The Radio 104.5 Block Party series kicked off its 2014 season on Saturday, May 3rd at the Piazza with a fantastic line-up that included Chvrches, Cherub, and headliner, Phantogram.
The free concert series has become a favorite event for fans all ages over the past few years and it was evident from the moment we arrived at the Piazza that 2014 will be no different. The Piazza, and all of the surrounding businesses, were already jam packed with people when we arrived around 3pm. Despite the large crowd size, everyone from little kids to those 21+ in the beer gardens and bars seemed to be enjoying themselves on the beautiful summer afternoon.
After some brief introductions by the Radio 104.5 staff, Chvrches took the stage around 3:45pm to a roar of cheers. Addressing the crowd below (and those watching from the balconies of the apartments that frame the Piazza) lead singer Lauren Mayberry remarked that this was the first time the band had played in Philly and it hadn’t rained. With the weather this time of year always somewhat unpredictable, we were happy that the sun managed to fight off the clouds until well after the show was over (when it once again down-poured around 9pm).
Chvrches rocked out numerous tunes that have been in steady rotation on our iPod for quite some time, including ‘Gun’, ‘Recover’, and their biggest hit to date, ‘The Mother We Share’. The electro-pop trio was spot on with their performance and we really enjoyed getting to see them up close and outdoors.
Following Chvrches performance, and about a 35 minute break, it was time for Cherub to hit the stage. Cherub was in Philly about a month ago for a show at the TLA and had just wrapped up their U.S. tour. This was to be their last appearance state side before jetting off to Europe to wow fans across the pond.
Cherub’s sound is reminiscent of one of our favorite duos, Chromeo. Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber are best known for their hit ‘Doses and Mimomas’, but if you’ve rocked out to that infectious tune, yet haven’t taken the time to explore the rest of their catalog, you’re selling yourself short. Songs like ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘XOXO’ are certainly worthy of your attention and were even better when performed live on Saturday.
Kelly and Huber sure get their money’s worth hamming it up on stage and the theatrics are their performance certainly weren’t lost on us or anyone else with a clear view of the stage.
After another 30 minute break, Phantogram kicked off their headlining performance a few minutes after 6pm. Joshua Carter and Sarah Barthel were rounded out with two other musicians for the performance, making sure that all of the elements of their atmospheric pop sound were well represented.
Playing songs from their latest album ‘Voices’ as well as their 2009 album ‘Eyelid Movies’ and various EP’s, Phantogram commanded the stage with their captivating performance. Their psychedelic pop sound ranges from dark and haunting to uplifting and tracks like ‘Don’t Move’ and ‘Fall In Love’ will burrow into your brain and refuse to vacate.
The packed Piazza crowd soaked in Phantogram’s set with ease and when the show wrapped after 7pm it was clear that almost everyone had enjoyed themselves and the stellar offering of bands from Radio 104.5.
The main gripe on the day that we heard from fans was the lack of bathrooms. While Port-o-Potties were set up outside the Piazza, there were not enough of them and the lines took up to an hour to be able to use one. Aside from that, it was a great day filled with the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds that make the Radio 104.5 Block Party series once of the highlights of Spring/Summer in Philly.
[Photo credit: D. Jacob Miller Photography]
Please let us know what you thought about the show in the comments box below the photo gallery!
You can view additional photos in the gallery below (click thumbnails to enlarge):