On Monday night, four bands performed for the PhilaMOCA crowd, waking sleepy audience members from their exhaustion at the dawning of the week and giving them something to talk about. Adult Mom led the charge, headlining the night with a set of bubbly, pop/punk songs, a divergence from their more lo–fi and quiet studio sound. Steph Knipe, the creative center of the project, sings with sincerity, not unlike Petal's vocal strength, but with an added twang. Seeing them with a full band only added to the sound, melding several influences smoothly while conveying a singular sound. The night, however, was chock full of great bands, with enough in common to create a cohesive wall of sound throughout the night. 

Susie Derkins opened, led by Samantha Stoakes, the quietest of the bands that night (which is still pretty darn loud). Eagle–eyed comics fans may recognize that name from Calvin & Hobbes, and this Philly band evokes Susie's complex personality with upbeat, rollicking guitars and bass. A cameo from Philly local AllegrA on drums added some syncopation, while Stoakes' playful demeanor onstage helped to lighten up the mood in the room.

Photo: Sam Kesler Susie Derkins at PhilaMOCA

Long Neck followed, led by Lily Mastrodimos. Long Neck is what happens when everybody is giving 110% on stage, even though they insisted they were all sick (they were sick, but they were also sick, the good kind). Their set went so hard that the drummer broke his glasses, kept going, and still killed it. Their bassist also gave his all, not only providing plenty of variation in the lower tones but also putting in a good workout between all the lunges and leg kicks. From incredible solos, to killer hooks, to just plain screaming, they were by far a standout in the set—a band to be on the lookout for in the future.

Photo: Sam Kesler Long Neck at PhilaMOCA

Having to top a performance like that, Bad Moves rose to the task. With each member of the band on vocals, there was hardly a moment not filled with crushing harmonies, and those moments were filled with soaring guitars and punk rock rhythms. They took already energetic and magnetic songs and built them up to even greater heights.

Photo: Sam Kesler Bad Moves at PhilaMOCA

Finally, taking the stage late in the evening, Adult Mom began with their song, "Full Screen," a brief, upbeat tune with a hard edge from their 2017 album, Soft Spots, that dares to ask the question, "do you full–screen your porn?" They followed up with "I Think I'm Old Enough" and "J Station," slowly upping the ante with each track and incorporating the full sound of the five–piece band. Knipe led with an acoustic guitar, while Lily Mastrodimos from Long Neck was on lead guitar and Emma Jerk Witmer of New York's gobbinjr played keys. This blend of instruments and bandleaders created a strange coherency, and the group felt perfectly in sync. When Knipe would take a pause from singing, Mastrodomos would step in with an explosive solo here and there. 

Photo: Sam Kesler Adult Mom at PhilaMOCA

Adult Mom's set was relatively short for a headliner, but still found time for some of the bigger songs throughout their catalogue, including "Told Ya So," a song about self-discovery, and "Survival," which Knipe explained was about coming out to their family and how their relationship had change since it was written. After throwing in a cover of Dido's "White Flag" and a new track, they closed up the set with a performance of "Be Your Own 3am." Their set was touching, and a great way to close out the night of incredible bands, all of whom are sure to leave a lasting impression throughout the week, if not much longer. 


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