Before coming to Temple to study English, Second Marriage guitarist and vocalist Andrew Griffin had never attended a house show. Growing up in New Jersey, he said he spent a lot of time by himself in his room listening to music.
Today, Griffin and his bandmates in Second Marriage, guitarist and vocalist Calvin Thrall,bassist Connor O’Neill and drummer Noah Waite, are regulars at house shows on Main Campus and throughout the city.
“I was totally shocked that I came here and there was this whole thing going on,” Griffin, a sophomore english major, said. “I had never seen anything like it.”
Thrall and Griffin started collaborating last year as freshmen living in Johnson and Hardwick Residence Hall. The communal living space brought the musicians together. The guys started playing acoustic guitar in Griffin’s room and later, recruited O’Neill to play bass and Waite to play drums.
In August 2014, Second Marriage began practicing as a full band and playing at house show venues in the area, Disaster Porn and The Baker Bowl. The musicians said forming friendships with other bands has allowed the young group to gain valuable knowledge about performing and growing as a band.
“There is this band, Uncle/Father Oscar, that we’ve played with a couple times now,” Thrall said. “When you have people in bands talking to each other, there is a lot of shared experience.”
The band members said studying in Philadelphia and playing in a band comes with challenges, but these challenges have not stopped the band from playing shows.
“We actually don’t have a car,” Thrall said. “We get to our shows by taxi cab or our friends help us out. Most of the time we get enough money at various shows to pay for most of the cab fare.”
Thrall splits his time between Second Marriage and Philadelphia-based indie-pop group Leaky Soups.
“The Leaky Soups thing kind of helps me realize I have other things I want to do with music too,” Thrall said. “It’s fun. It’s poppier.”
Second Marriage collaborated with Pat Quigley of Leaky Soups to release its self-titled EP on cassette via Quigley’s label VHS Records.
As musicians performing at DIY spaces, the members of Second Marriage are aware of the implications of hosting house shows in the context of the larger community.
“Part of the reason why Temple and North Philadelphia [are] so great for having house shows is because of all the gentrified student housing areas,” Thrall, a sophomore political science major, said. “Kids can afford to live in these big houses with big basements. I think that, generally, the people who participate in [DIY shows] tend to be more aware than people who don’t. It’s good to be mindful that we can only do this at the expense of other people.”
Studying at Temple has allowed the group to develop a love for Philadelphia.
“I’ve lived around the city, or in the city, my whole life,” O’Neill, a classical civilizations major, said. “Getting to know it more is really awesome and [to] realize it really is my home and it always has been.”
The members of Second Marriage said they are ready to take advantage of what the city has to offer.
“Philadelphia is by far the best city in terms of young people being able to do things,” Thrall said. “It’s definitely a very up-and-coming city among younger people.”
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