William Tell concert review

Caroline Babula (‘09) / Eastside Entertainment Editor

When most people think of William Tell, they think of a skilled marksmen with a crossbow, probably trying to hit an apple off of someone’s head. However, William Tell is also a solo artist, formerly of the band Something Corporate. The LA-based Tell visited Philadelphia last Friday, February 27, at The Trocadero Theatre.

One opening act for Tell was Strikes Again, a local band from the Philly/South Jersey area. The band is made up of two vocalists, a guitarist, a keyboardist and a drummer. Their sound quality was not the best. Because they are relatively unknown, the audience had a little trouble getting into their songs, but their covers of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl’ and Justin Timberlake’s “I’m Bring Sexy Back” were well-received. Also enjoyable was Strikes Again’s final song, “Revenge of the Synth,” a catchy, dark, but still pop-sounding song which can be found on the band’s MySpace page (www.myspace.com/strikes again). After the show, Strikes Again handed our free EPs of their newest songs to anyone that wanted one.

Next up was Tell’s co-headliner, newcomer Jimmy Robbins. Robbins, a 19 year old singer and former Target employee from North Carolina, kept nudging his microphone close to the edge of the stage, hoping to get as close as possible to the audience. He apologized profusely about his congested voice, as he is getting over an illness. The “sickster” performed for about a half hour, and sang songs such as “Gonna Get Better”, “Now That You’re Gone”, “Breath Again” and “Losing Control”, all of which can be found on his MySpace page (www.myspace.com/jimmy Robbins). He also played “Surgery”, a ballad about his parents. Robbins explained that his mom passed away a few years ago and shortly after his father was diagnosed with cancer, and “Surgery” is a moving conversation between the two of them in a hospital scene. The amiable singer plugged MySpace often, but not obnoxiously: he invited everyone to befriend him so that they could keep in touch and even “take long walks together on the Internet beaches.” Following the show, he spoke to and took photographs with fans and sold merchandise.

Naturally, William Tell performed last. Prior to his set, Tell made sure to stand in the back of the venue for at least a couple of songs for each of his opening acts. Right before he went up on stage, he sat down for a few minutes and chatted with a group of fans. When asked if he was nervous, he said that he was not; he used to get butterflies but not so much anymore. He then went up on stage and sang “Lauren”, his “awkward” song about a girl he used to date from Philly. Sounding identical to his recordings, Tell continued to sing and play his guitar for about an hour. Songs he played included “Fairfax”, “Young At heart”, “Trouble” and a newer song, possibly entitled “When We Were Young”. Tell also played his mom’s favorite song of his, “Hauling Oats”. Throughout the night, he covered Oasis’ “Wonderwall”, Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open” and even a FreeCreditReport.com jingle, to the giggles of audience members. When his set was over, Tell also sold merchandise, took photos and conversed with fans.

Bands and tours sometimes get reputations, usually negative. But, without a doubt, William Tell and Jimmy Robbins will be remembered as two of the sweetest, well-liked and good-humored artists to ever grace The Troc.