Halligan’s Restaurant & Bar
I hadn’t heard from Marcy Playground since their hit song “Sex and Candy,” so imagine my surprise when I learned that the band was still making albums. Though not entirely the same band from 1997, the lineup included Shlomi Lavi in former drummer Dan Rieser’s place.
Halligan’s was packed with Marcy Playground fans who waited enthusiastically through four bands for the headliner. Smoke machines were still rolling clouds from the base of the stage, as if to bring in a great entity from the past as lead singer/guitarist John Wozniak, bassist Dylan Keefe, drummer and Lavie took their respective positions and began to jam out.
They mostly played songs from their latest album, Leaving Wonderland, along with a few fan favorites such as “Punk Rock Superstar” and, of course, “Sex and Candy.”
Marcy Playground carries a very diverse sound. There were bits of everything in their repertoire, from folk with a hint of blues to pop-rock to Southern rock by way of Led Zeppelin. “Star Baby” (from Leaving Wonderland), was an incredibly catchy, toe-tapping tune. “Devil Woman” was a sort of mellow song that you would probably hear on Q104.5 with all of the other classic rock.
There were times when the band just had one long jam session in which Lavie led by repeatedly hitting the drums and a menacing looking rubber rat on top of one of the cymbals. It turned into a game of “Whack-a-Rat Until it Falls off the Drum Set,” It all led into the crazy, upbeat “Secret Squirrel.”
Seeing Marcy Playground live was certainly a treat. They loved interacting with the audience. Wozniak even let a few girls dance on stage to “Sex and Candy.” They carried on in between sets with humor, wit, and funny references to Tenacious D. No longer will I refer to them as that “one hit wonder” band with the one and only sedated, grunge sound that is “Sex and Candy.”