November 22, 2013

PAPA, led by the barefooted drumming lead vocalist Darren Weiss, quite literally rocked the hill last Friday night at Bottom of the Hill. Although the band played only a short, hour-long set, the crowd danced the whole night with stellar enthusiasm. 

Just before midnight, PAPA took the stage and was greeted by an eager audience who had just been let down by two mediocre opening acts, the first of which featuring a drunk fan harassing the female bassist. Despite the fact that their debut LP Tender Madness had only been released this October, a surprising number of fans knew the lyrics to every song. Their set comprised both songs from their EP A Good Woman is Hard to Find as well as some from their new album. 

Even though PAPA isn't largely well known (yet), they managed to sell out the 300 person venue and attract a loyal fan base. Darren told the audience, “San Francisco, we’re in this together. It’s nights like tonight that I question ever going home.” Home, for them, is just down the coast, in the Los Angeles Valley, where they will be headlining the notorious El Rey Theatre on December 6th next week.

As if it wasn’t impressive enough to drum and sing at the same time, the energy Darren put in was superb. It’s obvious he knows what he’s doing and knows how to do it while having fun, usually enveloped in a big smile or his drummer “stank” face.

For the final song of the encore, Darren climbed around his drum kit to pull a few fans on to the stage with him. As he climbed back up to his throne, he shouted for everyone to come up. Joining the mass, I jumped up and took a position next to Darren’s brother Evan, their current guitarist (the position rotates depending on schedules). Evan wasn't as impressed by his brother’s antics, rolling his eyes yet smiling in a sort of I can’t believe this is happening way. “Alright San Francisco, let’s really really really show these fuckers how we roll,” Darren yelled before ending the bridge and drumming into the final chorus of the night. It seemed as if the crowd was ready for another five or so songs when PAPA exited the stage for the final time. Not to say I was disappointed - for $12 I would gladly go again for an hour-long set this good - but it felt like there was more to be had. I shook Darren’s hand before climbing off the stage and leaving the venue to find a cab.

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Photos by Sam Engel / Senior Staff

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