While I’ve seen Ceremony play in Philly multiple times over the years, their set at Union Transfer was the largest venue to date, especially when compared to the punk/hardcore staple in the First Unitarian Church. The floor was packed and the crowd was moving from tracks like ”Open Head” and newer tracks like “Turn Away The Bad Thing” and “Hibernation”. The lineup was assisted by two touring members in bassist Ned Russin of Title Fight and drummer Sam Bosson of Trash Talk, and the two had no problem filling out the rhythm section.
Guitarist Anthony Anzaldo often ditched his guitar in favor of a keytar while playing the newer tracks, and the catchiness that was captured on the recordings translated well live. Andy Nelson moved about the stage furiously pounding on his guitar with the same intensity he does while playing bass in Philly hardcore vets Paint It Black.
The diversity of the setlist yields greatly contrasted audience movement, whether the crowd was bopping or stage diving (shoutout to the super kick I took to the forehead during encore opener, “Sick”) The band even rocked a Gary Numan cover, and yes it was “Cars”. After a final burst of violence with "Kersed", the night came to an end and the sweat soaked crowd filed out back into the night.
Overall, Ceremony was firing on all cylinders and it was a great night of live music. Be sure to catch them on their remaining dates in support of Into The Spirit World Now, which is available now via Relapse.
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