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Yelle inspires a devoted Union Transfer crowd

Yelle
Yelle | photo by Cameron Pollack |

“Philly! I want to see your hands, and I want to see your hearts!” Yelle’s voice echoed throughout Union Transfer on Sunday night as a packed crowd danced without end. Their hearts were certainly all out on the table, as the screams of the crowd grew with volume after every song. Yelle, in support of her latest album Complètement Fou, promised Philadelphia a night of infectious dance music with lyrics to which Google Translate often does not give justice.

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Keeping rock n’ roll alive with The Strypes at Union Transfer

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The Strypes | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Since their inception, people have told me time and time again that rock ’n roll is in no way dead, and The Strypes were the principal thing keeping it alive.

Saying I was skeptical doesn’t cut it; I was in no way convinced that an Irish four piece consisting of guys the exact same age as me could save rock n’ roll in the way people told me they were. This past Wednesday, I got to see for myself, and I can safely report that rock is in no way dead, and The Strypes are why. Continue reading →

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SOJA takes over World Cafe Live for Free at Noon

SOJA | Photo by Cameron Pollack
SOJA | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Reggae/Dub kings SOJA took over World Cafe for an incredible display of lyricism and musicianship. SOJA’s music stays true to their traditional form on their latest LP, Amid The Noise And Haste, an album chock full of social commentary, reggae melodies, and incredible guest artists, including Collie Buddz and Damian Marley among others. Continue reading →

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Listen to JD McPherson make a rollicking Musikfest pit stop at today’s Free At Noon

JD McPherson
JD McPherson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Rockabilly hero JD McPherson stopped by World Cafe Live on his way to Musikfest this evening out in central Pennsylvania. McPherson rocked the lunch hour with a set chock-full of 12-bar blues, organ and piano solos, and danceable tunes. “Country Boy,” the second song in the lineup, slowed things down with hard-swinging minor blues driven by Jimmy Sutton’s bass playing. “I Can’t Complain” and “Wolf Teeth” both had the entire crowd dancing and swinging along to his powerful, Buddy Holly influenced style. Continue reading →

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John Legend headlined The Mann Center in peak form

John Legend | Photo by Cameron Pollack
John Legend | Photo by Cameron Pollack

There is not a shred of doubt in my mind: John Legend, formerly John Stephens, is 100% deserving of the name he now calls his own. His career now spans fifteen years, five of which have been unsigned. His climb to a record deal featured collaborations with Lauryn Hill on her track “Everything Is Everything” during college, backing vocals on Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name” in 2003, and an eventual meet-up and collaboration with Kanye West throughout the early 2000’s. His career has never stopped climbing since, churning out Grammy award winning, chart-topping tunes with every album release.

Legend’s “homecoming” show to The Mann on Saturday showcased Legend at the peak of his popularity and his songwriting ability. Continue reading →

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Listen back to round two with Trigger Hippy at Free At Noon

Trigger Hippy | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Trigger Hippy | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Nashville supergroup and #XPNfest veterans Trigger Hippy stopped in at World Cafe for a fantastic Free at Noon today, showcasing the rock and roll garnered from singer Joan Osborne’s songwriting career and from Stever Gorman’s and Jackie Greene’s experience with The Black Crowes. The set featured excellent harmonies between Osborne and Greene as well as frequent guitar solo battles between Greene and guitarist Tom Bukovac. Continue reading →

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RX Bandits, The Dear Hunter and From Indian Lakes put on killer triple bill at Union Transfer

Photo by Cameron Pollock
Photo by Cameron Pollock

Part of why I sought out a position as a writer and photographer at XPN is so I could constantly be exposed to new artists and new musical directions. I’ve found so far that my favorite method of discovery since hopping onboard XPN’s contributor list is by discovering bands at concerts. I’ve learned of myriad artists in this manner, including Strand of Oaks, Parquet Courts, and The 1975. On a warm summer night at Union Transfer, I had the pleasure of discovering and subsequently falling in love with three mind-blowingly fantastic acts: From Indian Lakes, The Dear Hunter, and Rx Bandits.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Trampled By Turtles bring Wild Animals to World Cafe Live

Trampled By Turtles | photo by Cameron Pollock
Trampled By Turtles | photo by Cameron Pollack

Trampled By Turtles treated attendees to an impeccable display of folk at a recent Free at Noon appearance, featuring frequent violin solos, four part harmonies, and stomp box and tambourine percussion.

The band stopped in Philly for the first of two times as part of the US leg of their tour, and they will return to Philly’s Union Transfer on the 10th of September. Hot off the release of their latest album, Wild Animals, they arrived at World Cafe to showcase the same infectious folk that kept them in the top 10 of Billboard’s Bluegrass chart for an entire year. Continue reading →