It’s been a few years since I’ve last seen California’s powerviolence turned post-punk band Ceremony. When they announced that they would be playing two shows at Philly’s PhilaMOCA (an interesting, intimate space that once served as a showroom for mausoleums) I knew it would sell out quickly so I grabbed a ticket for the first night.
I’ve been a fan of Ceremony ever since I first saw them open for Paint It Black back in 2009 and their albums Violence Violence, Ruined and Still Nothing Moves You easily became some of my favorite hardcore albums around. If you’ve been following Ceremony at all, you know that they’ve changed their style up, slowly with the release of Rohnert Park which was a bit slower yet still heavy and very much a hardcore album, and then abandoning their powerviolence sound for a post-punk one on both Zoo and The L Shaped Man.
Video by youtube user markit aneight
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when seeing them. I completely respect them and their change of style, it’s their band and at the end of the day they can play whatever the fuck they want, I’ll be the first to confess that I don’t really like Zoo or The L Shaped Man… it’s not bad by any means, but it’s not really my thing. Since it’s been a few years since I’ve seen them, I wasn’t really sure if they completely abandoned their early hardcore songs from their set.
The band took the stage and kicked things off with “The Separation”, their single off of The L Shaped Man, which had plenty in the crowd bouncing up and down singing along and actually is a pretty tight song. Ceremony answered my doubts immediately about if they still play hardcore, following it up with their Red-C cover of “Pressure’s On”. The place completely went off, and there were a decent amount of people who only knew their two latest albums who were shocked by this. Ceremony sounded as tight and ferocious as ever as they ripped through a relatively quick set of around 35 minutes playing plenty of both newer and older songs alike with the majority coming from Rohnert Park. A tight set, it was awesome to catch them again after nearly 3 years of not seeing one of my favorite bands.
Pressure’s On (Red-C cover)
I Want To Put This To An End
Into The Wayside Part I
Your Life In France
The Lines In My Forehead