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Review: Mannequin Pussy w/ Soul Glo @ The Atlantis — 5/17/24

Mannequin Pussy is angry, and you should be too. Income inequality is at record levels. The Supreme Court is taking away our rights. Both major political parties wholeheartedly endorse a war in Gaza which the ICJ has ruled is plausibly genocidal. The world’s injustices pile up ever higher, live-streamed to our phones on a daily basis.

“We are here to facilitate a cathartic release for you,” lead singer Missy Dabice recently told the crowd halfway through Mannequin Pussy’s first of two sold-out nights at The Atlantis. “If you are like us, you have a pit inside yourself where you are forced to shove down everything painful. Society has no time for our anger or our pain. There’s money to be made for someone else, so we have to put away our anger and forget about it. I want to stand here as a reflection of your sanity. You are not crazy for being so angry.”

At The Atlantis on May 17, Missy then led the crowd in a primal scream, channeling all of that pent-up rage through searing rock songs in the way that only good hardcore punk music can.

For anyone worried that guitar music is dead, just look to Philadelphia. Mannequin Pussy are at the leading edge of a bubbling DIY scene there — and it is just now coming to fruition. Bands like Sweet Pill, Spirit of the Beehive, They Are Gutting A Body Of Water, and Sheer Mag are toying with noisy blends of hardcore, hard rock, and emo, which have a palpable vitality and energy.

Mannequin Pussy stand out for making catchy, stadium-ready rock songs while staying true to their punk roots. After building a cult following around their explosive live shows over the last few years, the band has reached an even wider audience with this year’s I Got Heaven, an album which delivers glittery indie rock, anthemic songwriting, and driving hardcore in its short 30-minute run time.

Stream I Got Heaven by Mannequin Pussy on Spotify:

Mannequin Pussy highlighted Philadelphia’s current moment on this tour by bringing along fellow up-and-comers Soul Glo, whose unique mix of hardcore, industrial noise, and screamo on Diaspora Problems earned them Brooklyn Vegan’s Best Album of the Year title in 2022. The band brought an urgency and aggressiveness to their opening set which was hard to match. They ended on “Gold Chain Punk,” with guitarist GG Guerra holding the mic over a boiling moshpit as the crowd screamed along to the plaintive chorus “Can I live?”

Watch the official music video for “Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?)” by Soul Glo on YouTube:

Yet the audience was clearly there for the headliner, and Mannequin Pussy commanded the crowd from the opening notes of the gently plodding “I Don’t Know You.” The band’s set started with I Got Heaven’s softer contemplative tracks before gradually building in energy and intensity. Recent songs “Sometimes” and “Nothing Like” led into 2019’s raging breakup anthem “Drunk II,” at which point all inhibitions were dropped and the crowd at The Atlantis became one wall-to-wall moshpit. I have never felt the floors of a venue literally shake from the force of dozens of people jumping, dancing, and screaming in unison.

The energy only ramped up as Mannequin Pussy tilted into their louder, more straight-forwardly hardcore songs. They played two standout ragers from the new album, “Loud Bark” and “I Got Heaven,” back to back before launching into a stream of sharp, fast punk tracks like “Of Her” and “OK?OK!OK?OK!” The crowd got louder and rowdier as the band whipped through their songs at an unrelenting pace.

Watch the official music video for “I Got Heaven” by Mannequin Pussy on YouTube:

Lead singer Missy Dabice commanded the stage throughout the night. Wearing jorts and a simple red bralette, she cooed, barked, and screamed her way through the band’s intensely emotive songs with passion and poise. Whether using a seductive whisper or a rasping yell, Missy held the crowd’s rapt attention. On stage, she is able to transform the darkness of angst of our times into something wild and beautiful.

After a brief set break, the band came back for an encore performance of three older songs from their catalog. Bassist Bear Regisford took the mic for the anti-cop anthem “Pigs Is Pigs” before Missy returned to close with “Romantic.” With its shimmering, slow burn verses and explosive sludgy chorus, that song perfectly encapsulated Mannequin Pussy’s strengths and range as a band. The crowd left that night drenched in sweat, satisfied and exhausted by what will probably go down as the best indie/punk tour of the year.

Catch Mannequin Pussy on tour for cathartic hardcore punk!