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BEING THERE: Cheers Elephant

Photo by NOAH SILVESTRY

I have seen Cheers Elephant do their thing on stage twice now, and I can say for sure that these Philly natives bring more fun and light to a roomful of people than any other band I’ve seen in my 17 years on Earth. Their relocation to L.A. was nothing short of a tragedy to their Philly fan base. It was with a heavy heart that I wrote the following about their “Farewell For Now, Philadelphia” show back in November of 2013:

Between [frontman Derek] Kryzwicki bouncing around and doing the running-man and drummer Robert Kingsly, who had gotten engaged in the green room just before the show, putting on his best Dave Grohl, I don’t think there’s a group that performs with more cheerfully quirky flare than this one. Cheers Elephant, Philly is going to miss you.

True to my word, I sorely missed the band’s presence during the eight months between then and their Philadelphia homecoming at Union Transfer last night. Perhaps I even resented the move. But that’s neither here nor there. They opened up their set with the aptly titled (perhaps less so, lyrically) “Airliner,” a new track that could be described as the harmonic lovechild of Kansas and Badfinger with a little bit of Television in the double guitar solo, though I’m reluctant to make those comparisons. When I was hanging out with the band before the show, they told me that they prefer to have about as much semblance to their influences as you’d want tequila in your cereal, which is to say none. In typical cult-following fashion, the crowd was right on cue with the oddball opening lyric to “Party On Darwin,” screaming in unison, “Hey Yo! Let Me Wash Your Windshield!” as if car-cleaning compulsion had reached epidemic proportions. I almost feel like “Thought and Commonsense” was the evening’s high point, but other classics from Like Wind Blows Fire like “Doin’ It, Right” and “Leaves” fit into that sing-clap-dance-along breed of tunes that always kill live. Somebody started a “Nine more songs!” chant… after every song. And I’ll tell you what: if the show hadn’t been cut short by a lame 11:30 PM curfew, everybody in that room (myself included) would have moved and grooved (yeah) until the band ran out of songs to play. For the longest time I thought there was no better live band than Radiohead. Now, I’m not so sure. – NOAH SILVESTRY

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