I was super looking forward to this one, maybe a little too much. The songs I'd heard of Purling Hiss up to that point reminded me of a mix between Ty Segall and JEFF The Brotherhood. Hello beautiful! And I do love Monarch as a bar and as a venue or just as a living room.
We headed to Monarch fairly early and that was actually a good move. We didn't have to wait long before the band started. Just as a word of advice to you, you know. Monarch tends to start earlier than say West Germany or White Trash Fast Food. Be earlyish at Monarch. The room was nicely filled, albeit not packed. And the attendees of tonight's show were of surprisingly varied musical background: indie kids, elderly rockers, you name it. Interesting.
Purling Hiss, the Philadelphian trio surrounding mastermind Mike Polizze, are a rock outfit but have been known to add unconventional elements to their rock, hence my above comparison with groups like Ty Segall. If you listen to their singles online, you get just that: rock, with a relatively poppy beat and some breaks you weren't expecting.
Ha, none of that live. From the moment they entered the stage, they just rocked out hard. It was basically a classic rock show, including the guitar posing, long locks waving, ageing rockers at front of audience headbanging. And Purling Hiss were so very good at that, which turned into a conflict for me. I appreciated how good they were and how much they were putting into it, but unfortunately, I'm not a classic rock enough person. So those songs I knew, the more commercial ones I guess, that I had heard online, were just my thing and I really loved those. But the rest was like: wow, these guys are really good but they just don't really play my kind of music.
Nevertheless, I had a brilliant time. That's partly because of Monarch as a venue, too. One entire wall consists of windows that face Kottbusser Tor and the stage is built in front of the wall that stands at an angle to those windows. Ok, that's kind of hard to explain without a floorplan. But the point is that passing people can look up from outside and see the band perform. And that's exactly what happened. Purling Hiss were rocking out and passer-bys, the police, homeless people were standing outside, looking up and smiling at the performance. So I was watching the band but I was also watching the non-paying audience outside and marvelled at how much fun they were getting out of this. It was just altoghether a relaxed and fun affair with rock music as the theme.
We didn't stay for the encord but joined the onlookers outside for a minute before we headed home, where we got early and content. A nice evening, yes.
If you want to find out more about Purling Hiss, there are really sweet pieces on them and some listening samples on Daytrotter and on Altered Zones.