I Need Sleep/Emperor X – Live At The Model Home, Philly

It would definitely take a lot for me to go out and see a house show at my dangerously ascending age but that’s exactly what I did a few Sundays ago. I featured I Need Sleep in a post a while back and they happened to be touring through the area. This probably would have been enough to get me off my ass but Chad from Emperor X was also along for the trip and I’ve been a longtime fan of his work so it became a bill of awesome.

Conditions were less than desirable at The Model Home (R.I.P.) – blasts of armpit and OE seething out its every corner. I’m guessing my friend and I were probably the oldest girl and guy, respectively, at the house. Several local bands played first, none of which I knew but all of them actually sounded more than capable in their respective field – mostly hardcore/mathcore to be exact. One of them (wish I had remembered their name) had a serious Minus The Bear vibe going on.

Now I pretty much had a strong inclination that I Need Sleep weren’t exactly going to lull me to sleep (‘natch) on stage. Reports on the interwebs (mostly via videos) cued me towards their previous stage antics and wardrobes. Somehow they managed to set up their heaping amount of weapons of mass distortion and chaos inside of a tiny 12x12ish bedroom. Keyboards, cornet (maybe?), 2 drum kits, electric violin and banjitar all contributed to the vaudevillian affair.

The first 30 seconds of the performance had me fooled into thinking the night might not end with a persistent hum in my eardrums. I should have known better. A pounding assault of noise bursted from the amps and for the next half hour the 7 (or 8) members of the band soiled the floor with their sweat – occasionally bringing their musical business up into the crowd’s grill. Squalls of trance-like skronk were followed by creepy call-and-response dirges. Cymbals crashed to the floor. Violin strings popped. It was very hard not to smile at the spectacle considering we were all cooing along to the Lion King soundtrack in the van during the pre-game show. Unfortunately it seemed like their set ended before it even began.

Shortly after the amps started their cooling process, Chad made an executive decision to play an intimate acoustic performance in front of a crowd of about 12 people, my being one of them. The lights were turned off and we all huddled around him on the floor while he belted out 6 or 7 of his classic pop gems. I can’t say just how awesome it was to experience his show in such a quiet, subdued setting and I couldn’t have been more pleased with his setlist – which included 3 of my favorite Emperor X tracks – ‘Speltier’, ‘Addison Aceh’ and ‘Sfearion’. He ended the set with a brand new song which he strummed out for his lady friend – on the other end of a cell phone. The perfect salute to an eventful night out on the town.

For the complete set of photos taken by the lovely Rachael Whitson clicky here.

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