Wednesday brought a sold-out crowd to Union Transfer with All Dogs and Tenci - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Looking out over an absolutely packed house at Union Transfer last Saturday night, Wednesday‘s Karly Hartzman seemed somewhat in awe. “Philly’s always shown the fuck up for us, which is crazy because we’re not from here,” she said. “But this is the biggest show we’ve played, ever. Thank you again, Philly, you’re our home away from home.”

The acclaimed indie rock band played an expansive set that rambled unpredictably in tone and energy — “chaotic is where we’re at,” Hartzman said by way of explaination, as the set moved from midtempo mellow indie to super mellow slowcore to raucous and roaring punk. They’d been on the road since 6:30 a.m, driving to the gig from their home in Asheville, North Carolina, and they chose to embrace the wiredness in a set that showcase their many facets — twangy country to jagged alt rock to solo introspection — and their robust back catalog, with an extended focus on this year’s excellent Rat Saw God, their fifth LP.

The band shared the stage with their Chicago tourmates Tenci, who imbued whimsical and strange indie folk explorations with expressive sax and electric guitar; think of early Angel Olsen and Hand Habits as kindred spirits. Tenci also organized tabling from community-minded nonprofits at each tour stop; in Philly, it was Attic Youth Center, the city’s only organization devoting resources specifically LGBTQ+ teens, which is marking it’s 30th anniversary this year. (Find out more about what they do here.)

Beloved Columbus, Ohio indie rock band All Dogs also shared the stage, playing their first live show since 2016. Their hooky and propulsive indie punk was a warm and welcome callback to the days when Waxahatchee and Radiator Hospital were new heroes on the Philly scene; Hartzman said “It’s really crazy to have a band like All Dogs reunite for this show, it feels like such a momentous occasion.” She said she played the band on her college radio show, and spoke lovingly of independent radio, saying college is “such an important time for listening to music.”

For their part, Wednesday’s set was lively and exciting, and even if we never knew quick what way the energy was going to go, there were constants: M.J. Lenderman’s arching, atmospheric guitar tones, or Xandy Chelmis’s twinkling pedal steel licks, with the rhythm section of bassist Ethan Baechtold and drummer Alan Miller ready to steer the set wherever it needed to go.

A lively cover of the country song “She’s Actin’ Single  (I’m Drinking Doubles)” by Gary Stewart by way of Cody Johnson kept us anchored in the southern tones of the band’s own “Chosen To Deserve”; Chelmis’s atmospheric “One More Last One” soared out of the nervy pop of “TV On The Gas Pump,” and “Quarry” was a set highlight, with its melody mildly indebted to The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” casting a blissful tranquility across the room. That is, until the set-closing doom of “Bull Believer” shut the show down at maximum volume. “We don’t do encores, we think they’re kinda lame,” said Hartzman. “So you know I’m giving this everything I got.”

And she did, and so did the band, as well as the sea of fans mixing it up on the floor. Check out photos from the concert below; Wednesday’s tour continues next week with midwestern dates in Chicago and Milwaukee — dates here — and they’ll return to Philadelphia in September to play the XPoNential Music Festival.

Tenci | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Attic Youth Center | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

All Dogs | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Wednesday | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Wednesday | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Wednesday | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Wednesday | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Setlist
Jun
17
Wednesday
Union Transfer
  • Hot Rotten Grass Smell
  • Cody's Only
  • Twin Plagues
  • Formula One
  • Chosen To Deserve
  • She's Actin Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)
  • Bath County
  • Billboard
  • TV In The Gas Pump
  • One More Last One
  • Handsome Man
  • Maura
  • Quarry
  • Feast Of Snakes
  • Gary's
  • Got Shocked
  • Fate Is...
  • Bull Believer
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