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Ohio songstress Lydia Loveless rocked MilkBoy with TJ Kong, Josh Olmstead

Lydia Loveless | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Lydia Loveless | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Equal parts rock and country, Lydia Loveless is a shot of rhythmic fire. And for 90-plus minutes last Thursday the Ohio-based songstress and her band held a crowded MilkBoy under her spell.

Only 24, Loveless spins tales of desire and soul with a knowhow of someone twice her age. Her voice curls with country swirl on songs like the utterly brilliant “To Love Somebody,” while her lyrics often instantly become memorable, like on “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud.” Both aforementioned songs are from her solid 2014 album Somewhere Else, which was heavily featured in the setlist. Continue reading →

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Going outdoors with Screaming Females, Shellshag at Don Giovanni Records showcase

Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

To spend the last Saturday of summer outside in beautiful weather is a must. But to get live music with the sun and warmth is even better. Throw in some punk and indie rock sensibilities and you get last weekend’s Don Giovanni Records showcase at Boyd Park in New Brunswick, New Jersey. With the Raritan River as a stunning backdrop, the awesome forces of Screaming Females, Shellshag and six other bands were quite a treat. Continue reading →

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Shovels and Rope had a rousing hootenanny at Union Transfer

Shovels and Rope | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Shovels and Rope | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

The ability of two people to rock a venue like Union Transfer from the stage all the way to the back of the balcony is certainly rare. On Wednesday night Shovels & Rope showed they can do this from their first notes to the last in a rousing hootenanny before a packed house.

Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are husband and wife and the duo of Shovels & Rope. Switching from drums to guitar and back throughout the night, they show great versatility. Their love for music and each other shines through as well. Continue reading →

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Strand of Oaks makes an electrifying homecoming at Boot and Saddle

Strand of Oaks | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Strand of Oaks | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Before the first of two sold-out homecoming shows for Strand of Oaks on Friday at Boot & Saddle, I briefly told Oaks’ leader, Timothy Showalter, how much I loved the record and how excited I was for the show. Returning my handshake, Showalter reciprocated his excitement for what was to come with a beaming smile and utter giddiness. This genuine excitement for the performance was palpable throughout his band’s 75-minute set. It was a sea of joy and pathos, misery and head banging; it was rock of the highest order. Continue reading →

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It’s been so long since Jack White came to Philly, we went to Maryland to see Jack White. And it was outstanding.

Jack White | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Jack White | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Pardon me if I was not sweating by the end of Jack White’s rip-roaring 105-minute set on Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland; it was a nippy 55 degrees by show’s end. The nearly sold-out crowd was certainly in a heated frenzy from start to finish as White orchestrated a set that spanned his two solo albums, The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs.

Notorious for moody and eccentric behavior, White seemed nothing but pleased to be playing on a Sunday night. From the first notes of the show-opening White Stripes’ song “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” onward, the crowd was on its feet. Lit exclusively by blue lights, White, with a new hairdo that appeared inspired by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, did what he does best: paint an aural landscape of sublime rock ’n’ roll with his guitar brilliance and bluesy vocals. Continue reading →

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Singular songwriter Chris Isaak takes to the Keswick stage

Chris Isaak | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Chris Isaak | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Whether you hear Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” for the first time or the 50th, it is still unlike any song from 1989 or 2014. And to see Isaak performing this and any of the dozens of songs he has created or covered is a must-see. I finally caught him on Friday at the Keswick and was as ecstatic with the show as the rest of the nearly sold-out crowd. Continue reading →

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Twang and Rock in Rittenhouse: Katie Frank, Divers, DJ Lisa Love play Philly Weekly’s Concerts in the Park

Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

On Wednesday night Rittenhouse Square played host to the first of two Concerts in the Park sponsored by Philadelphia Weekly. The 24th year of this concert series kicked off with three woman-fronted acts: DJ Lisa Love, Folk Fest-bound band Katie Frank & The Pheremones and Divers. It was a diverse mix of musical interests on display, from the Americana and roots of Frank to the indie rock of Divers, with some classic hip-hop thrown in from Love. Continue reading →

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Tori Amos dazzles Verizon Hall with a career-spanning set

Tori Amos
Tori Amos | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

On Sunday night, Tori Amos took Broad Street by storm. At the nearly sold-out Verizon Hall, Amos, armed only with her Bosendorfer piano, a keyboard and an organ, unlocked her musical treasure-trove for a stirring 20-song set.

Theoretically touring behind her 2014 album Unrepentant Geraldines (she only played two tracks from the album), Amos dug deep into her catalog and her diverse musical interests. Continue reading →

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The Rosebuds played a vibrant set to a packed Boot and Saddle

The Rosebuds | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
The Rosebuds | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

We all have bands we love that we wish would make it big. Among mine are The Rosebuds. They certainly have found success, as Merge signed them back in 2003 and they have worked with big-name collaborators like Justin Vernon. The well-attended Boot & Saddle show on Thursday night showed a demand for their indie-pop aesthetics. But at the end of the day they should at the very least entertain a full house at Union Transfer. Why? Harmonies, percussion, keys and strings floating between early ‘60s rock, Hall and Oates and the dance floor make them a unique, creative force that exists in a class of its own.

Ivan Howard, with his newsboy cap and rich vocals, and Kelly Crisp, front-and-center on keyboards with sweet harmonies at the ready, were a joy to watch. The one-time married couple are completely in-synch musically, leading The Rosebuds current line-up. Among the mix were drummer Rob Lackey, guitarist Brian Weeks and bassist and back-up vocalist Mark Paulson. Continue reading →

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Lera Lynn and The Wallace Brothers Band bring Eagleview two sides of Americana

Lera Lynn | Photo by  Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Lera Lynn | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

On Tuesday a sublime summer night was the backdrop in Eagleview Town Center in Exton, PA for a double-header free concert of Lera Lynn and The Wallace Brothers Band. Both artists pulled from the roots music / singer-songwriter tradition, but with two distinctive takes on it.

First up was the alt-country Lynn. Touring behind her new release of The Avenues, Lynn and guitarist/producer Joshua Grange stung the night with notes of rock and Americana. Continue reading →