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/// Philadelphia Grand Jury
Philadelphia Grand Jury has always been two friends: Berkfinger and MC Bad Genius. Between these two childhood buddies of some 20 years one observes a strange, tedious and sometimes very complicated relationship that always manages to somehow end up in a smart and ruff pop song. Do they even like each other? No one really knows.
Berkfinger hadn't seen Bad Genius for going on 6 years when one day last year the curious bearded fellow just strolled into one of his solo shows with a bass and plugged himself right back into the singer's life.
These two childhood buddies have since had a rotating ensemble of drummers – until now. Joining Berkfinger and MC Bad Genius is 54 year-old African American drummer ‘Calvin’, who used to session drum for US disco and funk acts like Earth Wind and Fire and bebop legend Sonny Stitt. Together, the trio have been writing, recording and touring their own indie punk soul hits around the country and winning fans everywhere they go.
The Philly Jays (as their fans affectionately refer to them) are according to critics, a "must see before you die" kinda band. Their live show has taken them to all corners to play live, literally spending more weeks on the road than off. Yet even amidst all of that touring they have managed to squeeze out a self-funded, self-produced, self-engineered and self-released hit LP on their own label called Normal People Making Hits. The LP – named “Hope Is For Hopers” (unreleased outside Australia) peaked at #34 on the Australian commercial album charts and at #1 in the independent charts (where it still sits in the top 5 six months after release).
Recorded by vocalist / guitarist Berkfinger on a shoe string budget of less than $3,000, “Hope is For Hopers” displays the engrained Do-It-Yourself nature of Philadelphia Grand Jury at its best. The album features 12 tracks that capture the raw energy and songwriting prowess that has given the Philly Jays live show the life to turn audiences all over the country on any given night. The album is a testament to the simple idea that great songs and a cracking live show are all that it takes to make the world stand up and pay attention. Just reference the plethora of live reviews singing the praises of their show- stealing sets as proof.
/// Steel Trees
Playing with a joyous confidence, it is obvious that they are extremely well-practised, each has faith in the others ability to get the job done, which they do with some aplomb. The drumming is frenzied yet tight, the bass drives like bass should, and the faultless guitar never fails to amaze"
"Mixing 90s grunge, 70’s groove with an alt.rock lilt to their gait they made for a perfect opener. They are clearly tuned in to each others rock frequencies with each never looking for a reassuring look from another band member - and more importantly never apologising. Heads down. Horns up. If pushed, I guess you could say that the Yorkshire boys could appear dated but I think it is just testament to their approach to music and their far-reaching influences. Kings of Leon they aint and all the better for it."