The Glorious Sons are already a big deal in their native Canada. This group of guys is poised to take over the U.S. rock n’ roll scene as well!
We’ve seen The Glorious Sons a couple of times before. It’s always been either on a side stage at a festival or as an opener. Each time we see them, the crowd – and their enthusiasm for the band – grows. In fact, when we saw them open for Welshly Arms last fall, about half the crowd was clearly there to see The Glorious Sons instead of the headliners.
The Glorious Sons are currently on tour in the states, playing headliner shows at tiny venues like Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. We were able to snatch up tickets before the show sold out. What do you get from a headliner show from The Glorious Sons in a tiny venue? Keep reading to find out!
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As you know if you follow my blog, I go to a lot of shows in Philadelphia. Unbelievably, I have never been to a show at Johnny Brenda’s. I’ve been in the iconic Philadelphia bar a couple of times for food or drinks, but never to see a show.
Johnny Brenda’s is located in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. What was originally just a neighborhood bar, has now turned into a bar/restaurant/music venue that attracts some great live music – both local and national.
When you walk in downstairs, you think that you’ve walked into any other neighborhood bar. Take a walk upstairs, however, and you’ll find a great live music venue that holds about 250 people and has a state-of-the-art sound system!
Tip #1: There is parking on the street available near Johnny Brenda’s. However, particularly on a Friday or Saturday night, parking can be hard to come by. Parking on Frankford Avenue is free if you find a spot. Be sure to pay attention to the signs. Also, be aware that the trolley comes down Frankford Avenue, so be sure to park close to the curb. If the trolley can’t get past your parked car, you will be towed.
Tip #2: Johnny Brenda’s is a bar, so it is completely 21 and over. There are no exceptions – even to see a show.
Tip #3: The kitchen is open every day from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. So, it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat either before or after a show.
Tip #4: You can buy tickets to shows on-line through their website. However, if you want to save a couple of bucks on fees, you can also buy tickets directly from the bartenders downstairs. Note that this option is cash only!
Tip #5: The entrance to the upstairs music venue is separate from the entrance to the downstairs bar/restaurant. Enter the music venue off of the Girard Avenue side of the building. Have your ID ready to be checked, then proceed up the stairs.
Tip #6: When the show is sold out, the room can get pretty crowded. We found that a great spot to watch the show was from the upstairs balcony. We landed a spot right on the balcony railing, which gave us a bird’s eye view of the stage. There is another bar upstairs too. It did get pretty warm up there, so be prepared for that.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
JJ Wilde is from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Her first single – “Wired” – was released on February 1st.
JJ Wilde took the stage at 8:00 p.m. The stage at Johnny Brenda’s is pretty tiny, so it was a challenge to fit all five members of the band on stage. The drummer had to move some stuff around to crawl behind his drum set.
JJ Wilde is definitely full of energy. Her hard rocking songs got the crowd into the music. While she is definitely a “rocker”, she still has a strong voice.
This was JJ Wilde’s first show (and visit) to Philly. She told the crowd how she had gone across the street to get a cheesesteak and a shake, and that it was delicious.
The third song into her set was her new single “Wired’. Wilde told the crowd that she was really excited about the single.
Towards the end of the set, Wilde covered Kings of Leon hit “Notion”. Wilde said that Kings of Leon was one of her favorite bands. I thought Wilde really did justice to the song. She put her own twist on it, and the crowd loved it. The cover gave the crowd the chance to sing along.
Wilde is on the road supporting The Glorious Sons through the middle of March. You can find out more about Wilde on her website.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Liily is made up of four 19 year olds from southern California. The band members are Maxx Morando (drums), Sam De La Torre (guitar), Charlie Anastasis (bass) and Dylan Nash (vocals).
Liily started out playing house parties and warehouses to packed crowds of teenagers. Their energy and the intensity of the music is perfect to get the crowd tearing the place up right next to the band.
Liily’s debut single – “Toro” – features a head banging beat, heavy guitars and lyrics that go along with the intensity of the song. Their debut EP – “I Can Fool Anybody In This Town” – will be out March 8th.
Liily is loud. In fact, as they were getting set up for their set and tuning their instruments and sound checking, I had to put my earplugs in.
Liily is also a little crazy. Their bassist – Charlie Anastasis – has a huge head of curly hair and he thrashes around the stage while playing. In fact, I wasn’t even sure how he was playing, he was thrashing around so much.
Liily is also young. When you play a bar that’s 21 and older and you are underage, you get big “X’s” written on your hands in marker so the bartenders know you can’t drink.
For me personally, some of Liily’s songs were just too hardcore. I found them to sound more like a bunch of loud instruments being played than actual songs. In fact, the instruments were so loud, I could barely hear Nash’s vocals.
There were a couple of songs that I really enjoyed. They actually sounded like put together songs to me, and not just a bunch of guys jamming on stage. While they were still edgy and hardcore, they had a melody that you could catch onto.
Liily is still very young. I can see why they are a big hit in their local house party scene. They have a ways to go to developing into a legitimate band that gets the attention of a bigger audience. It will be interesting to see where this band ends up.
Liily is also supporting The Glorious Sons on their tour. Check out their website for more information and to keep tabs on them.
THE GLORIOUS SONS
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Glorious Sons are from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The band is made up of Brett Emmons (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keys), Jay Emmons (guitar, vocals), Chris Koster (guitar, vocals), Adam Paquette (drums, vocals) and Chris Huot (bass).
The band formed in 2011 and released their first EP – Shapeless Art – in 2013. The EP contained the single “Mama”, which had some commercial success in Canada and resulted in the band signing with Black Box Music. After signing with the label, they re-released the EP and the single “White Noise”, which reached #2 on the Canadian rock charts.
The Glorious Sons released their first full length album – The Union – in 2014. The album was produced by John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews. Their second full length album – Young Beauties and Fools – was released in October of 2017. The album won the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year.
Brett Emmons wrote most of the songs on “Young Beauties and Fools”. Brett quite school in 2013 to join the band. Since that time, the band toured (and partied) pretty heavily. Brett has admitted that his drinking started to cause issues, and the songs on the album are about his battle with alcoholism and his self-discovery as he basically “grew up” as the lead singer of a band.
After working on the album for 18 months and not really getting anywhere, The Glorious Sons brought in the production team of Fast Friends. After listening to some voice recordings on Brett’s phone, the band got inspired and wrote the album in 12 days and recorded it in 14 days.
The Glorious Sons took the stage around 10:00 p.m. A few of their dedicated fans had been holding their spots at the front of the stage since 7 to get a front row view of the show.
Brett came on stage barefoot and wearing a Harlem Globetrotters jersey under his track jacket. They had their keyboardist with them, so it was a definite challenge to fit them all on the tiny stage.
The Glorious Sons opened with “The Union” and “Godless, Graceless and Young”. They then went into “My Poor Heart”. I really love this song because it starts out slow, but goes into a pounding chorus and gets everyone jumping!
If you’ve been to one of The Glorious Son’s shows, you know that Brett loves to make a connection with the audience. And, when I say “make a connection”, I don’t mean look at the audience while singing. It’s very typical for Brett to be in your face during the show.
Brett was forehead to forehead several times with a couple of people in the front. At one point in the show, he even grabbed the glasses off a lady’s face, put them on for a few seconds, and then took them off.
Brett also loves to be on top of his band mates – particularly guitarist Chris Koster. He hugs them, leans on them, and almost tackles them throughout the show. There were a couple of times on that tiny stage that I thought someone (or something) was going to end up falling off.
The show itself was fantastic and fans loved every minute of it. On the set list on this particular night was “Mama”, which was their first hit and my husband’s personal favorite. It was the first time we had seen The Glorious Sons play it live.
Throughout the show, Brett had the packed room singing along, including on the chorus of “S.O.S”.
The Glorious Sons wrapped up their main set with “Ruby” and “Everything Is Alright”, which was another big crowd sing along. After a quick break, the guys returned to the stage to finish off the night with a cover of Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and their original “Kill The Lights”.
Once again, The Glorious Sons put on a fantastic show. I’m glad we got a chance to see them at a tiny venue like this, as I have a feeling the next time they come to town, they’ll be moving up to something like the TLA or The Fillmore.
The Glorious Sons are on the road through the middle of March. They’ll actually be making a quick trip back to Philadelphia this weekend for the NHL Stadium Series. They’ll be playing a free show in the parking lot prior to the game, and then they will be performing during one of the intermissions to a nationally televised audience.
The Glorious Sons will also be hitting the festival circuit this summer. Be sure to check out their website to see when they will be in your area.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): The Union, Godless, Graceless and Young, My Poor Heart, Mama, Panic, S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun), White Noise, So Much Love To Give, Josie, Hide My Love, Shapeless Art, Sometimes On A Sunday, Ruby, Everything Is Alright Encore: Praise You (Fatboy Slim cover), Kill The Lights
Have you heard of The Glorious Sons? How about openers JJ Wilde or Liily? What do you think of their music? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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