Sunday night’s line-up at Ortlieb’s hit a range of feeling, from despondance to frenzy to guttural catharsis. To put it another way, the what-would-prove-to-be face melting show crescendoed from stewing, to angst, to rage.
Philly rock four-piece Full Bush headlined the show with local up and comers Heatloaf, North Carolina’s BANGZZ and Basic Bitches. Full Bush guitarist/vocalist Jay Rutter said it best: “this the kind of intimate show your wished your favorite band still played.” While they were (rightfully) gushing about Ortlieb’s in general, the sentiment translated to the performances Sunday night as well.
Heatloaf firmly planted their feet in ballad territory with a palpable tension teeming from the feeling of being underestimated. Case in point: “shoulder to die on” which drums up momentum to then have the e-break thrown to a slower tempo where guitarist/vocalist Margot and Pax sing “don’t got a shoulder to cry on? Search for a shoulder to die on.” Another highlight was the way bassist Beck and drummer Raven added accents and fleshed out Heatloaf’s sound, as heard in “plenty” and “bug song,” in which Pax shines throughout their guitar solos.
Next up was the absolute hurricane of a band, BANGZZ. At the very least, the name is fitting. At the very most it’s the elevator pitch for the energy level the band brings to the stage, just like Sunday night at Ortlieb’s. If lightning bolts were music, it’d be BANGZZ. Jess Caesar’s drumming and cheeky banter, paired with Erika’s unquenchable energy level through her vocals, guitar and bass playing, made their song about mansplaining, “Big Ol’ Dicks,” hit even harder for the audience.
“Time for more truths” singer/guitarist/bassist Erika Kobayashi Libero said before talking about their Japanese American life experiences and Asian identity in America before tearing into “Your Asian Fetish Is Racist.”
Next up Sunday night was Basic Bitches, who were equally charming and fiery. A few songs in, while performing “Not Doing Wrong Is Not The Same As Doing Right,” guitarist/vocalist Naomi broken a string. Krystal swooped in to make light of the situation, chuckling along with the crowd, and luckily Erika of BANGZZ had their back and gave their guitar to Naomi.
Basic Bitches also symbolically took the baton energy wise from BANGZZ and then some; about to play their song “Cramps,” Naomi said “this goes out to everyone who has a period, knows someone who gets period or has their period right now!” They passionately played the song, visibly validated, just as the crowd was.
Almost in a way that snuck up on everyone, Full Bush was seemingly doing their final tuning and level checks when lead vocalist Kate coyly started reciting lyrics which crescendoed into “Deserve,” and therefore, the set. They wasted no time opening up the pit but also relayed the fragile exasperation they and the crowd felt as a result of the state of America on the eve of its birthday.
“This next song is about an abusive relationship…Happy Birthday America!” Lead vocalist Kate said with the rest of Full Bush chiming in before going into “Sweet n Low” off of their 2021 EP, Movie Night.
Full Bush riled up the crowd with more tracks from the EP until it boiled over to dancing, thrashing and head banging. Songs like “Wild Heart” and “Movie Night” granted the opportunity to really get it all out, everything that felt bottled up and release it.
Music, especially Full Bush, provides a sense of closure even if it’s fleeting and that gift didn’t (and won’t) go unnoticed by the crowd at Ortlieb’s this past Sunday night. Check out more scenes from the show in the gallery below; hear more at Full Bush’s Bandcamp page, and also check out Basic Bitches, BANGZZ, and Heatloaf while you’re at it.