret Plot played their final show at Lavender Town
A Kat Kat Records poster featuring a pink cartoon feline in front of a yellow pentagram stands out at the Philadelphia house show venue, Lavender Town. A celebration of the regional DIY scene three years running, this year’s Kat Kat Phest ran from December 27 to January 1, showcasing Philly punk staples like Mumblr, Marietta, Cyberbully Mom Club, and Clique. But day two of Phest generated mixed emotions for KKP creators Ruben Polo and Dan Anderson; their band, Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe, was on the lineup, playing its last show.
Drummer of Mumblr Scott Stitzer warned the crowd, “It’s gonna be loud” during his band’s opening set. The Philadelphia favorites got the crowd moving during their song “Philadelphia” off their 2014 release, Full of Snakes.
“We’re called… Something you’ll never hear again.” This was how Dan Andersen, vocalist and guitarist of Secret Plot, introduced his band’s set. It was full of nostalgia, clinking PBR’s, and the crowd (and band) holding up their lighters. They played older songs like “Tri-lateral Commission” from their first EP, Montauk. During the band’s last set, a hot water pipe was leaking and guitarist Polo told the crowd: “Everybody put on your floaties…get towels.”
In 2011, Polo booked a show in South Philly. Anderson and Mark Walsh (former bassist of Secret Plot) were in a band called Science Fair. Walsh and Polo discussed forming a band and a month later had their first practice. Chris Palmer (former drummer of Secret Plot) studied abroad and Ben Schmidt became the new drummer on the band’s second US tour.
Polo recalls opening for Owen (the Mike Kinsella solo project) during a basement show as a highlight of the band’s career. The guys of Secret Plot went on two full US tours without a booking agent. “We’ve played just under 300 shows in three years, which is a ton,” Anderson said.
Talking outside of Lavender Town after the show, Andersen, Polo, Schmidt, and bassist Eric Muth recall some of the places they have been able to see on tour. Secret Plot played a show in Missoula, Montana, where “everyone says bands never go to,” said Anderson. “That’s where Taco Bell destroyed me,” Schmidt said. In Lawrence, Kansas, Secret Plot watched an emo cover band play Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” as the members of Sum 41 ironically came from their show down the street.
The amicable break up resulted from some members lessening interest in going on tour, Polo said. The guys of Secret Plot have a full-length they have been working on since May that has yet to be finished. All of the music is done; vocals are the only thing left, Polo said. “It was a lack of a momentum,” Muth said.
While planning Phest, Polo and Andersen were not aware that this was going to be SP’s last show. The decision was made during a practice in early December. Each member is going off to other projects. Polo plays in a hardcore punk band called Soul Glo and Schmidt plays in bands Pocket and Hightide Hotel. Anderson and Polo are starting a new band as well. “I’ll still book everyone in this band,” Polo said. Even with each of the members’ projects, the guys of Secret Plot said they will consider a show if the full-length gets released.
“This is the best show we have had with people coming out in years,” Polo said.