WRITTEN BY: BRITTANY RIZZO
PHOTO BY: JEREMY MEGLEN
It’s a Wednesday night in Philadelphia as Hannah LaRocca lugs her guitar case up Broad Street. Crossing Broad & Montgomery, she passes the case to her boyfriend Jeremy. They greet each other and set out on their ten-minute trek to Diamond Street. The night is unusually hot and the thought of packing into a crowded, air conditioner-less basement is a not a fleeting one.
Trailing ahead, she lights up a cigarette, confessing that pre-show jitters are all consuming. “I’m always like this before I go on,” addressing her anxieties about the gig. “I don’t want to do it, and then once it’s over I’m glad I did.” With that, LaRocca tosses her cigarette and finds herself at the Trash House. Appearing cool and collected, she heads inside.
“The show is suppose to start at 7:30, but we’re going to push back the time — I don’t think people come to house shows when it isn’t dark outside,” she is told by a house member. LaRocca was left waiting on the sun and her anticipation prolonged.
Admittedly, I shared her anticipation. LaRocca’s four song EP, “The EP!” (https://lazyeyephl.bandcamp.com/releases) has been a personal favorite since its release on April 4. Dubbing her music “cigarettecore,” LaRocca has perfected the dreamy essence of lo-fi indie pop under the name Lazy Eye. A queer solo act out of Philadelphia, the entire EP is a feat entirely written, produced, and labored by LaRocca. For me, getting to hear “Phillip Morris,” Lazy Eye’s quirky, angsty, anthem was enough to wait all night.
Playing with New York’s Dolly Spartans and TOP Nachos, LaRocca was in good company. As the sun finally set and show goers began trickling in, Lazy Eye, the one woman, show was set to start.
“Hi, I’m Hannah and uh, that’s it,” LaRocca spoke into the mic, giving a short, but sweet hello, letting her set do the talking. “Saddurday,” a haunting indie song backed by raw lyrics was the first song of the Lazy Eye set. The dreaminess of LaRocco’s voice coupled with her melodic guitar captivated an entire basement of onlookers. Following was “I’m Just Scared,” an equally as dreamy song that amplifies Lazy Eye’s lyrical catharses.
With the momentum of the show in full swing, Lazy Eye took a break from playing originals and capitalized on the crowd’s fixation. LacRocca performed Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.” The bluesy, funk undertones of Lazy Eye’s instrumentation were center stage and the crowd was appreciative.
Lazy Eye powered through the set, sharing a never before played song, “Naive.” Lyrically, LaRocca bared her soul, walking the basement through a journey to self love and empowerment. “I don’t need your validation,” LaRocca sang to the the strum of a twinkly guitar. Nods of approval validated the rawness of the song and Lazy Eye drudged on.
“This is the cigarette song,” LaRocca declares as she introduces the final song of her set. This was met with claps of excitement. Cigarettecore came full circle and the basement was smitten. The pre-show jitters and adrenaline fueled anxieties were diminished.
Covered in sweat and swarmed with claps, the gig was worth it and seeing Lazy Eye made for a happy Wednesday.
Lazy Eye is at Coda June 21. Be there.