Review: Prince Daddy Starts a Chemical Fire at Bottom Lounge

I’m going to start this review by being totally up front with all of you Prince Daddy & The Hyena fans out there with your pitchforks and knives at the ready, I went to this show mainly to see Drug Church (and Anxious) and so the section of this review dedicated to Prince Daddy might not be as long and thorough as you’d like it to be but hey, I did know their song “Really?” going into the show and they played that!

Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, can we talk about how insane this tour package is? Despite me knowing only one Prince Daddy song, I certainly knew of them and their impact on the post-hardcore scene going into this show. I got to know Anxious in 2022 with the release of their incredible debut, Little Green House, and so I was pretty psyched to see what kind of energy they would bring to the stage. However, when it comes to a band like Drug Church and me being an incredibly biased reviewer, what can even be said about them that hasn’t been echoed by literally anyone who has heard even 10 seconds of one of their songs; they are simply legends.

I, along with probably most people in the audience, had never heard of Philadelphia’s Webbed Wing before Friday’s show. However, I, along with probably most people in the audience Friday night, left being a massive fan. They had a much more prominently indie rock sound compared with the three other bands on the tour, which made for a refreshingly unique set of sounds more firmly rooted in bands like early Nirvana and classic Local H than Blink-182 or old Green Day. They played a number of guitar-heavy songs from their 2021 record, What’s So Fucking Funny?, and even some newly released 2023 material like the song “Sure Could Use A Friend”, a wonderful mid-tempo alt-rock cut with some tasteful twangy leads played over a rhythm guitar tinted with just the right amount of despair and regret. I’ve been listening to Webbed Wing more than any of the other bands since Friday’s show, which should be an indication that maybe you should also take some time to listen to them soon and see what you’ve been missing.

If you were to run into the boys from Anxious at a random CVS in Fairfield, Connecticut, you wouldn’t expect them to all be in one of the best touring post-hardcore/pop-punk bands around. To say that they crushed it Friday would be a massive understatement. You could tell from all the crowd-sourced balloons that suddenly appeared out of nowhere right before they took the stage that the crowd excitement was palpable and dare I say anxious for Anxious. Maybe it was the fact that they’ve apparently played Chicago and the Bottom Lounge about five thousand times since the beginning of 2022 so you could say they really knew how to work a Chicago crowd to their advantage because my, oh my, do these guys know how to handle an audience.

From the second they went on to the last note of their last song, the pit, crowd surfers, and stage divers were all more alive than ever and it’s not hard to see why when you’re touring an album like Little Green House. They opened the show with “Your One Way Street”, the opening cut from that album. It set the crowd off and instituted an energy that would only grow stronger as the show grew older. They continued on with many cuts from their debut like the melodically intoxicating sing-a-long that is “In April”, the outright aggression of “Speechless”, and the post-breakup lovelorn blues of “Call From You” while still managing to throw in a somewhat newer cut like “Sunsign” and an old classic, “Small”, for good measure.

Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve been to church. I don’t go as often as I should but I only really started taking note of the Drug Church gospel late last year with the release of their newest album, Hygiene. However, I’d venture to say that I’m not too far gone. In fact, the second that lead singer Patrick Kindlon walked on stage and the band tore into “Grubby”, the opening track to their monumental 2018 record, Cheer, I was officially born again. The sermon continued with “Super Saturated”, one of the best tracks for their newest record, Hygiene, and a song that is as effortlessly bouncy as it is stupidly catchy; a common theme of the hardcore-tinged indie style that makes Drug Church so beloved.

The band mostly focused on their 2018 record, Cheer, with only a handful of offerings from Hygiene. However, it wasn’t only album cuts that night as the band pulled out two of their best and brightest EP hits with the 2021 track, “Bliss Out”, and the all too familiar existential ramblings of the 2015 classic, “But Does It Work?” The rowdiness of the night only grew exponentially with the Drug Church boys at the wheel throwing out performances of rippers like “Unlicensed Hall Monitor” and “Million Miles of Fun” that caused as much head trauma as they did smiles. In the band’s final minutes on stage, they gave the crowd exactly what they wanted by closing their set with the hallowed classic, “Weed Pin”, a song that sparked such excitement and aggression in the crowd that I lost my favorite pair of glasses when a stage diver inadvertently introduced his boot-protected feet to my face. However, if I had to lose my glasses to any one song at any one concert, you damn well better believe I was glad it was “Weed Pin.”

Okay, so here comes the portion of the review where my expertise is solely limited to the fact that I happened to be in the same room as Prince Daddy for about an hour and heard some songs, saw some crowd reactions, heard some unexpected South Park banter, and had a pretty darn good time. There were a few musical highlights for me as an observer, such as their mega-ripper of an opener, “***HIDDEN TRACK***”, taken from their 2015 EP, Adult Summers. I heard this song once before and even though I liked aspects of it, it never struck me as a song I could see myself listening to a bunch of times. However, live? This song ripped my face off and suffice it to say, I garnered a whole new sense of respect for the song. It did help that it was played about 200% faster live and all the electronic drum parts that take up the majority of the studio-recorded song were done on a live acoustic kit, which only added to the songs’ overall pop-punk aggression.

The only Prince Daddysong I already loved going into their show was “Really?” from their 2016 album, I Thought You Didn’t Even Like Leaving, and it only sounded better live. The energy with which they play their songs live is second to no other band to the point that the songs sound like completely different monsters on stage with the crowd acting as the fifth Hyena. Towards the end of their set, they surprised us with an uproarious cover of the 1997 Blink-182 classic, “Dammit”, a song that I didn’t even realize was a cover until I tried cross-referencing the lyrics with Prince Daddy songs after the show and ultimately stumbled upon Blink. Let’s just say that I have not only a new appreciation for Prince Daddy & The Hyena but also Blink-182, and that wasn’t something I was entirely expecting from this show. Then again, I wasn’t entirely expecting to get my glasses incinerated, but here we are and look how far we’ve come!

Lorenzo Zenitsky
Lorenzo Zenitsky

Lorenzo Zenitsky is a Chicago-based software engineer, amateur bedroom metal musician, and a semi-frequent drinker of coffee but only if it's iced. If he's not admiring his terrible Simpsons tattoos in a gently cracked mirror, he's usually at a local show vibing to great tunes and abhorrently priced beer. $15?! Get outta here...

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