Old Friends and New: Brian McGee, JKutchma, and The Rentiers played Ortlieb's Lounge - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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It seems that in Philadelphia there always seems to be the problem of there being too many shows in one night and having to decide among them. And trust me, it is a very good problem to have. Nonetheless, the second I heard about Brian McGee, The Rentiers, and  North Carolina solo act Jkutchma were playing Ortlieb’s, it was obvious what I was doing that night.

A crowd of punk fans piled into a room on June 19th to enjoy the more stripped-down side of music. The Rentiers, spearheaded by Plow United’s and Ex-Friends’ Joel Tannenbaum, began the evening with a quirky and light-hearted set. With song titles like “Black Metal Yoga” and “Jessica and Dan and a Cat Named Bolt-Thrower” which makes jest about the modern hippy movement, it is difficult for even the most stoic person to not crack a smile. Mikey Erg, best known for being the driving force behind The Ergs! and being in roughly one million bands (okay, maybe a little less. But one million probably isn’t too far off), provided back up vocals and percussion via the cajon. Rounded out by Stephanie Berliner on omnichord, harmonium, flute and vocals, The Rentiers covered Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good To Me” which elicited hoots and hollers from the audience. They closed with “Stories of Adam” off their debut Here Is A List Of Things That Exist, which makes me almost forgive them for not sneaking “The Legend of Molly Pitcher” into their setlist.

A friend of McGee and Tannenbaum, Jkutchma came from North Carolina to prove that sometimes it is worth it to take the road less traveled… literally. He weaved stories with between songs, admitting that he planned the tour around the idea of avoiding major highways and forcing yourself to slow down. A hush fell over the room while he picked his acoustic guitar. Kutchma’s country roots were present in his music.

Asbury Park invaded for Brian McGee’s set. After beginning with a couple of songs solo, including the unreleased “I’m Still Here”, friends Howie Cohen and Wills Weller humped on stage to fill out the band and make it a family affair. (All three had spent time working together at a boutique music shop). McGee’s music sounded even more compelling with a group of skilled musicians behind him. The audience seemed enamored by their high-energy and ability to effortlessly communicate while on stage.

Ortlieb’s was full of friends old and new for the night, and really, there is no other way it should be.

The Rentiers will be playing the Mill Hill in Trenton June 27th. More information here.

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