While the post-Superbowl riot might be the DIY event of the season, there’s a lot more going on this month than just a bunch of greased poles on Broad Street
Hi! Welcome to the second edition of The Skeleton Key, your friendly neighborhood gossip column just fighting the good fight against mediocrity and boredom. While we might (still) be in the middle of winter, warm weather – and with it, touring season – is on the horizon. I promise!
There was no better reminder of that than the recent announcement by R5 that Lighting Bolt and Moor Mother would be playing the First Unitarian Church at the end of March. While Lighting Bolt could sell out the Church all on their own, the fact that the good people at R5 are having Moor Mother open makes for a truly amazing and electric night. Which is to say: I really hope you got tickets because it sold out almost immediately.
Moor Mother hasn’t played a hometown show in a hot minute due to Camae’s seemingly perpetual world tour that’s brought her everywhere from London to Tasmania to Amsterdam, something that is truly remarkable. She’s back stateside now, I think, and will be heading up to NYC in a couple weeks for the opening of an art exhibition she put together at the venerated gallery The Kitchen that’s all about, “… the creative process of her second solo album, Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, and its instrumental accompaniment, Sublime Methods of Spiritual Machines, using soundscape installation, film, collage, and poetry” according to their website.
Incidentally, the outgoing exhibition at that same gallery focused on the late pianist, composer, and 1963 Curtis Institute graduate Julius Eastman, whose incredible work was celebrated last year at The Rotunda in West Philly in a month-long retrospective put together by Bowerbird. Those concerts were absolutely brilliant and proof-positive that Bowerbird is one of the many groups that make Philadelphia a great place for experimental and avant-garde music.
Speaking of which, they have three pretty amazing events happening in February. On the 16th at The Rotunda it’s a selection of Pauline Oliveros’ sublime compositions, including the piece, “To Valerie Solanas And Marilyn Monroe In Recognition Of Their Desperation” based on the infamous Scum Manifesto. On the 22nd and 24th at University Lutheran they’re doing two concerts of the innovative composer Morton Feldman’s works: “For John Cage” and a selection of rarely-performed solos.
If you like your music weird but not “15 minutes of accordion and violin” weird – or even if you do! I’m certainly not judging – you owe it to yourself to check out the rare West Philly appearances of noted freaks Taiwan Housing Project, Jason Spacin’, Writhing Squares, and Tropical Trash on the 11th. Check out Taiwan Housing Project’s FB for details on that ridiculously stellar show.
Also February means it’s time for Two Piece Fest! Two Piece Fest XI on the 24th, to be precise. Can you believe that this has been held annually for more than a decade?! This year Peter and Craig are returning the fest to its ancestral homeland of The Rotunda, almost right around the corner from the event’s true origins at the Be Happy House over on 42nd Street. While the full lineup hasn’t been announced yet, it’s sure to be a day full of some of the most fun and inventive music out there; details at its FB Event page.
This month is chock-full of new releases and record release shows, which is very exciting. Nick Millevoi and his Desertion Trio kicked it off with Midtown Tilt on Shhpuma/Clean Feed Records, debuted at Johnny Brenda’s on the first of the month. On the 2nd at Kung Fu Necktie power-pop rockers The Whips are putting out their new one City Wide Special with support from NYC’s Birds and DC’s Des Demonas, who are also releasing an album that day. The very next night out in West Philly hardcore superstars Open City are playing a 7” release show alongside Pinkwash, Downtrodder, and Kilamanzego. Related news: I’ve heard rumors that Pinkwash are putting the finishing touches on their new album, which is very exciting.
One week later on the 9th head over to Voltage Lounge – that’s the bar in the shadow of the Electric Factory – for Spellbound, the monthly goth night at the club. I’m not just saying that because I love dressing all in black and dancing around to Sisters of Mercy. No, this is a special edition of Spellbound: The Guests, Philadelphia’s finest hyper-political post-punk goth band, will be playing live that night to celebrate their newly released record and it’s going to be awesome.
Before goth night, stop over at Everybody Hits for The Zeta, Amor Fizz, C0mputer, DJ Precolumbian, and Orion Sun. Zeta are from Venezuela and play what they refer to as “avant experimental punk,” which while it might sound purposely obtuse is actually a pretty fitting way to describe their genre-bending music. While they’ve been through Philly before, this time around they’re bringing super catchy Argentinian punks Amor Fizz with them. The locals rounding out the lineup, especially West Philly favorite Precolumbian, are sure to make this one of the most fun shows all month. More info at Facebook.
What else? Well, the new Screaming Females album All At Once (Don Giovanni Records) drops on the 23rd, though we’re unfortunately going to have to wait until April to see them play. That show, with HIRS and Thou at Union Transfer, is going to be beyond amazing and totally worth the wait. But you know who you don’t need to wait to see? Hurry. Their record release show is at Everybody Hits on the 24th with the always superb Amanda X.
So there you have it! Philadelphia in February: new music, great shows, and an Eagles Super Bowl win. I’ll see you on Broad Street!
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