"Philadelphia Music Conference '97"

by Geoff Wilbur

Every year in late October/early November, music industry professionals and musicians gather in Philadelphia to network. In addition to seminars on the music industry, there are showcases featuring hundreds of unsigned acts. This year's Philadelphia Music Conference was held November 5th-8th.

I mentioned a lot of the great bands I caught at the PMC in the November Industry Edition. Other great sets of music at this year's PMC included...

I caught Love Seed Mama Jump at the North Star Bar. This band's light bubblegum alternative pop sound is performed TO THE FORMULA. This band would have many fans in any radio market around the country... most too young to get into bars.

Head rattled Upstairs at Nick's with a hard-driving alternative hard rock sound that should consistently fill clubs. The band utilizes somewhat psychedelic effects at times, though they aren't dominant.

Heavy, psychedelic, Beatles-esque rock act Love American Style was the first of two noteworthy bands I caught at the Balcony.

Loud, crazy Cleveland band The Revelers followed with heavy college rock with a hint of Ramones, in places. It was also fun watching the band's drummer, whose craziness resembled the Muppets' Animal at times.

At home in coffeehouses anywhere, the fun, eclectic, folky drum and guitar acoustic duo Water Planet, which I caught at a lobby showcase, was unlike anything else I heard at the PMC.

Rounder recording artist Ellis Paul had a daytime gig at Jack's Bar in the conference (Doubletree) hotel. Ellis played acoustic guitar while delivering powerful, emotional vocals.

Also playing Jack's Bar were two of the four members of Impulse Ride. The pair showed off strong harmonies and great lead vocals. The amount of energy displayed suggests an invigorating electric show, while the vocals make it work well acoustically. Of note, "Edge of the World" was a powerful, explosive rocker.

Also of note: Though I didn't make it to their showcase, Grand Rapids' Troll For Trout, one of the top acts to frequent East Lansing clubs, was among the bands showcasing at the PMC this year. Hopefully, in future years, we'll get more representation at industry conferences from top area bands, who are as good as the country's best.

Coverage of the other showcases I caught ran in the November Industry Edition -- I'll forego duplication for those who subscribe to both issues. Watch for Undercurrents '98 coverage after the Cleveland conference this May and PMC '98 coverage again next winter.

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