Philadelphia has a plethora of music venues, including Wells Fargo, The Met, The Filmore, and Union Transfer. All offer a variety of views to buy tickets and different capacities, but for the past couple of Saturdays I have attended Union Transfer and have to say this may have been my favourite.
In July my friend and I decided to do what I call a “gig swap”. There was a concert she wanted to see on October 15th and needed someone to accompany her and I had one I wanted to see on October 8th. Although we weren’t much into groups, we agreed that these would be interesting experiences.
Union Transfer is a general admission-only location, which means everything is standing, with no fixed seats. There are however two fenced platforms on the left and right sides for an elevated view. If you are 21 and over, there is also a balcony on the upper level for an even higher view and access to the bar.
Union Transfer usually welcomes more upcoming artists as it is a smaller venue with a capacity of 1,200, but has featured major artists such as Cigarettes after sex, and girl in red. I also consider affordable tickets ranging from $25 to $40. For my two gigs, it was $57 total.
As this is general admission, you need to get there hours before the doors open to get a good view. For both my concerts, the doors opened at 7:00 p.m. and the show started at 8:00 p.m., so we decided to leave around 4:00 p.m., which brought us to the venue at 5:00 p.m. Although waiting 2 hours might seem like a drag, it’s very convenient to order food from one of the surrounding restaurants and eat it while you wait. I recommend Juno; it’s right across the street, easy to order online and has an amazing quesadilla. Queuing is also a fun opportunity to talk to people around you and find out basic information like why they like the artist, or even more personal aspects like where they go to school.
As for the artists we have seen, The garden and spacey janeboth were extremely entertaining beyond just hearing their music. The garden, made up of twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, hails from Orange County, California. Their genre is experimental or art-punk with a range of songs that are certainly unique. Extremely booming guitar and drums facilitated an insane mosh pit that I comfortably saw from the standing platform and didn’t have to deal with the jostling of people. spacey jane consists of four members Caleb Harper (vocals and guitar), Kieran Lama (drums), Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu (guitar) and Peppa Lane (bass guitar). Hailing from Perth, the capital of Western Australia, their band’s genre is alternative and indie rock. The gig featured dazzling lights and fun moments, like the drummer taking his Be-Real photo with the crowd, asking in their delightful Aussie accents if anyone wanted to come out and show them around Philadelphia after the show.
All in all, I highly recommend seeing an artist at Union Transfer, even if it’s not an artist you know or like very much. It’s a great way to hang out with friends, meet new people, and enjoy affordable live music after the 2020-2021 pandemic shutdown.