Food Court

Food Court and Edgar Clinks taken from @foodcourtpvd instagram

After not having been to a show for two months, I finally happened to come across what looked like an interesting one in Harrisburg.

Food Court is a band from Providence, Rhode Island who just completed a tour with Edgar Clinks (also from Providence). Their final stop was in Harrisburg, PA, so after hearing their album on Bandcamp, we (all two of us) felt compelled to attend.

The venue, a small coffee shop called Little Amps, was packed with people, and it felt fantastic to once again be surrounded by bands and live music.

Food Court played second after a local band called Porklord opened up with their very first set ever.

The first Food Court song I listened to after discovering them was Dog, so it was very exciting when they began playing that. It’s a slow song at first with quiet vocals that give way to a lot of noise from the guitar.

This band does a good job of incorporating noise into what is often a melodic approach. Singing duties seem to be shared throughout the band, but on Dog they are tackled by guitarist Lily Zwaan in a soft and intriguing manner.

Gravel also begins with soft vocals that are then followed by a loud guitar. Food Court plays a lot with dynamics and uses them very skillfully. Their songs often explode and progress into experimental guitar meanderings that never stop being interesting.

The song Sour interests me partly because of the lyrics that focus on the isolation brought on by current technology. The line “Kept awake in the dark on the internet” is sung by drummer Mikey Bullister in a tired and jaded tone. “We grow and die but leave a mark on the internet” discusses this generation’s relationship to technology in a way I have not heard anywhere else. The loud guitar also periodically gives the bass room to be heard, which is something I always enjoy, so that makes it even better.

Bullister then sings “Keep your head up you sour dog. Live your life inside a fog.” It’s always exciting to hear a song address something that is not often mentioned. I interpreted the “keep your head up” part as advice coming from an older generation that faced much different circumstances than we do. Finding a job and just communicating in general have changed significantly in a few decades.

Living one’s life inside a fog seems to relate to those two things. Many of us can’t see where we’re headed, and it often might look as though we’re headed nowhere as we sit in the dark on the internet trying to figure things out and trying to keep in touch with people through the haze that is social media.

The name Food Court itself evokes a familiar setting in which we have grown up. We have been living much of our lives in environments designed and maintained by massive companies who have no real personal concern for their inhabitants. The food court is emblematic of our time because of the lack of connection between the customer and the business owner and the sharp focus on profit that it suggests.

The technological innovations that were supposed to advance our society instead attempt to force us into a consumer mindset and give us the illusion that we are connected to our peers when we are really just sitting alone in the dark. To come across a band that actually discusses these circumstances is very meaningful.

They are also just a really great band who seem to have found their own sound. They put on a great show in Harrisburg, and hopefully they can come back to this area soon.