JR’s Bar is in South Philadelphia but not in the South Philadelphia you are used to.
JR’s is far removed from the brewpubs of East Passyunk Avenue and Newbold and it is nothing like the trendy getting-drunk spots of Queens Village. This bar is old, authentic alcoholism at its best. It has dirty, dark carpeting that one could probably pull up with their bare hands. It has no taps and only sells its beers by the bottle. Its upper-level beers, Yards Brawler and Newcastle Brown, cost as much as a Corona with lime: $4.50. It has Slitchz by the can, but it also has lesser-known Slitchz knock-offs like Sugarloaf and Tailgate. Its real clientele, working poor in their 40s, all left the moment us dipshits showed up for our show.
In short: JR’s is a real and true dive bar, possessing all the danger and slime of the distinction. It is a perfect place for a punk show.
We played with A Little Affair (who one guy very accurately described as “power-pop” with an emphasis on ‘pop’), Coral Teeth (who will likely become my new favorite local band, though I am intimidated by their young and sexy fan base) and The Original Marta (xoxo).
The show went pretty well, considering we did that thing where we don’t practice before playing. Here’s the set list and the important details:
- Molly (That’s right, we opened with Molly! People like it because they don’t know what it’s really about and it has a chorus that gets stuck in the head. Whatever.)
- Cub Scout
- Straight Edge Irony
- Song in the Sea
- Bob Segar’s Old Time Rock and Roll (Dance Remix) (I have GOT to find a better name for that song)
- Philadelphia is Burning (What up, the Percentages)
- The Best Punk Band in the World
The crowd was pretty good and seemed suited to punk music. People said we were good afterwards, which was nice. My voice got shot in the middle because I yelled too much.
- While walking in the area before the show (I used to live somewhat close to the bar and was familiar with how low-down it is), I encountered a man who was either a drug addict near the bottom or a new-homeless. He told me he was “clunked out” and I told I couldn’t help him. He laughed and I walked away, but I’m still not sure a) what “clunked out” means and b) if I said the right thing.
- About an hour later, Science Club went to a nearby 7-Eleven to buy ice cream and that Clunked Out guy was yelling inside the store about how much beef jerky costs now.
- Ice Cream Count: Science Club had a milkshake before the show and an ice cream sandwich after the show.
- Some girl screamed at us to play Screeching Weasel during our set, which I took as a compliment. Joe and I joked afterward that I should have punched her then played “99,” in true Weasel fashion. In other news: Ben Weasel, right?
- Science Club and The Original Marta danced a whole lot during Coral Teeth’s set. We are the best dancers.
- Also during Coral Teeth’s set: you know that stereotypical situation that one will always bring up when commenting on youth / hipster / modern counter culture? The one where person A has a much-too-fancy camera that they use to take Instagram-stlye photos and person B poses with one hand on their forehead, chin sticking out, striking a vogue-like pose that is both totally ironic but not ironic at the same time, like the gesture suggests “I’m above this and making fun of it,” despite the fact that person B obviously want their photo taken? THAT SHIT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN FRONT OF MY EYES. Come on, young people. We can do better.
- Caroline tried to take some photos of us during our set but she did a horrible job.
We are playing our last show for a while at The Grape Room in Manayunk this Wednesday. After that, it’s full eyes, clear hearts on recording Success.