The Key’s Year End Mania: Ellen Miller’s best commute music of 2018

Julien Baker | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
Julien Baker | Photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key photographer Ellen Miller shares her best music for car-rides in 2018.

From early morning drives to beat the sun, to spending lunchtime on the road moving from one job to the next, to the late night drives home from a shoot — this year, I found myself drawn to particular artists or songs at various times of the day. I go everywhere all the time for jobs, and in 2018 I’ve definitely spent more time driving all over greater Philadelphia than using SEPTA, compared to years past. When in the car that much, it’s nice to have variety in what you listen to. Sometimes I’d just throw the radio on and occasionally I’d prefer silence for a bit, but often times I’d make playlists to put me in the right mindset for going to a shoot or to relax myself after a shoot. Below are my most listened to songs and artists during my commutes at various times of day in 2018. Continue reading →


Hiss Golden Messenger brings Hallelujah Anyhow back to Union Transfer

Hiss Golden Messenger | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |
Hiss Golden Messenger | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

It was an evening with Hiss Golden Messenger on Wednesday night as Durham, NC singer-songwriter M.C. Taylor brought his four-piece band to Philadelphia to headline Union Transfer. The band’s most recent album, Hallalujah Anyhow, is just over a year old, and their set mixed up songs from it, as well as their recent Heart Like a Levee from 2016 and a mix of their back-catalog, including cuts from 2012’s Poor Moon and 2014’s Lateness of DancersContinue reading →


This is the Kit came back to Fishtown for an expansive Johnny Brenda’s gig

This is the Kit - Photo by- Ellen Miller for WXPN |
This is the Kit | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Exactly seven months after her last trip across the pond, This is the Kit was back in Fishtown for round two at Johnny Brenda’s. On Saturday night, Kate Stables played new and old songs with her full band to the nearly filled Johnny Brenda’s room fans.

With Kate Stables in the audience, Adam Schatz (of the band Landlady) kicked off the night with an intriguing solo set during he rotated between a tenor saxophone, keys, and vocals. Continue reading →


Stories and Songs, Humor and Heartbreak: Glen Hansard captivates at Union Transfer

Glen Hansard | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |
Glen Hansard | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Dubin balladeer Glen Hansard kicked off 2018 with his new album Between Two Shores and a tour of Europe, England, and America. That trek ended in Philadelphia Sunday night with a near three-hour set at Union Transfer and his entire band joining him for Irish folk song “The Auld Triangle.” Despite the new album he release in January, Hansard did not actually play many songs from it. The 20+ song setlist was made up of a good mix; lots of old, a few new, and some covers.

Union Transfer does not typically bring up feelings of intimacy, not compared to the smaller venues in Philly at least. Glen Hansard may have changed that (for me) on Sunday night. With small, red lamps scattered around the various instruments on stage and very minimal use of the stage lights set, the atmosphere with a feeling of closeness that could make you forget you’re not at a small club or coffeehouse. But the band played with a sound that could draw you in in any space. Continue reading →


The Key’s Year End Mania: Ellen Miller’s top five gig foods

Superiority Burger | Photo by: Ellen
Superiority Burger | photo by Ellen Miller

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, photographer Ellen Miller thinks back on her best concert sustenance of the year.

As I think back to all the different concerts and live music I saw over the last 12 months (about 60+) my mind floods with memories of not only the shows themselves but also the food I ate before or after. Whether it was a quick bite between the end of work and heading to the venue or an afternoon spent in NYC before the show, I can’t go to a concert without it involving food. I’ve even made the joke that I only go to concerts in order to have an excuse to try all this fun food! While that may not actually true, coming up with a new or fun food place to try is definitely something I look forward to just as much as whichever show I’m going to. At times I may even get more excited by the food I’m planning to eat than the actual gig itself. Continue reading →


PHOTOS: Low Cut Connie holds court at Union Transfer

Low Cut Connie | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
Low Cut Connie | Photo by: Ellen Miller |

It was one big local music party last Friday night on Spring Garden street. Piano-powered rock outfit Low Cut Connie headlined a packed house at Union Transfer in support of their high-energy 2017 outing Dirty Pictures (Part 1).

The Connie crew was ushered in with warm-up sets from soulful Philly singer Ali Wadsworth, not to mention West Philly rapper Chill Moody and his dynamic band.

Check out photos from the show below, and keep tabs on Low Cut Connie’s tour exploits at Facebook. Continue reading →


(Sandy) Alex G ends tour with an epic, sold out night at Union Transfer

Alex G | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
(Sandy) Alex G | Photo by Ellen Miller |

On Saturday night, (Sandy) Alex G ended a string of tour dates back home by selling out Union Transfer. After five weeks on the road with Cende and Japanese Breakfast opening for him, the bands were in top form and you could feel the excitement as fans crowded the room. Throughout all three sets it was a fun, laid back gig, complete with Tom Cochrane’s “Life is the Highway” serving as entrance and exit music. Continue reading →


The Wayne Music Festival brings a whole lot of local acts and more to the burbs

Ben Arnold | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
Ben Arnold | Photo by: Ellen Miller |

After having a couple years off from hosting its annual jazz festival, the town of Wayne brought it back as the Wayne Music Festival,  incorporating more rock and acoustic artists with the jazz music. Now in its third year, the Wayne Music Festival got yet another big upgrade with a third stage and even more (local) musicians to entertain the suburbs. It may not qualify as a jazz festival anymore, but this year’s Wayne Music Festival managed to bring out more than enough music fans to pack the center of Wayne by the time Rusted Root started their headlining set on Saturday night. Continue reading →