|Drug Church at Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia, February 11th, 2020.|
2020 was not a good year for live music, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic effectively ending social gatherings for the majority of the year. One of the last shows that I saw before the pandemic shut everything down was Thrice, Mewithoutyou, and Drug Church at the Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia. And while I love Thrice and Mewithoutyou, the main reason I was there was to see Drug Church. I had only just started to listen to them a few weeks earlier. They are a punk rock band from Albany, New York that combine aspects of hardcore punk with catchy grunge passages and muscular riffs à la Noise rock masters the Jesus Lizard.
The first music I heard by the band was from a live session they did on AudioTree Live. I was immediately taken by singer Patrick Kindlon's raspy vocal delivery, reminiscent of Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music. The song “Weed Pin” stood out with a melodic introductory guitar line and Patrick singing “First time in dress shoes, and you slip. New guy puts his thumb in the Petri dish.” And then the rest of the band comes crashing in after the wail of guitar feedback.
Patrick continues with:
“Son, you did some sloppy science.
Now the samples can't be trusted.
You've set this lab back years.
You've halted the march of progress.”
Those lines show some insight into the process of scientific research, where bad work really can call into question years worth of work. Science is built upon trust, and if you cannot trust the quality of someone’s work, it is worth next to nothing. As someone who has a career in the biological sciences, I was surprised to hear this nuanced take on scientific work, which most outsiders imagine only as white lab coats and erlenmeyer flasks.
The song goes on to speak about the frustrations of trying to make something of your life when you do not feel talented: “Hard to choose a career, when you're bad at everything.” I think those are words that everyone can relate to at least at some point in your life.
When looking at my Spotify play statistics, “Weed Pin” was one of my most listened to songs of 2020, both the studio version and the AudioTree Live version. The studio version is slowed down a little and Patrick’s vocals are smoother and more refined. I have read that the band spent a lot of time in the studio for Cheer, the album which features “Weed Pin.” The increased studio time allowed them to release their most polished record to date, which Patrick humorously refers to as their “sellout album.”
Buy Drug Church’s music here.