Apollo Creed – Philadelphia – The Balcony @ The Trocadero, PA – 2002-11-15

Apollo Creed
Where: Philadelphia – The Balcony @ The Trocadero, PA.

When: 2002-11-15

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve seen Alabama Thunder Pussy and Sixty Watt Shaman a bunch of times now. I already know that I enjoy both bands and that each generally gives a stellar live performance. My opinion of this show is definitely based on having seen both before and knowing what they’re capable of. This was one of the rare nights that I actually had to cough up money to get into the Troc, which I wouldn’t do if I weren’t completely interested in the show.

I’m usually not big on opening bands I’ve never heard before, so the man and I purposefully arrived at the Balcony at about 10:30 p.m. just as the second band, Apollo Creed, was finishing their set. They were loud, but what else can I really say about them after only hearing two of their songs? There was a good crowd already there, which is surprising for the Balcony – the small upstairs bar of the much larger Trocadero.

Sixty Watt Shaman promptly took the stage and slammed right into their set. The group is an odd-looking collection of guys. The singer/guitarist has the stoner look down pat, the bald drummer was wearing a sports jersey, the bassist is a bald, bearded, and tattooed Viking looking guy, and the lead guitarist looks like a quiet college kid. Despite their vast differences in appearance, when they start playing I can’t imagine them as anything else but a complete group.

Sixty Watt really grabbed everyone’s attention, and it quickly became clear that this was their night. Everything seemed to come together beautifully – the solid backend, the perfect prog-metal guitar, and the powerful vocals. The singer with his bobbing and gesturing and the bass player with his jumping and wild thrashing were the focal points, and it’s always great to see a band that physically gets into their music instead of just standing there like rocks. The addition of the singer’s guitar on some of the songs really gave the music a grittier, dirtier feel than the absolute precision of the lead guitar alone. As a whole, they blew the crowd away.

On this night, Sixty Watt Shaman had more energy than I’ve seen before. Maybe it was the release of their new album that gave them the rush, but more likely it was the crowd. You have to understand that most Philly audiences at rock or metal shows generally just stand there and occasionally bob their head, but this time people were singing along and really moving to the music. The effect was absolutely electrifying!

I think seeing Sixty Watt Shaman would have been enough and everyone there would have walked away completely satisfied that their $10 was well spent, but Alabama Thunder Pussy was still to come. ATP has become pretty popular in Philly on the small club scene; at the least, their shows always get a great turnout and the audience always seems to enjoy the show. Unfortunately, tonight just wasn’t their night. Yes, ATP gave their set a ton of effort, but the vocals were off (blame that on the Balcony’s sound system) and the crowd just wasn’t into it. Maybe they had spent all their energy on Sixty Watt Shaman, but the crowd really began to thin about four or five songs into ATP’s set and so did I.

Sixty Watt Shaman and Alabama Thunder Pussy are bands not to miss, particulary if you enjoy hard, stoner, or progressive rock and the like. This night belonged to Sixty Watt Shaman, which is at no fault to ATP at all. I think Sixty Watt Shaman has gotten big enough that they could easily headline shows at places like the Balcony. Regardless, both bands are well worth your hard earned money to see live if they come through your town.