The bitter cold didn’t keep the Dream Syndicate from bringing the rock and roll heat to Sellersville Theater on Friday. With joy and precision, the foursome, who returned from hibernation last year after not releasing an album since 1988, rocked the gorgeous Bucks County venue. Here are photos and four things we loved about the show:
1. The set was tight AF
The Dream Syndicate is a solid cast of new and old members, with Steve Wynn leading the way on vocals and guitar. Whether jamming with the newest member, Jason Victor—a total beast on the strings—on guitar or leaning in with bass master Mark Walton, Wynn is everywhere. Dennis Duck, with Wynn since the early 1980s, brings the percussive beat. Their sound, which transformed this usual seated venue into a half standing-and-swaying mass of blissed-out fans, takes rock, punk and jazz and fuses it into the sublime sound that still sounds fresh.
2. The new material sounds phenomenal
Last year’s stellar LP How Did I Find Myself Here? translates well to a live setting. “Out of My Head” is catchy, while show-closer “Glide” is a smooth and exhilarating transition to the outside world. The defining moment is the title track of the album, which is mostly a jazzy-rock instrumental, wading into aural territories rarely heard.
3. Luck of the east
The Dream Syndicate have played five times in the Philadelphia area since last May, which has given regional fans a unique chance to watch the evolution from those previous shows, when they played mostly older material, to this new tour that has seamlessly mixed more of the new with the old. Case in point: raging set opener “Halloween” and the otherworldly “That’s What You Always Say” played seamlessly alongside “Filter Me Through You” and the unexpected Buffalo Springfield cover “Mr. Soul.” This is a band constantly working to better itself—even when they’re already in top form.
4. Chris Forsyth was the perfect first course
The Philadelphia guitar virtuoso opened the show, playing alone and stunning the crowd with his visionary jams before being joined by the Dream Syndicate’s Jason Victor. Seeing one of Philly’s finest thrashing through a set preceding one of the best rock bands around made this an excellent early-2018 concert experience.