Rosetta talk about Philadelphia renaissance, give top 5 things to do there

Posted by on June 9, 2015

In recent years, Philadelphia has been undergoing a musical renaissance. While the town has a rich musical heritage from Gamble & Huff and Hall & Oates to Cinderella and The Roots, the increased venues and an influx of newer indie rock bands like The War on Drugs and Waxahatchee inspired a long Stereogum piece yesterday (that quotes The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Liam Wilson). Rosetta has been crafting their brand of post-hardcore in Philly for the past 12 years. With the band’s new, self-released album Quintessential Ephemera, coming out on June 22, we asked the band on their thoughts of how Philly has grown since they became a band. We also asked them what the best things to do are while in Philly. You can follow them via their Bandcamp here.

It seems like Philly is producing a band a minute the last few years. I think Psychic Teens is great and I’m glad they’re getting heard more. Our longtime friends Restorations have been getting a ton of much-deserved recognition lately. They’re part of a larger movement of newer Philly punk and garage rock bands that are blowing up lately… Hop Along, Cayetana, and Modern Baseball come to mind. That’s not all stuff that we’re into or connected with, because we’re getting old and we’re jaded metal dudes, but it’s really nice to see bands from here doing well. It’s weird because when I was in high school in the late 90s I thought of Philly as a much more hardcore and metal-oriented town, as typified by the dominance of Relapse (and associated nearby labels like Escape Artist and Level Plane).  It was also a much worse place to live 15 years ago than it is now, and I wonder if some of the softening and brightening of Philly’s ‘sound’ has to do with the city getting a lot better in general. It’s a livable place and it’s affordable, and if you’re a musician, that’s what you need.

But really the biggest and most positive change, beyond any one band or style, is the VENUES we have now. It’s crazy. When I was younger, it was the First Unitarian Church, The Khyber, a basement, or one of a couple of super-corporate venues. That was it. It seemed like it was a struggle for venues to stay open booking legitimately interesting and challenging music. Now it seems like no matter what size place, nice venues are everywhere around here. Boot and Saddle is a great place, Union Transfer is one of the nicest venues of any kind I’ve ever been in, there are still shows in the First Unitarian sanctuary, and we have places like Underground Arts, Kung Fu Necktie, Johnny Brenda’s… the list goes on. And new ones are opening all the time. It’s amazing. 22-year-old me wouldn’t have believed it.

Top 5 things to do in Philly:
– Eat. Seriously, best food for the money anywhere in America. I’ve toured everywhere, I’m not joking.
– Ride a bike. The city isn’t claustrophobic, you can get anywhere, pleasantly, on a bike. I don’t own a car.
– Stay home. Housing’s more affordable and spacious here, so if you’re not paying $1500 a month to live in a closet, you can actually have your friends over. A lot of them.
– See live music. Cheaper shows in nicer venues than New York.
– Be an angry, self-loathing sports fan. Throw D-batteries at Santa Claus.


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