March Belonged to Serfs at Snug Harbor
Words by: Sheila Walsh | Images by: Brian Twitty
During the month of March, Charlotte-based act Serfs took over Snug Harbor every Wednesday and brought along many local acts. I was first exposed to Serfs when I began following a bunch of local bands on Twitter. I’m not sure who mentioned them first, but I do remember seeing multiple bands tweet about the release of their first full-length album Day Hang. As if the handful of generous tweets wasn’t enough to catch my interest, the cover of their newest album is honestly one of my favorites; what can I say, I’m a sucker for cool-looking album covers! On a more serious note, I am so happy I decided to give these guys a listen. Since Day Hang was released this past January, they have been a staple to the many playlists I make on a weekly basis. I even wrote a an album review that can be found here. When they announced their residency at Snug Harbor throughout March, I thought to myself, “I have got to cover a set!”
Almost immediately, I emailed Dianna Augustine and asked to cover their 3/23 show. Dianna emailed back within the hour and suggested a much longer piece that involved me covering their entire residency. As soon as I read her email, I felt a huge smile form on my face and wondered why I didn’t think of that in the first place!
Fast forward to March 2nd and it’s opening night for Serfs’ residency. On the bill for the night was Pink Pots, Beach Bath, and Fat Geoff. Perhaps the best thing about the residency was the fact that vocalist/guitarist Phil Pucci, was in charge of booking the opening acts each night.
“I wanted to showcase some of the local bands,” stated Pucci. “It’s cool to have your friends play with you each night.”
It’s also cool to see so many young people on stage, doing what they love. The first band to play was called Beach Bath and, according to various conversations in the crowd, it was their very first show! I could hardly tell as the vocalist pranced around stage while the guitarist ate Tostitos chips straight from the bag. The crowd seemed unphased by the what was happening on stage; probably because many of them have been attending shows at Snug Harbor since they were young, including Pucci, and have seen far stranger things. This open-minded crowd is one of the reasons Serfs snagged this month-long opportunity.
“I used to come to Snug all the time, and wanted to showcase our record to a local crowd,” said Pucci.
And they did just that. Serfs not only played plenty of tracks from Day Hang, they also played songs that were written after the album was recorded. These new songs, along with older ones from previous EPs, were all part of the plan to change things up each night. This was a chance for the band to play whatever they wanted for the next month.
Opening night was full of strange stage antics, young bands, and good music, but perhaps one of the most noteworthy moments happened mid-way through Serfs’ set. As I looked around the crowd, I saw the typical bouncing heads and, front and center for the whole bar to see, a group of girls dancing together with huge smiles on their faces. The middle of the venue was a hurricane of flailing arms, lots of grinding, and plenty of laughter; something must have been going right for Serfs if they can trigger that kind of reaction, right? As I exited Snug Harbor that night, I remember being so excited to cover the next three shows.
Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the March 9th set. I was on my way back to Charlotte from Parahoy, a four day cruise hosted by Paramore and other super cool bands! Instead of attending the show, I direct messaged Pucci the next day and I apparently missed one hell of a show.
“The turnout was incredible!” claimed Pucci. “I suspect that has a little something to do with a Mr. Andy the Doorbum, who is visiting Charlotte and performed here for the first time since moving to California last year.”
Pucci also praised Patois Counselors who, according to him, are “always so on point.”
“It kinda cracks me up how their songs can be so catchy, even when there isn’t a discernible melody emanating from the chaos.”
After the first two shows, Serfs went on a mini-tour of the East Coast and hit up venues in South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and New York. The guys were able to bond on a new level thanks to the minivan they rented during the “rad” and “glamorous” week and a half of tour. While they were gone, Replicas, Shell, Earth Mover, and Cuzco took over Snug Harbor for the night.
I was able to catch them on March 23rd, the show I originally requested to cover, and it was one of my all-time favorite sets; openers included It Looks Sad, Blanket Fort, and Em Young. What made this show so special was the overall energy each band radiated from the stage, but most importantly from Serfs. One would think that a week and a half of playing eleven shows in a row would be tiring, but the band I saw that night was refreshed and ready to play a damn good show. During the first song, Pucci hopped off stage and played the hell out of his guitar in the middle of the crowd. While he played his heart out, some dude pulled out his phone and attempted to take a selfie with him. What started out as a cool intro to the set turned into a comical show as this guy struggled with his selfie-taking skills. The rest of their set went smoothly as they played many of songs from previous EPs.
March 30th finally rolled around and I found myself wondering how the month went by so fast. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the final show of Serfs’ residency and I’m still kicking myself for it.
“The final show was great,” stated Pucci. “It was a testament to this weird phenomenon that exists for me where every show has its own vibe, and even if you put the same headlining band in the same venue every week, each show feels completely different.”
Opening for Serfs was Cabrón, one of Pucci’s favorite bands in town, Rusty Colton, and Tape Daze, a fairly new band with members of Little Fury Things. This final show seemed like a great ending to a great residency at Snug Harbor.
Being able to cover this band for the past month has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever been part of. I feel so lucky to have been able to get to know such a talented band and I am excited for what’s to come in 2016. Pucci mentioned the band would be getting back to the studio this month, meaning new music is coming soon. You better believe I’ll be covering that as soon as it is released!