Rocking with Remo Drive

Written by Gianna Cicchetti

Graphic: Emily Lantzy

         My most anticipated show of the year finally came around on June 7th: Remo Drive’s headlining show on at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer. A New York City native, I traveled in order to see one of my favorite bands alongside one of my best friends who shares the same love for them that I do. We arrived only two and a half hours prior to doors, but we were first in line and were able to calmly walk to the barricade to get ready to see the band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Erik Paulson, bassist Stephen Paulson, and touring drummer Sam Becht.

         Promptly at 8pm, the lights dimmed and the crowd cheered for Wisconsin rock band Slow Bullet. The band played a decent amount of their hard-hitting tracks, including some from their most recent EP, Mercy in Your Touch. Though many were not all that familiar with their music, the crowd’s energy matched the band’s almost perfectly, headbanging and jumping around for the whole performance. The crowd was very open to new music, which is sometimes not the case at shows, so it was great to see. I’m grateful that Remo Drive decided to bring them out on this tour since they are deserving of more fans, and these shows have definitely made more people aware of their music.

         As the night went on, the crowd got even more rowdy and excited. Right before Remo Drive was Slow Pulp, a dream-pop band also from Wisconsin. Right away, the glimmering sounds from the guitars on stage mesmerized me, so I was hooked for the entire set. Their music was easy to dance around to, so much so that the two halves of the crowd started having an impromptu jumping contest in the middle of the set. The whole crowd, and even vocalist Emily Massey, laughed as a slow mosh took place in the middle of the crowd to the seemingly least-moshable band. Slow Pulp hypnotized the crowd with their lush and gorgeous music and their impact lasted even after, as everyone chanted their name for a few minutes once they left the stage.

         Once the band was prepared, the decorative lamps scattered on the stage were lit, the Amy Winehouse playing over the speakers faded out, and the headliner ran onto the stage. From the first second of “Art School,” everyone was ready to let loose during Remo Drive’s set. I have always loved the entire band’s stage presence, and that didn’t change at this show. Anyone can tell how passionate Remo Drive is about what they do just from their many jumps, kicks, brotherly moments between Erik and Stephen Paulson, and overall energy on stage.

         I had seen the band once before as a support act last year, but their headlining set a year later reminded me of how much the band has grown as musicians and how glad I am to be a fan of theirs. With the new tracks, Erik was able to show how multi-faceted his voice is, and the driving bass lines Stephen carried the performance with only sounded better than ever before. I had never seen Sam Becht play live before that night, but his energy and playing style made him so much fun to watch.

         The band played the entirety of their newest album, Natural, Everyday Degradation, along with several fan favorites from their debut, Greatest Hits, and their EP, Pop Music. The new tracks had been received greatly by the crowd; when I looked around, I saw so many people singing along to lyrics we’ve only had in our headphones for a week! Not one person in the room stood still. The entire crowd was participating at its fullest, especially during the older tracks, screaming and finger-pointing to some of the most iconic lyrics (aka the entirety of “Yer Killin’ Me,” the final song of the night). Being that there was a barricade, there was none of the typical stage diving usually seen at their shows, but many crowd surfed and moshed the night away. Some of the highlights of the night for me were “Strawberita,” “Dog,” “Mirror,” and “Eat Shit,” but every minute of Remo Drive’s set was full of excitement that never ceased. The band even did a two-song encore after hearing our “One more song!” cheer, playing a total of eighteen songs. Every note of the set was perfection to my ears.

         Remo Drive puts on an amazing live show, making their songs sound even better than the studio versions. I walked out of the pit in a fully euphoric state, feeling very sore from being up against the barricade, but still smiling. Definitely check out the next few weeks of the tour if it is coming near you, but if not, put Natural, Everyday Degradation on loop and get ready for the next time they tour!