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After The Rain: Spoon, Girl Talk and Kings of Leon keep the Made in America party going

Spoon | Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Spoon | Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Mud soaked sneakers, blankets, Budweiser branded bandanas, broken umbrellas, an American flag, demolished cardboard recycling containers and even a few back packs were among some of the casualties of the rain, thunder and lightning storm that swept through Center City Philadelphia and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway during day two of Made In America.

Two songs into Spoon’s set, the ominous dark clouds covering the festival grounds barely broke as Spoon lead singer Britt Daniel got a cue from the Rocky Stage production people to stop playing. “They’re asking us to leave the stage,” Daniel said. As Spoon quickly left the stage the announcements began: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please pay close attention to this announcement. Please evacuate the premises immediately and seek safe and secure shelter.” Continue reading →

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Listen to Sam Smith recorded live at Boot and Saddle

On Monday evening, March 24th, just five nights before he made his debut on Saturday Night Live, British singer-songwriter Sam Smith played a sold out show at Boot & Saddle. Smith gained initial attention when the electronica duo Disclosure featured his singing on the song “Latch” from the duo’s debut album last year. Smith is releasing his debut album In The Lonely Hour on June 17th. During his stripped down 40 minute set at Boot & Saddle, he performed material from his recent EP, Nirvana, including “Money On My Mind,” as well as the gorgeous gospel-soul flavored “Stay With Me.” Listen to the show below.

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Matt Nathanson makes raising money fun at World Cafe Live Musicians on Call benefit

Matt Nathanson | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Matt Nathanson | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson captivated a sold out crowd at World Cafe Live last night for WXPN’s Musicians On Call benefit. Since 2004, XPN has partnered with Musicians On Call, working with the national organization as the Philadelphia program that brings musicians to the bedsides of more than 50,000 patients and families throughout the Philadelphia region. The Bedside Performance Program provides weekly performances for patients at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

After an opening set from Philly local artist Chris Kasper, Nathanson – joined by his guitarist Aaron Tap – played a 70 minute set of songs culled mostly from his recent album, Last Of The Great Pretenders, and some of his classic older material including “Car Crash,” and “Come On Get Higher.” Whether backed by a band or in a duo situation like he was last night, Nathanson is a charismatic, entertaining, funny, and extremely personable performer. His fun engagement with the audience is equally compelling as his performances and the audience, packed mostly with fans, hung on to every word of his between song banter as well as the lyrics of the songs they sang along to. Our thanks to Matt and Chris Kasper for being a part of the evening and to the supporters of the Musicians On Call program.

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The New Sinatra: Jay Z captivates a near-capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

There are few artists, bar any genre, who can command a stage and engage a crowd like Jay Z. At this point in his career, based on performances like last night, and the breadth of his dozen studio albums, it’s clear that he ranks right up there with the greats like Bruce Springsteen and U2.

Last night at the Wells Fargo Center, undistracted by fancy stage sets or costume changes, Jay relied on the his strengths to captivate the near-capacity crowd. Standing center stage, Jay delivered a handful of songs from Magna Carta Holy Grail, and more than a handful of classics. The man’s got a deep catalogue and hit on classics like “99 Problems,” “Dead Presidents,” “Big Pimpin,” “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” and “U Don’t Know.”

One of Jay Z’s smartest career moves was to learn how to play his music with a band (see the MTV Unplugged from 2001 that he recorded with The Roots). The four piece that backed him last night included producer and DJ Timbaland on keyboards and programming, drummer Tony Royster Jr., and Philadelphians Omar Edwards on keyboards and guitarist/bassist Clay Sears. They were stellar, efficient and rocking through out the entire show and really brought to life the new material they played from Magna Carta Holy Grail. Jay turned “Holy Grail” into a massive stadium sing along. They dug deep into the grooves on “Somewhere In America,” “Tom Ford,” and “Picasso Baby.” Their playing on “Oceans,” the song that features Frank Ocean, lifted the song to an emotionally intensity.

Jay Z and Timbaland | Photo by John Vettese

Midway through the show, Jay left the stage, allowing Timbaland to perform a short DJ set that featured a medley of hits that he produced for other musicians and was followed by one of the highlights of the show – a cameo appearance from Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. Meek performed “Ima Boss” and completely brought the house to an emotional high. His explosive energy lifted the show into high gear and left the stage to voluminous applause.

Jay took over from there, running through material from some of his collaborations including the hip-hop classics “Clique,” (from the G.O.O.D. Music Cruel Summer album) and “Ni**as in Paris,” (from his collaboration with Kanye West, Watch The Throne). Just a couple of minutes after the lights went down, Jay came out and encored with some of his most popular songs: “Encore,” “PSA,” “Empire State of Mind” – during which he kept yelling “Philly!” “Philly!” – “Izzo (H.O.V.A), “Public Service Announcement,” and he ended with “Young Forever,” which he dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

For two and a half hours, Jay more than lived up to his boast of “I’m the new Sinatra.”