On their first North American tour in 15 years, NYC’s legendary post-hardcore practitioners, Quicksand, made a highly anticipated stop to Philadelphia’s Union Transfer venue on January 28th to the delight of a sold out crowd.
Opening the show was Staten Island indie-rock band Cymbals Eat Guitars, who continue to support their 2011 full-length, Lenses Alien. Cymbals Eat Guitars didn’t much make sense to me as an opener, but let’s be honest—any band opening for Quicksand in 2013 is probably not going to receive the warmest of responses by the crowd. And CEG certainly did not. As expected, in between songs, they were heckled at with comments like, “We want Quicksand!”. Singer Joseph D’Agostino was quite relaxed and seemed to know this would happen, and his response was simply “I hear that!” Regardless, I was impressed by Cymbals Eat Guitars. They played a great set of songs that reminded me of Pavement and Built to Spill mixed with a little Modest Mouse. They’d have been praised by any crowd at a Built to Spill show, that’s for sure. Their main strength was their very dynamic drummer, who incorporated auxiliary percussive elements.
Quicksand finally took stage next and absolutely exceeded expectations playing with crisp precision and unwavering energy, as if they had never stopped touring. This makes sense, considering the band was signed and released their two albums Slip and Manic Compression on major labels before disbanding in 1995 at the height of their popularity. With Marshall full-stacks and a five-piece drum kit in hand, just like it was the 90s.
Moshing ensued and pretty much everyone in attendance sang along until their voices were gone. Quicksand played the perfect set of songs and even covered my favorite Smiths song “How Soon is Now?”. The general consensus was that Quicksand hadn’t changed since the time everyone, “Saw them back in 1994 at City Gardens with Seaweed in Trenton New Jersey.”
QUICKSAND PHILLY SET LIST:
Head To Wall
Lie and Wait
Thorn in My Side
How Soon is Now? (Smiths cover)
Skinny (It’s Overflowing)
Words and photo by Jonathan Van Dine.