"The band walked off stage in the middle of the set..."
This is every concert-goer’s worst nightmare. The booing crowd for Kanye West’s early finish at the Meadows NYC festival last week highlighted this perfectly.
Monday night at Morgantown’s 123 Pleasant Street venue left fans feeling a bit differently though. When veteran touring act JEFF the Brotherhood jumped in the crowd mid-performance, it wasn’t to end the show, but to hug the promoter who had booked them last time they came through and graciously allowed them to crash on his floor afterwards.
Beautiful moments like this are what sets apart shows at the historic venue. The small space is perfect for intimate gatherings that feel more like hanging out while old friends rehearse in their basement than anything tied to the hustle and bustle of the music industry proper.
On the bill Monday was a freshly formed local act by the name of American Teeth.
Rising from the ashes of the well-loved emo act Ghost House, Teeth is a garage-pop trio of established Morgantown artists Geoff Minnear, Mason Fanning and Stephen Schrock.
Although this was their first outing as a group, playing on stage was nothing new for them and it clearly showed.
The precision and energy of their performance filled the venue with resonating vocals and beautiful melodies. The set ended in the most DIY way possible when Minnear broke two strings and kept jamming on what he dubbed his new "electric banjo."
The loss barely carried in their sound, but cemented the performance as a visceral display of the true Morgantown rock and roll spirit; it was hard to find anyone in the crowd who wasn’t thoroughly entertained by the end.
Their highly anticipated debut album is scheduled for release in November of this year.
Up next was JEFF the Brotherhood’s tour-mates, Music Band. The trio’s Jeff Rosenstock-inspired tunes felt polished, but the band’s overzealous performance felt a little too forced. It was technically sound, and didn’t spoil the mood set by American Teeth, but it was nothing to write home about.
Finally, JEFF the Brotherhood came on around 11 p.m. The duo of brothers (neither named Jeff) had an unassuming look to them that perfectly matched the feeling of their music.
The sound of the performance could be compared to the Melvins or early Nirvana, with sections of drawn out sludge used to break up the powerful hooks.
Despite the small size of the Monday night crowd, an amazingly fun mosh pit broke out, complete with crushed cans of PBR littered across the floor. The headliners kept the vibe of their set jovial and communal with several interludes of unplanned crowd interaction.
The performances at this show shined, but the real star of the night was the prevailing feeling of brotherly love and inclusion people have come to expect from a show at 123 Pleasant Street.