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The middle of January in Philadelphia means its time for one of the best live one-two rock ’n’ roll punches around — Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. World Café played host to their sold-out performances Saturday and both bands were at the top of their game. Led by David Lowery, one of the foremost crusaders for fair compensation for musicians, they cruised mainly through California settings, transporting their frigid fans to sunny musical highs. Continue reading →
Last Thursday Scottish punk masters The Vaselines captivated a sold out Johnny Brenda’s. Scorching through a 22-song set, they were a brilliant act to behold. And with Philly-based Amanda X opening, it was a perfect night of rock, both old and new.
Led by the charming duo of Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, The Vaselines were entertaining in both song and banter. Their works immortalized by Nirvana — “Son of a Gun,” “Molly’s Lips” and “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” — were riveting, with “Jesus” having a seeming air of nuanced poignancy. (And despite a seemingly out-of-place request by the audience of a Nirvana cover, they even played a brief riff from “Come as You Are.”) Continue reading →
Last Thursday the Indigo Girls filled the packed Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ with their soulful folk. Making up for a rained out show they were supposed to play last summer, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers wove their gorgeous voices and expertly crafted guitar riffs into a solid 21-song set. Continue reading →
Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing photographer Chris Sikich shares five outstanding concerts he saw out of town.
I love seeing shows in Philly, but many opportunities are taken to see music outside of the city. Below are five of my top live experiences outside of the confines of Philadelphia. Continue reading →
Last Saturday’s cold and wet attitude could not prevent the warmth and beauty of Over the Rhine from overtaking Underground Arts. Husband and wife duo of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler let their folk rock wrap the seated audience in the wealth of their 23-year musical history. With their newest holiday-themed release Blood Oranges in the Snow as a backdrop, they delivered their take on “reality” Christmas. And with some cuts from other works, including their masterful 2013 double album Meet Me at the Edge of the World, it would be tough to disappoint anyone in the rapt crowd. Though a seemingly odd venue for such a band, Underground Arts ended up being quite a fine setting for Over the Rhine’s beautiful truths. Continue reading →
Last Friday, seasonal cheer arrived at Boot & Saddle early in the form of Work Drugs’ annual “Christmas Spectacle” show. Their brand of electro rock was just right for a Friday night boogie in South Philly. Santa hats, Christmas songs old and new (including a few of their own concoctions) and a balanced mix of guitar, keyboards and harmonies were received with open arms. Continue reading →
Chuck Prophet is a genre all unto himself. Part ‘50s cool and ‘80s jangle with the sense of a big full sound that comes with four bandmates, he delivered on his promise of his 2014 record Night Surfer of crashing waves on last Sunday night at World Café. For 20-plus songs he rocked Philadelphia from head to toe. Continue reading →
There is a jangle, a soothing pop sensibility and something uncannily new encased in the sounds of Laura Stevenson. Last Friday she and her four bandmates turned MilkBoy into an echo chamber for the soul.
A voice both delicate and direct, Stevenson aims for the orchestral and the highly intimate on her 2013 masterwork Wheel. The crowd was hanging on her every syllable, often singing along to such catchy works as “Runner” and “Eleonora.” Continue reading →