Paint It Black, Praise, S-21 Live in Philly (4/20/17)

Man, it’s been way too long since Paint It Black has played a show in Philly.  Last time they played their hometown, it was nearly 3 years ago on Mischief Night (the night before Halloween for all my non-Jersey/Philly peeps) where they played a secret show under a bridge.  Philly was clearly antsy to see them again, as tickets sold out very quickly for their return to the church.

I got to the incredibly hot and packed First Unitarian Church, and unfortunately I missed Soul Glo and Gouge Away, but got there right as S-21 was starting their set.


Photo by Marit Safstrom

I’ve never heard of S-21 before, but these Philly locals completely killed it.  Playing female-fronted hardcore punk with a bit of D-Beat influence and their lyrics bringing attention to oppression (their name S-21 is derived from the Khmer Rogue compound S-21, where many atrocities, genocide, and crimes against humanity took place), S-21 put on an energetic set.

S-21 is definitely a band that needs to be seen live, as their recordings don’t really do them justice.


Another band I haven’t heard of until this show, Maryland’s Praise played a set consisting of melodic hardcore.  A lot of the riffs in their songs reminded a lot of the early DC melodic hardcore bands such as Dag Nasty or Rites of Spring.  I was digging them, although I felt that the vocals fell a little flat and wasn’t very energetic.  However, I’ve since listened to their album and I definitely feel like the album is a better representation, and am thinking that it may have just been an off show for them.  That said I still enjoyed their set, and it’s good to see bands still playing that style of melodic hardcore… something that is pretty rare these days.

Paint It Black:

As I sit here typing this post listening to that shit stain Paul Ryan try and convince congress to vote to completely dismantle health care for millions, reintroduce pre-existing conditions for the benefit of a few rich fucks, and actually allow insurances to classify rape as a pre-existing condition… we need bands like Paint It Black more than ever (Update: it passed in the house).

Returning to their home town for the first time in years, excitement was in the air as Paint It Black took the stage in complete darkness as singer Dan Yemin spoke to the crowd on the current fucked up state of our country and how we have to keep fighting before breaking into Paradise opener “Election Day”.

Screaming along, pile-ons, and stage dives, Paint It Black has always thrown some of the most energetic hardcore shows, and their message of equality and fighting back resonates now more than ever.  The band played songs off most of their releases (heavy on Invisible, New Lexicon, and Paradise), with songs dedicated to both Philly and now defunct punk house Golden Tea House (where gang vocals were recorded on “Props For Ventriloquism”).

An incredibly solid and energetic set as always, it just felt right to be seeing them at the church once again.  Hopefully they will be more active now, as bands like Paint It Black are exactly what we need.  Inspiring people with their message to not just roll over and surrender, but to fight for every fucking inch before they take away our healthcare, our right to a free internet, and everything else they’re trying to rob us of.  Find your representative here and your senator here and give them a call.  Organize a benefit show and donate the proceeds.  If you can, donate to groups such as the ACLU. Go out and vote (mark the mid-term elections on your calendar’s now, as those historically have terrible turnout rates, especially for young people.) In the words of PIB, “Fight back until your last breath.”

Setlist (From what I remember):
Election Day
Pink Slip
Greetings, Fellow Insomniacs
Atticus Finch
The Ledge
Exit Wounds
Past Tense, Future Perfect
White Kids Dying of Hunger
Four Dead Venoms
Little Fists
Memorial Day
We Will Not
This Song Is Short Because It’s Not Political (I think they did this one)

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