Apparently, Upchuck got into punk rock for all the right reasons. “I can’t really play anything else,” said guitarist Mikey Durham backstage at Philly’s Franklin Music Hall, where, just outside, a massive line of the Faye Webster faithful snaked through the parking lot and around the block.
Led by Durham and mercurial frontwoman Kaila “KT” Thompson, the Atlanta skate-punk quintet would soon be pummeling an unsuspecting sold-out crowd with material from its exhilarating Ty Segall-produced sophomore album,, Bite The Hand That Feeds. A few songs in, the packed house seemed to be taking the bludgeoning in stride, even providing shaky support to a crowd-surfing Durham on two occasions.
With a home city in common, Webster and Upchuck are tight. In fact, Webster dated KT’s brother for a time. Spewing water into the crowd and flashing a pair of defiant middle fingers throughout the band’s frenzied set, the infatigable KT is a much different sort of frontwoman than the enigmatic, coolly androgenous Webster, who’s been embraced by a growing legion of Gen Z fans.
Backed by a supremely skilled and confident band, Webster ran effortlessly through a set that favored tracks from 2019’s Atlanta Millionaire’s Club and 2021’s I Know I’m Funny Haha, punctuated by standout versions of “Jonny,” “In A Good Way” and “Right Side Of My Neck.” The fervent screams of recognition that consumed the opening notes of just about every song sounded almost T-Swizzle like—even if Webster may not be headed in that stratospheric commercial direction anytime soon.
Up in the packed balcony area about midway through Webster’s set, as riveted fans craned their necks and captured blind iPhone footage (likely of the backs of people’s heads), Durham went nearly unnoticed. Making his way past the bar area, Upchuck’s lead guitarist held a towel full of ice to the back of his neck. A crowd-surfing injury? “Nah, I think I might’ve slept on it wrong,” he said. “All those nights in the van.”
—Hobart Rowland; photos by Sophia Rowland