How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Stoop
Jeremy played “Pigs on a Wing” as a eulogy for The Stoop’s summer season on an acoustic guitar to an audience of five. The same group had arrived before the stage was adorned with amps and the ivy of guitar cables, so it was fitting that we’d be there for the wake in a sea of empty beer cans, torn setlists, “No Shame Game” cards, and the peeled away remnants of band stickers. In the concert’s graveyard, I was once again struck by the incredible scene that Marcos, Kacia, and the rest of the Stoop crew had created.
On August 27th, the final concert of The Stoop’s summer season was held in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania on a large, handcrafted porch that had been reappropriated as a mecca of local music. Marcos Sanchez and Kacia Gonzalez were already busy transforming Marcos’s backyard into a DIY music venue when I arrived in Blue Bell that day. Marcos paused for a moment, took shelter from the sun’s brutality, and stared out at the expansive backyard that would be filled with music aficionados, vendors and supportive parents in a few hours. He recalled how three years ago he’d organized the first concert at The Stoop. From the humble beginnings of that first show that featured Marcos playing in every band, Marcos and Kacia have made The Stoop something truly special.
Despite the threat of broken a string derailing their performance, the day opened with a tight, energetic set by New Jersey sci-fi surf rockers, We Are Gladiators of 2037. From there, first-time “Stoopgoers” were exposed to the deliberately eclectic line-up that Blue Bell’s DIY venue has come to be known for as BlÜmntl impressed the crowd by displaying their musical mastery. Fans of Snarky Puppy should definitely check this band out, and their inclusion on bills with Philly’s The Royal Noise makes a lot of sense.
Saturday was the first time that the experimental pop band, Misty Plum, visited The Stoop, but they quickly found a home with the “Stoop Kids.” It’s criminal how little Misty Plum music is on the internet, but hopefully that’s incentive for you to go see them live. A few of their songs reminded me of The Flaming Lips circa “Transmissions from the Satellite Heart”, but their sound is an assortment of genres and it will be interesting to watch these musicians evolve as a band.
When I first traveled to The Stoop I was shocked by how many people at the venue were fans of Primus. In my experience, Primus is not a well-known act, but the instant Percolator started playing “Sailing The Seas of Cheese”, people flocked to the front of The Stoop. Their set ended with Marcos joining them on stage for “Wynonna’s Big Brown Beaver.” Whereas, Percolator had reveled in the grime of Primus, the next band, We Have Ghosts, performed a powerful shoegaze set that displayed their deep understanding of tone.
The sun went down at The Stoop as my band, Duke Maroon, performed our typically silly set that culminated in Bandit vocalist, Gene Meyer, climbing on the stage, and yelling encouragement at the pit that had formed. We anxiously pulled our gear off stage in preparation for the performance by The Stoop’s home team and RockOn Philly’s August artist of the month, Stay At Home Dad (SAHD). I recall watching SAHD at Pi Lamb for their album release and thinking, “this band is going to be huge.” Once again, SAHD did not disappoint. Most of the crowd had seen the band numerous times, but the sheer joy they displayed during “Going Postal” and “War on Drugs” made it apparent that these weren’t just friends supporting a band, but a group that actively loved and embraced the music of SAHD.
At the last Stoop show in July, Marcos ended the night by announcing that Seoul Dehli would be headlining the next concert. Whatever expectations I’d possessed for Seoul Dehli going into the concert were destroyed as they delivered a set that featured tons of instrument swapping and songs that struck the perfect balance of musicality and infectious rhythms.
Near the end of the set, Marcos displayed how The Stoop differentiates itself from the regular concert experience by joining Seoul Delhi on stage wearing the wolf mask that has become an icon for SAHD and The Stoop. At most venues, such an act would not be allowed, but The Stoop isn’t like most venues. Instead, The Stoop is an oasis of artistry that exists not for money, fortune, fame, but instead for the sake of giving a home to local music and providing a place for audiophiles to engage. If you want to experience The Stoop, but don’t wait to wait until next summer, don’t miss their fall show on October 15th.