Above the Fold

A digital 'zine by Original Fuzz about creativity and making stuff.

★  Jun 15, 2024  ★

Primatives and The Musical Underground of the "City of Brotherly Love"

Featured photo for Primatives and The Musical Underground of the "City of Brotherly Love"

We’re trying something new with Original Fuzz Magazine this month by handing over writing duties to some eager lads in Philly, nail-biting and white-knuckling their fists with anticipation of shining some holy light on their beloved city and the music scene that dwells beneath it. We’re excited to introduce to you our first ever op-ed piece by the guys in Primatives, a grunge-punk quartet that cut their teeth in a town that hasn’t gotten much cred, until now.

Learn about Philly’s charm, the venues that foster the scene, and the people helping out a band that’s trying to “make it.”

Take it away, guys.


Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, known for cheesesteaks, the worst (or best) sports fans, and the Liberty Bell, is developing a reputation for its vibrant underground music scene. The venues and people are full of energy which, for us, has made playing that much more of a rush. From gigs to house parties, our grunge band, Primatives, has been through it all and we’d like to give you a look into the scene where we play.

Primatives are a no frills four piece grunge-punk band with a visceral, aggressive sound, strong guitar melodies, and fast-paced driving rhythms. Formed in 2012, Primatives brings together long-time friends Kyle Ranshaw and Dave Harvey III on guitar and vocals, the stoic Andy Buch on bass, and drummer James Berardi. Primatives have honed in on their sound, playing some of Philly's premier venues like The Trocedero Theatre, World Cafe Live, and Kung Fu Necktie.

Early in our music careers we thought if we could just get into bigger venues, there would be bigger crowds; but in Philly, it’s all about the community. We went looking for people who felt the same way about music as we do and found an incredibly supportive network of artists.

One of the best is Emily Famularo and her site, The Hook Journal, which not only reviews and supports local bands but also showcases artists at venues in the community; at places like South Philly’s The Pharmacy and the basement venue Tralfamadore. Another person doing great things in the Philly is Alex Tangelo. He books and promotes shows with Hot Sake productions and works tirelessly putting together great shows across the city.

The variety of venues keep things interesting, especially the cramped, smoked-filled basement venue known as The Nest. Graffiti covers the walls from floor to ceiling with its very own trash pit as a backyard. Shows at The Nest intimately begin upstairs with acoustic acts sitting on top of a fridge as their stage. After the calm, things move to the basement where people cram in to rock out. This rough North Philly neighborhood brings out the best, and most eclectic, crowds.


Another favorite underground venue is Girard Hall. Although, currently in a legal battle over their space, the diversity of shows at this larger venue brings out some of the best talent in the Philly music scene. The place features everything from rappers to metal shows, and the music is always accompanied by visuals projected on the stage. You can count on finding the unexpected at Girard Hall—last Halloween they had a moon bounce for the show.

If you’re new to Philly and can’t quite find the underground, make sure to check out Kung Fu Necktie. With a newly redone upstairs and a unique stage downstairs, you’re almost certain to find some acts you’ll like. Supporting the local scene and nationally touring acts alike, Kung Fu serves up cheap beer and good music.

Primatives is proud to call Philly our home, and soon we will be recording our second EP, promising a bigger, louder, and more polished sound. We hope this brief look into who we are and where we play has inspired you to come check out the musical underbelly in the "City of Brotherly Love." —Kyle Ranshaw


Thanks to the guys in Primatives band for submitting their words and photos. Be sure to check these dudes out when you’re in town, or give them a shout to come to yours.

If you’d like to contribute to the Original Fuzz Magazine, send us a message to hello@originalfuzz.com.