I saw Pope this past June at the Skid Row Garage in York, PA, and they pretty much immediately blew my mind.
It was my first time at the garage, and to all of a sudden hear this fucking powerhouse of a band launch into their set in a tiny garage in York was mesmerizing. I think it was the first time I actually felt ‘transported’ at a live show. Sometimes I would regain my self-awareness and notice that I was moving my head uncontrollably to the music, and it felt right.
Everything works with this band. They are extremely tight, and I remember thinking exactly that as I saw them. The riffs are catchy as hell, and the drums back them up with precision and intensity.
The song Red on Known Weed Smoker stands out with powerful vocals and urgent guitar and drums reminiscent of Joy Division. Maybe it’s what would have happened if Ian Curtis and J Mascis had collaborated.
When I saw them, I remember noticing their pedal boards, which play a key role in their sound. The riffs are fuzzed out to the max creating some sort of heavy melodic explosion all while retaining that precision.
One last memory I have from that show is that the guitarist and bassist switched instruments mid set and declared that we had now reached ‘part two’ of the performance. I just found that really impressive especially because there was no noticeable shift in the sound or precision.
This show basically opened up a whole new world for me. I hadn’t really come across this sort of sound before but have since discovered many other bands who share some similarities. They are on the label Community Records (out of New Orleans), which has an abundance of good shit and is very worth checking out.
As I said before, that was my first show at the garage, and it could not have been a better introduction. Hopefully Pope will be back in this area sometime soon to blow more minds.