We Went There: Sheer Mag at the Turf Club
It is easy to tell from listening to their music that Sheer Mag are the almost equal combination of lead singer Tina Halladay’s powerful howl and the band’s approximation of Thin Lizzy’s slashing guitar rock. Seeing the Philly band live Sunday night at the Turf Club drew that distinction even more clearly.
Standing above a box fan blowing back her multi-colored hair, Halladay command the stage at the Turf Club and belted out the band’s song, ranging from classics from their first handful of 7″s to a large chunk of songs from their new LP. Behind her were a band that looked like if the characters from Napoleon Dynamite were reenacting Spinal Tap. The band’s dynamic, between the earnest singing and the almost-goofy guitar rock, was even more lovable when the visual was matched with the songs that we’ve all grown to love over the last few years.
Playing a fairly quick 45 minute set to a modest crowd, the band exceeded my expectations following a slight disappointment from their latest LP. It’s hard to not have fun when the band is emitting as much energy and gusto as Sheer Mag do, bringing all the best aspects of their sound to life on the stage. Like many bands in their periphery, if you feel like you may be losing the excitement you first felt when you heard them, see them crashing these songs out live on stage if you can.
Opening the show were two bands who ventured into adjacent genres as Sheer Mag, exploring the frayed edges of punk and rock and roll. Opening first were Tweens, a four-piece who melded sugary hook and power chords, creating snotty, garage-ish poppy punk. Of all the bands they are the one that seemed closest to creating songs meant for the radio. (Take that however you want..)
The 2nd band of the night were Empath, who ventured more into synth-y post-punk. Two keyboards clashed with guitar and drums, creating the thrashiest music of the night. Their sound was the most ambitious of the night, both sonically and in their songwriting, and their set was a searing and energetic highlight of the evening.
As has become custom at the Turf these days, the show started early (first band right at 8pm) and ended early (10:30ish), which is appreciated for those of us who have alarms set in the morning. Luckily the early set time and sparse crowd didn’t take away from the raucous joy of the night, and Sheer Mag (and their touring openers) showed they are more than equipped to keep the candle burning for this generations version of fist-pumping rock and roll.
See Jon’s full photo set from the show HERE.
Writer / co-founder