Friday Surprise: Eight and Scrunchies at Green Line Cafe

Each semester, I pick a new coffee shop to work, hangout, and (of course) caffeinate in.  This semester, Green Line Café on 44th and Locust became my go-to spot. I love it not only for its potent cold brew, but also its cozy, homey vibe that reminds me of doing work at the kitchen table.  Last Friday, I discovered a new function of the space: music venue. Ten minutes to closing, the café transformed into something reminiscent of a DIY house-show basement, complete with rainbow string lights and Coors Light tall boys scattered across the tables.

The first band to play was Eight, a group of three musicians based here in Philly.  They played a short but highly energetic set; the songs were full of slamming bass lines, crashing drums, and a surprising amount of rhythmic intensity.  

Next came Minnesota-based punk-grunge trio Scrunchies, who absolutely tore the house down.  “You guys can get closer,” said lead singer Laura Larson after the first song ended, “but no pressure.”  The sound emanating from the speakers was plenty powerful to carry to the back of the café (and, undoubtedly, down the entire block), but that didn’t stop show-goers from inching towards the magnetic energy exuding from the band.

The pinnacle of the set came during the penultimate song, “Nice Try,” which is a relentless gust of sheer force that grips you by the gut and commands your entire focus.  Drummer Danielle Cusack should be given an Olympic medal for her incredible display of athleticism; the speed at which she struck the kit was unbelievable, and more than that, it sounded great.  

The set ended on “Wildlife,” another jolt of energy that settles into a 6/8 groove midway through without losing any of the intensity it starts with (thanks to bassist Bree Meyer’s efforts).  As the band started breaking down their equipment, the audience began filing out, empty beer cans in hand. And, akin to the DIY basement whose aura it mirrored, Green Line settled back into its natural, quiet state.