Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN

Jake Ewald said Tuesday night was his first concert. Before the show, he pleaded with Brendan Lukens to buy his record. Ewald was kidding, of course — he and Lukens have put on many shows themselves as two-fourths of Modern Baseball, so it’s hard to imagine he had to sell anything to his friend.

This kind of playfulness is commonplace with any show involving some of the MoBo guys. It bleeds into the crowd, too. Everyone seems to be friends. Tuesday night was no exception, as Ewald’s project Slaughter Beach, Dog kicked of a tiny six-date tour at Everybody Hits. Abi Reimold and Harmony Woods rounded out the all-Philly bill.

The Cages are not your typical venue. Baseball cards line the walls. By day, it’s where you’ll find kids dreaming to grow up to play across town at Citizen Bank Park. But by night, it’s all it needs to be: a space with outlets for power strips and a roof for people to gather under. And Tuesday night, it was home to the unofficial record release show for Slaughter Beach, Dog’s debut LP Welcome — Ewald said at the start of the band’s set that since the Sept. 30 release never had an official welcoming, this might as well be it.

Slaughter Beach, Dog kicked off their set with the quiet “Politics of Grooming,” lulling in the crowded cages audience before exploding with the shreds that initiate its Welcome successor, “Drinks.” The band then introduced a new song — which sounded as good as you’d expect it to — before ripping through some of the LP’s best. “Mallrat Semi-Annual” welcomes listeners to the world of Slaughter Beach, the fictional home of the characters Ewald’s songwriting takes on. The wicked baseline of “Forever” evolved into a monster of a song, and “Monsters” garnered the greatest sing-along effort of the night to close out the short set.

Abi Reimold | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN

Abi Reimold | photo by Joseph Bloss for WXPN

Ewald’s band was deserving of its headliner status, but that’s not to take away from the acts that came before. Havertown native Abi Reimold didn’t need much to captivate the crowd she sat in front of. Normally backed by a full band, Reimold flew — and I mean soared — solo, accompanied only by her guitar, a lone drum and a whole lot of looping pedals. She went with a handful of tracks from Wriggling, her debut LP released in January, a newer song called “Stars” and even an Angel Olsen cover. Reimold had no trouble wearing her emotions on her sleeve, whether that was warning the crowd of some tears she expected to shed during her final two songs (on one of which Sofia Verbilla of Harmony Woods joined) or simply belting out those impressively depressing lyrics into her gold microphone.

And batting leadoff was Harmony Woods, the work of another talented local, the aforementioned Sofia Verbilla. It was group’s second full band effort, but it would’ve been tough to tell had they not admitted so. Lukens supplied the guitar for the four-piece, and it took just a short 15-minute set to make a quick fan out of me. At times it was quiet and peaceful, but by the end things got pretty rockin’. They were a late addition to the bill, but it wascertainly a great call to have them join.

After seeing a massive sold-out show at the Fillmore over the weekend, Tuesday was a pleasant shift toward the opposite end of the spectrum. I appreciate seeing the band carry in their own equipment and playing shows where all the acts are friends. It’s a different environment in the best of ways. This night in particular was nice, as all the proceeds benefitted Planned Parenthood and Immigration Equality.

In these trying times, it’s nights like these we should be thankful for.


Politics of Grooming
Fish Fight (new song)
Mallrat Semi-Annual
Bed Fest
Just Be Simple (Songs: Ohia cover)