WRITTEN & PHOTOS BY: Zach Rineer Instagram
When HOTBED took stage at the Foundry on Thursday night to open for Andy Frasco and the U.N., all eyes were on them. Though the venue is small, HOTBED’s raw sound and energy carried all the way to the back of the room, infecting audience members with head bobs and dance moves.
The four-piece, that formed at University of Delaware back in 2016, may be new to the Philly scene, but they are no strangers to rocking out. Having played numerous shows throughout Newark and Dewey Beach, Delaware in addition to a tour along the east coast, HOTBED creates a unique blend of psychedelic rock with blues riffs, while also incorporating smooth melodies that will be stuck in your head for days following. With the killer solos and passionate vocals of guitarist/singer, Jake Wipf, added to the illustrious keyboard melodies of pianist, Kevin Kruelle, parred with the groovy bass lines and articulate drumming of Jonathan Diehl and James McKenney, the band presents a sound that is unlike any other, and is something that needs to be experienced live to fully appreciate.
The guys opened their set with the more guitar and bass heavy, “Florence”, getting the audience eager and ready for more. Immediately following was “Diddly Doo”, a more piano and slow guitar oriented track that offers a more relaxed and chill vibe and has a melody that sounds familiar, but is entirely new in and of itself. Influences from the likes of The Doors are more prominent in the style of Kevin’s key progressions on this track and a few others in this set. While keeping conversations very brief between songs, HOTBED still manages to maintain an active and high energy stage presence that connects to the audience. The guys not only are fun to watch but are having fun while doing their thing.
While the band is very instrumentally oriented, Jake doesn’t shy away from mic, bringing out a bold and loud rock voice, with range that will surprise audience members. Jake’s vocals and lyrical talent are more apparent on tracks like “Badman”, a song about being notoriously recognized as the bad guy or troublemaker, but simply being misunderstood as those are just the habits that you live out on a daily basis. HOTBED’s music has an overall theme of trying to get on to your feet and find your path in life, similar to the guys in the band itself, as they are working hard to make their way to the top in the Philly music scene. HOTBED closed out their set with a series of bangers. The song, “Diggin”, starts out slow before breaking out into a full on jam halfway through the song, with Jake absolutely shredding it on the guitar. Followed was “The Machine” one of the highlights of HOTBED’s set, as the song opens with a thumping bass line that could be felt throughout the floor of the venue then bringing in the full band to present a nice groove, before cranking it up to eleven in the chorus. The distorted guitars, loud drums, fast paced keys, and heart-pounding bass, makes the song a musical experience. HOTBED closed their set with the crowd favorite, “Final Goodbye”, which heavily engages the audience in sing along and dance, with Jake screaming , “1…2…3….4!” during the build-up leading to an amazing instrumental payoff, from an amazing set! This may be HOTBED’s final goodbye for now, but they will be back to the Philadelphia music scene maintaining the same energy, as the band plans on moving to Philly this fall.
Make sure to checkout HOTBED’s EP, Undercovers on any streaming platform (link below) and keep an eye out for their forthcoming debut album, set to release sometime in late October or November.
- Diddly Doo
- Summer Outro
- The Machine
- Final Goodbye