Philly fans don’t have a history of being the most forgiving. Just ask Santa Claus. But locals, Dave Hause and Beach Slang had a homefield advantage. Hause, along with the headliners Beach Slang, played with a raucous intensity at their homecoming show at the TLA earlier this month, the culmination of a successful four-month stretch that took them across the country and up into Canada.
Hause, Philly born and bred, but now living in Los Angeles, even broke out his faded Eagles shirt for the occasion. Along with The Mermaid, the band he pulled together for this outing, he played a remarkably spirited set from start to finish. Hause, promoting his latest LP, Bury Me in Philly (naturally), played a deep range of material from his latest, including the title track, and pulling from his first two records, as well. The album, appropriately enough is a love letter to Philadelphia.
As if the accent and shirt weren’t local enough, on the song “The Mermaid,” keyboardist Kayleigh Goldsworthy took to the front of the stage to play the melodihorn, an instrument best associated with Philly’s own, The Hooters (the only thing more local would have been a tray of Rita’s Water and some soft pretzels passed around to the crowd).
The crowd sang along to every word and a humbled and gracious Hause was clearly enjoying every minute of it. “In 1991, I got to see one of my heroes, Joe Strummer, in this very room,” he said. “I got to see The Mighty Mighty Bosstones here. This means a lot.”
He and the band quickly moved into “Dirty Fucker,” after giving the song a proper introduction: “This song goes out to the president of the united states and all of his angry cronies.”
Toward the end of the set, Hause played a blistering version of Tom Petty’s “Won’t back Down,” before ending his show by thanking everyone there. “Ten months ago, we started this and we had no idea how it would turn out. We’re going to end this set the way we started the year,” and then the band kicked into “With You.”
When Beach Slang took to the stage, walking out to AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” it was a more raucous vibe. James Alex, in his now trademark ruffled tuxedo shirt, bow tie and velvet jacket, stepped up to the mic to address the crowd early in the set: “It’s the last stop on the tour and we feel great. The other night, I got really drunk and swore I wouldn’t do it again. And then Aurore (Ounjian, the band’s new guitarist) got me loaded again today.”
For a band that has made no effort to hide their love of The Replacements, (a group known for playing many of their shows drunk), it seemed an apt move on their part. And doing nothing to move away from those influences, Alex asked the audience what they wanted to hear.
“’Bastards of Young’ (a 1985 Replacement’s track)?” Alex echoed back. “We can play that.” And they did.
Beach Slang leaned heavily on songs off their latest, A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings, but one of the loudest response they got was when they played “Dirty Cigarettes,” off of one of their earliest EPs. They closed out the night playing “Punk or Lust,” another song that clearly had the crowd’s approval.
Both bands played solid sets, but Hause, more focused and sober than the headliners, easily played one of the finest shows for the locals.
Top photo by Tara Redavid