Nights at Union Transfer: a concert venue review


Maria Pushart

The Garden live in action

Philadelphia has a plethora of concert venues including Wells Fargo, The Met, The Filmore, and Union Transfer. All offer a variety of views to purchase tickets for and different capacities, but these past two Saturdays I’ve attended Union Transfer and have to say it might be my favorite. 

Back in July, my friend and I decided to do what I call a “concert exchange.” There was a concert she wanted to see on October 15th and needed someone to go with and I had one I wanted to see on October 8th. Even though we weren’t super into each other bands, we agreed they would be worthwhile experiences. 

Union Transfer is a general admission venue only, meaning it’s all standing, with no set seats. There are, however, two fenced platforms on the left and right sides to have a raised view. If you are 21+ there is also an upper-level balcony for an even higher view and access to the bar. 

Union Transfer typically holds more upcoming artists as it is a smaller venue with a capacity of 1,200, but has featured major artists such as Cigarettes After Sex, and girl in red. I also consider the tickets affordable ranging from $25-$40. For my two concerts, it was $57 in total. 

Since it’s general admission, you have to get there hours before doors open to achieve a good view. For both my concerts, doors opened at 7:00 PM and the show started at 8:00 PM, so we decided to leave around 4:00 PM which got us to the venue at 5:00 PM. Although waiting 2 hours might seem like a drag, it’s super convenient to order food from one of the surrounding restaurants and eat it while waiting. I recommend Juno; it’s right across the street, easy to order online, and has an amazing quesadilla. Waiting in line also is a fun chance to talk to people around you and find out basic information like why they like the artist, or even more personal aspects like where they attend school. 

As for the artists we saw, The Garden and Spacey Jane, both were extremely entertaining beyond just hearing their music. The Garden, comprised of twin brothers Fletcher and Wyatt Shears are from Orange County California. Their genre is experimental or art-punk with a range of certainly unique songs. The extremely booming guitar and drums facilitated an insane mosh pit which I comfortably viewed from the standing platform and did not have to experience the shoving of people. Spacey Jane is made up of four members Caleb Harper (lead vocals and guitar), Kieran Lama (drums), Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu (guitar), and Peppa Lane (bass guitar). Coming all the way from Perth, the capital of Western Australia, their band’s genre is alternative and indie rock. The concert featured dazzling lights and enjoyable moments, such as the drummer taking his Be-Real photo with the crowd to them, asking in their delightful Australian accents, if anyone wanted to hang out and give them a tour of Philly after the show. 

Overall, I highly recommend seeing an artist at Union Transfer, even if it’s not an artist you know or like a lot. It’s a great way to spend time with friends, meet new people, and enjoy affordable live music after the pandemic shutdown of 2020 into 2021.