Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Brooklyn-based retro rockers Earl Greyhound played Olde Club on Saturday night, to great success. “During a recent Earl Greyhound show, one audience member turned to another and said, ‘Why aren’t they signed to a major yet?’ ‘They’re still playing,’ his friend quipped.”
That little gem appeared in the New Yorker last year: although Earl Greyhound is still signed to the indie label Some Records, watching them play in Olde Club on Saturday night, it was hard to understand why.
The Brooklyn based quartet Pora! Pora! opened the night with a healthy dosage of “emotronic” garage rock. These rockers were energetic and clearly had a lot of fun on stage, but perhaps weren’t quite as good at transferring energy to the crowd. It seemed like the band realized that as well: the lead singer asked at one point, “Do you guys get enough sleep?” On the whole, though, they were an enjoyable and very enthusiastic opener.
After a break during which most of the crowd wandered outside, Earl Greyhound stepped on stage and, without warning, launched straight into their hard-rocking act. There were some initial problems with the volume on the microphones — leading the guitarist to announce, “I will not be silenced!” — but it hardly hurt the band’s booming energy, which I would call face-melting were it not so cliché to do so. Armed with long haircuts and outfits reminiscent of the 70’s artists to whom they are so often compared, Earl Greyhound had the crowd moshing more than once, and one girl even crowd-surfed briefly. (She was set down before this reporter could fumble his camera out, unfortunately.)
Apparently, Earl Greyhound’s tour van crashed in January. (No one was seriously hurt.) Their reaction? “ROCK ON EARTH PEOPLE!!” That’s exactly the vibe that they sent off live. When they left the stage the first time — after the drummer threw two sets of drumsticks into the crowd — the crowd demanded an encore, and an encore they got. I suppose he had a third set.
After the show did finally end, though, I went downstairs and bought a CD, which I’m listening to right now. Unfortunately, Earl Greyhound doesn’t translate quite as well to the studio, which is undoubtedly the reason that they haven’t yet “singed to a major.” Don’t get me wrong: it’s a solid album. But it can’t compare to the energy of a live show. Artists almost never succeed on the strength of their live performances alone, so, unfortunately, Earl Greyhound may never reach Next Big Thing status. But, as the same New Yorker review said: “Whether or not Earl Greyhound are the Next Big Thing is irrelevant—watching them will convince you that they are.”