The 90’s flashbacks are continuing!! This time we are just outside Philadelphia at the famous Ardmore Music Hall as The Verve Pipe on tour supporting duels releases of a studio album, Parachute, along with their first-ever live album, Villains -Live & Acoustic. This band LOVES connecting with the fans, and this intimate venue was perfect location. Opening the night was Pete DiStefano of Porno for Pyros fame. Playing solo on stage can be intimidating, but not for Peter as he took what could’ve been just another ho-hum coffee house vibe to a galactic plane. Peter’s instrument of choice was an acoustic guitar, but as he explained with each new song, he introduced his (virtual) band. He explained that he had some wizardry behind his performance with a sampler, looping machine, and some interesting back tracks. Starting the set with a mix of PFP songs, mixing in some Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones tunes, you could tell Peter was getting into launch mode. Closing the set, he pulled out all the stops as the stage filled with all types of beats, vocals, and rhythms. Ending the set, Peter jammed an extensive solo turning his guitar into a sitar, while giving the wah-wah pedal a massive work out. By the end of his set, I felt like I just watched a musical workout, we have liftoff!
As The Verve Pipe took the stage, the crowd all move closer to the stage anticipating Brian Vander Ark to take us back. The Verve Pipe delivered a pleasant mix of old and new. As I stated before, this band loves connecting with the fans. The smiles were infectious as the music began. Lead singer, Brian Vander Ark provided the exact amount of storytelling throughout the evening. I love it when a band shares their own Behind the Music while performing. The band performed Wallflowers off the newly released album Parachute, which tackled the subject of bullying. The setlist also included their massive radio hits Photograph, Hero, Never Let You Down, and their 1997 #1 single The Freshmen as well as the song Colorful which was featured in the movie Rock Star starring Mark Wahlberg. Brian’s commentary on Colorful had the crowd laughing as he explained that the movie closed with Mark Wahlberg lip syncing to that song, and after the movie came out, people would approach him and ask why he was covering Wahlberg’s song? He also explained how their biggest hit was created. Brian said it took him about a year to complete the song. He was looking for a few more versus and a few more chorus lines. He said he was sitting around in his apartment and wastrying different lyrics, when he looked down at a rental VHS tape of The Freshman starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick. Bang! The title of the song. He then went on to explain the she was touching her face part of the lyrics, which he said was when he was again trying to figure out a lyrics, and he had the volume turned down while blankly looking at MTV which was playing The Divinyls, I Touch Myself video when it hit him. Treat yourself to a fun musical night as the tour continues through April 2018.
Coverage and Photos by Bob Linneman.