Sunday, May 14th was a big day for Philly. Not only was it night 3 of Taylor Swift’s Philly weekend extravaganza, but it was also game 7 of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics matchup and, more sentimentally, Mother’s Day. Forces were working strongly against any other activities being held for the evening. This didn’t stop fans of New York pop rock band, Against the Current, from coming out in support of their Nightmares & Daydreams tour with openers Trophy Eyes and Yours Truly at Union Transfer that very night, proving Against the Current is a strong force to be reckoned with.
The perfect way to describe the band’s presence was revealed during their second song and 2022 single, “Wildfire.” Doused in deep red light, the band moved about in powerful strides, an ignition of energy setting everyone in the room ablaze. The fiery nature of their performance continuously reigned true with tracks like “Blood Like Gasoline” from 2016’s In Our Bones, a song whose larger-than-life sound boomed through the room and set fire to a sea of clapping hands and bouncing arms on its mission to move everyone physically and emotionally. Vocalist Chrissy Costanza kicked, hair-flipped, and danced around the stage all in the matter of mere seconds. Like the band as a unit, she was a flaming force to be reckoned with.
Costanza was a fierce frontwoman, but her interactions with the rest of the band proved every member was key to building this creative outfit. She frequently paid a visit to drummer Will Ferri at the back of the stage, jumping what felt higher and faster than before when meeting face to face with his drum set. In these connective moments, it was as though she was being re-fueled by his spirited drum slams.
“Does Philly like David?” Constanza inquired about bassist David Whitmore. “He’s a lot to handle, people get starstruck by him. Look at his smile!” Before we knew it, a ‘David’ chant swept the room. And what’s a band without some 6-stringed electricity? We had guitarist Dan Gow to thank for that.
Midway through the set, the band took a moment to reminisce over the time they had put into making Against the Current what it became. “We’ve been a band for 12 years,” Costanza stated. “We got signed really young and lost the band along the way. The next song is the 1st new song we released independently.” In an empowering reclamation of what was supposed to be theirs all along, the band burst into “blindfolded,” an angst-tackling track representative of breaking through the ceiling, being able to stand on your own, and succeeding with flying colors for doing so. Like a breath of fresh air, “blindfolded” was freeing and motivating.
The newly liberated nature of the band made their decision to revisit the past prior to their signing with a label all the more heartwarming to watch. “These next songs go out to our OG fans. These are from our first EP, Infinity,” Constanza announced. The band went into the title track from this 2014 release along with “Another You (Another Way),” two sonically fun and bubbly songs that felt appropriate in celebrating their deserving, weight-off-the-shoulders independence.
Despite the professional hardships the band once faced, an optimistic essence within them prevailed live. Ultimately when it came down to it, the band presented themselves as a bunch of fun-loving goofballs eager to interact with those that made the choice to support them in their love for music.
Costanza playfully conversed with the audience throughout the band’s set in a much-appreciated light-hearted tone, an important ingredient in the Against the Current live show recipe. Questions like “Where shall I get my cheesesteak from after the show?” and “Does anyone dip their fries in ranch?” became invested conversations between the band and the audience whose members screamed impassioned food-based opinions. A venue with barriers set between band and fan quickly transformed into a room full of people participating in banter like friends. Against the Current managed to foster a warm and welcoming arms-open community, one that created the perfect feel-good concoction made to fulfill its members: support and a good laugh.
“If you’ve ever commented mommy on my photos, where are my flowers?” Constanza also joked in lieu of Mother’s Day, but not without taking a moment of sincerity. “My mom is here tonight,” she warmly shouted out. “Make us look good in front of her.” By the end of the night, it was evident the band had wildly accomplished this goal.
As the end of the night drew near, Costanza called on the crowd to make the last moments of the night count. “This is it. This is all we have left together. Sing these words back to me, I want you to mean them,” she commanded before everyone willingly followed suit in one final expression of energetic dedication. Thanks to the encore demanded by fans before the band even had the chance to exit the stage, it was safe to say that everyone not only made those last moments within the venue count, but that the memories made from the night would continue to be cherished as a keepsake of proof; that there is power in being wholly and authentically yourself.
Show Date: 05.14.23 | Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer | Against the Current Sets Philadelphia Ablaze