Shaun Fleming, whose stage name is Diane Coffee, gave a high spirited performance at Johnny Brenda’s Tavern. The history of the building located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA dates back to 1861. The location has been a carriage factory, a United States Employment Service, and a saloon. Boxer John Imbrenda, whose ringside pseudonym was Johnny Brenda, named the tavern after himself in 1967. It’s held his name ever since.
The band hit the stage like a musical freight train to play the song with a sales pitch called Mayflower. Coffee sang, “How can I help you?/I can get you what you want/With a great selection that everybody’s trying to top/Try it on for size. I could give you five to think it through/But if you don’t buy it now your friends will all be cooler than you.”
I have seen a few of Diane Coffee’s many incarnations such as a neon soul singer, a Prince inspired crooner, and a David Bowie like spaceman. This time Coffee and his band appeared in black and white tuxedoes. It set the tone for an incredible classic rock and roll show.
A sufficient amount of songs from his 2019 futuristic Internet Arms album were performed. The reworked versions were more rhythm and blues based with keyboardist Matt Romy keeping it spacey with robot like backing vocals. There were also a number of crowd favorite tunes such as GovT and Not That Easy. Guitarist Kyle Paul balanced the music out perfectly with timely riffs and pounding chords. Bass player Aidan Epstein’s and drummer Sam Bryson’s steady playing allowed the spectacle on the front of the stage to shine.
As things were heating up, Coffee did a wardrobe change in front of the audience. He swapped his black coat for a sparkly one that was hanging in the middle of the stage. That’s when the band tore into the song Everyday – “Stop playing games with my heart/I don’t need you pushing all your letters apart/Stop and be all that you want and more/Stop should have known from the start .”
The performance ended with New Years which is a combination of an Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up like rhythm, spoken word, and dirty blues. There was no encore because nothing else could top it.
Shaun Fleming (Diane Coffee) will soon be moving to California. The land of even fancier clothes.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one changing my persona.