By DAVID KLEINMAN
For 21st Century Media
If a relaxing evening of light music suits your mood than the triple-header May 17 at The Rusty Nail might not be quite what you’re looking for.
However, if experiencing three Philadelphia born-and-bred acts tearing up a stage sounds more like your cup of tea then by all means, do jump in.
“Normally if by the end of the show we have people not just crowding the stage but people on the stage with us singing the song, really the whole room singing the song together, then that to me is the old-school benchmark of ‘Yeah, this was a good show. We did what we came here to do’,” says The Admiral, who serves as lead guitarist, vocalist and ‘naval ops’ for Bronze Fondue.
Better described as an experience than a concert, Bronze Fondue makes their ‘country music from the future will there will be no country music’ accessible to first-time listeners with sing-a-long stylized lyrics, on-stage costume-wearing characters and plenty of good-natured audience participation.
“We want for people to see that we’re having a great time and we also want people to see that we take it seriously, that we’re committed to it, that we know our parts. They can sort of look at that swagger, it puts them at ease and they realize ‘We can have fun because they’re in control and they’re having fun,” The Admiral said.
That control of audiences is a craft well-nurtured by time and experience. Long before joining Bronze Fondue, The Admiral, then known only as Jake Smith, once dreamed of playing The Nail with his Haverford high school band Mr. Eliminator, who coincidentally will be co-headlining the evening’s festivities May 17.
“When I went to Haverford there’s one particular band that Mr. Eliminator used to battle at ‘Battle of the Bands.’ I remember they were sort of (considered) as a really cool band because they actually recorded a CD. At the time that was unheard of.
They were underage and I don’t know how they got in, I guess if you’re playing music it’s alright but I couldn’t go to see it and I just remember driving by The Rusty Nail and seeing the band’s name up there and thinking at the time ‘God I wish I could see Mr. Eliminator’s name up there.’ I don’t know if they’re going to give us the marquee treatment but that would be a really big kick for me to see that.”
If Bronze Fondue is given the star treatment guitarist/vocalist Huck DeMilo hopes management will consider adjusting the prices of pizza and beer to the 10-cent slices and dollar drafts that he remembers thriftily engorging on in his youth. Whether it’s the edibles or the audibles that brings locals to The Nail it’ll be an appearance engulfed in a hazy nostalgia for the Phoenixville native.
“I don’t have a lot of memories at The Nail,” DeMilo said with a chuckle. “I had a lot of good times at The Nail and I’m sure I saw bands there but basically all I see is a blur of colors and some shouting.”
Here’s to hoping Bronze Fondue’s upcoming performance is one not to be forgotten. After the suburban Philadelphia born-and-bred art rockers made a name for themselves in the prestigious New York University circle thanks to their resident piano-playing professor Bronze Fondue has kept primarily to The Big Apple’s city limits. Emotions run along the gamut for the band as The Admiral and DeMilo prepare to leave their homes in Manhattan and Long Island Beach for their hometown crowd.
“It’s gonna be great, this is our first Philly show,” The Admiral said. “Just from my own experiences being in crowds and seeing shows in Philly I think that they’re a little bit hungrier and a little bit more engaged than New York audiences, people listen more and kind of connect more.
They’re not hanging at the show with a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out), thinking ‘I could of gone to this club, I could of gone to this things, done this.’ I think sometimes in Philly people allow themselves to have a bit more fun. Not to say that New York crowds are uptight but I think Philadelphia crowds are a little bit more ready to listen than New York crowds, sometimes.”
After listening to The Admiral’s explanation DeMilo playfully raised aspirations of their Philadelphia reception, casually announcing “Well, so much for the following that we once had in New York.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Bronze Fondue
WHERE: 2580 Haverford Road, Ardmore.
WHEN: May 17, 10 p.m.
INFO.: Call (610) 649-6245 or check www.thenail1.com.