SHEER MAG + TENEMENT + GUN OUTFIT @ THE ECHO
Photos by Joey Tobin Words by Madison Desler
Between the tragedy in Las Vegas and the tragic loss of national treasure Tom Petty, it goes without saying that the music community is confused, weary, deeply saddened, and frustrated. Philly rockers Sheer Mag hit the stage at The Echo last night with little fanfare, but delivered a set chock-full of hot licks and rallying cries. With fury and plenty of muscle, they blew through their 70s, hard-rock repertoire, leaving little more than our somber feelings in their wake.
Fronted by wildcat Tina Halladay, Sheer Mag peddle a mix of fist-aloft protest songs and classic odes to romantic desire, all grounded by riffs that are guaranteed to make your AC/DC-loving dad whip out the old air guitar. Garnering buzz before they ever released an LP, they delivered big time with Need To Feel Your Love—an album loved by both the DIY-punkers and the uppercrust Rolling Stone set.
If head-banging to a song about the uninvestigated murders of female factory workers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico sounds impossible—think again. “Can’t Stop Fighting” delivers this message in a power-pop package that yes, you can actually dance to. Its stomping chorus took on a different meaning, that of “don’t let the fear win,” with everyone’s minds drifting to the events from earlier in the week
Halladay is everything—completely in charge the moment she takes the stage, staring down the audience and lunging at them like she’s psyching them out before a fight. In between wailing away with her sandpaper roar, she sloppily wipes her mouth on the back of her hand, giving the impression that she’s foaming at the mouth.
Highlights of the night included the riot-starter “Meet Me In The Street,” a call to arms inspired by Trump’s inauguration, and the discotheque groove of “Pure Desire,” which they prefaced with a very “Miss You” style intro before Hart Seely’s bass kicked into funk overdrive. The band is tight—the audio equivalent of a souped-up Camaro—and kept the pedal to the floor through favorites like “Fan The Flames,” “Just Can’t Get Enough,” and “Expect The Bayonet,” whose riff is completely irresistible and universally amazing.
Halladay only breathlessly muttered one sentence to the crowd for the extent of the set, but Sheer Mag’s music speaks for itself. They were called back immediately for an encore, delivering the booty-shaking groove of “Need To Feel Your Love” under the shimmer of The Echo’s two disco balls.
The show was opened by Gun Outfit and Tenement, a punk-flavored power trio that valiantly weathered a broken guitar strap to keep everyone awake for the headliners—everyone except that one girl that fell asleep on the banquette.