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Margo Price works the crowd, honors Leonard Cohen at World Cafe Live

Margo Price | photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN
Margo Price | photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN

On Thursday evening, Margo Price held court at World Cafe Live Philadelphia. The Nashville singer-songwriter has been rising to the top this year after releasing her debut album, Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, on Third Man Records.

With a tight twang and booming voice, Price took the crowd by storm, covering all of the fan favorites from her anthem “Tennessee” to the heartbreaking “Hands of Time,” diving offstage to dance with the crowd on the main set closer “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle).” Continue reading →

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Intimacy and Exhuberance: Dylan LeBlanc shows off his range at Boot & Saddle

Dylan LeBlanc | Photo by Hope Helmuth | http://www.hopehelmuth.com/
Dylan LeBlanc | Photo by Hope Helmuth | http://www.hopehelmuth.com/

A gorgeous Friday afternoon in Philadelphia was accompanied by the sultry sounds of Dylan LeBlanc playing World Cafe Live for Free at Noon. That evening LeBlanc delivered yet another flawless performance at Boot and Saddle. The night began with the high energy folk/bluegrass stylings of The Chip Breakers, who warmed up the crowd for the greatly anticipated headliner. Continue reading →

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Delta Spirit frontman Matthew Logan Vasquez digs deeper at Boot and Saddle

Matthew Logan Vasquez | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
Matthew Logan Vasquez | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

On Tuesday night, Delta Spirit frontman Matthew Logan Vasquez made a stop at Philadelphia’s Boot and Saddle, performing material from his new album Solicitor Returns. The new collection dives into a harder rock and roll aesthetic and is crafted with manic instrumentals. The album is also comprised of a few ballads that have a strong way of hypnotizing you, “Bound To Her,” being one of them.

Vasquez’s new music really seems to dig a little deeper, and that showed watching his solo performance at the Boot. The singer songwriter played his wailing hit “Maria,” telling the crowd it was a story about the devil. Later in the set we heard an energetic singalong of “Halfcoalt.” Vasquez even brought us back to his Middle Brother days performing the super group’s hit “Blue Eyes.” The night closed with a bunch of shirtless men moshing to the the tortured “Everything I Do Is Out,” Vasquez proving that he continues to be a prolific songwriter with his gritty rock anthems. Continue reading →

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Indie rock showman Father John Misty took the Fillmore Stage this weekend

Father John Misty | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | <a href=http://hopehelmuth.com target="_blank">hopehelmuth.com</a>
Father John Misty | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

Erotic, comedic and at times even disturbing, we experienced all the feels when Father John Misty stopped by The Fillmore on Saturday night.

FJM (offstage name: Josh Tillman) made his mystical presence known to a screaming crowd as he took the stage. Within minutes he dropped down on his knees, holding a fan’s hand while singing. The crowd soaked in all of his spontaneous behavior. Later in the set he lifted someone’s iPhone to the stage to the excitement of a fan who was recording a video – something he did last time he was in town, at Union Transfer.

The crowd soaked in all this spontaneous (and seemingly spontaneous) behavior, and there were definitely fans that were losing their minds. We even had a fainter in the house. It was made very clear that the audience had a new favorite sex symbol. Continue reading →

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Here are four Philly-region artists who knocked us out at SXSW

Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
Vita and the Woolf | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

Austin, Texas felt the brotherly love of Philadelphia this week at SXSW in a major way. Some of our favorite local acts made their presence known at a festival where there’s just to much to see. Sixth street in downtown Austin hosts most of the craziness that is SXSW.

On Thursday afternoon Vita and the Woolf took the stage at The Big Bang delivering an electrifying performance. The Philly duo lit up the stage and brought tons of life to the earlier quite bar. Through the rest of the festival, Philly-region bands showed that they are a force to be reckoned with on the national stage.

On another early afternoon show Slingshot Dakota brought their unique and energetic sound to the Swan Dive Bar. After playing many shows throughout the week, Slingshot left SXSW on a high note. Shortly after, Kississippi played an evening show at The Long Branch Inn in East Austin. It was a flawless set for a crowd of eager listeners.

At the end of Saturday night we closed things out with Low Cut Connie at Parish. The room was packed and moved to the energy of the vivacious band. The set was full of front kicks, walks into the crowd and just plain fun for everyone.  Continue reading →

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Rayland Baxter warms up the World Cafe Live audience

Rayland Baxter | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
Rayland Baxter | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

The last time we saw Rayland Baxter was on a warm summer night opening up for Grace Potter at The Susquehanna Bank Center.  In contrast to that night, there was still post-blizzard snow dusting the streets last weekend when he appeared at World Cafe Live.

With the air of a folksy troubadour, Baxter and his band played many favorites from his newest album Imaginary Man as well as some songs from his debut Feathers & Fishhooks.  Between songs, Baxter touched on the history of his songwriting routing back to his days in Israel.  Continue reading →

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The Arcs bridge soul and psychedelia at The Fillmore

The Arcs | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
The Arcs | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

Wednesday night, The Arcs weaved a tapestry of psychedelic sound with in the walls of The Fillmore. The group is the new rock outfit of Dan Auerbach, frontman of the Black Keys. The night kicked off with a unique set from New York’s all-female Mariachi Flor De Toloache, who treated the audience to their take on traditional Mexican music as well as a very cool Nirvana medley.

The singers joined the Arcs on stage as back up to the commanding Auerbach. A very visually stimulating and moving back drop set the scene for a fusion of blues, rock, psych, and whatever else you can name to capture The Arcs’ unique sound. Continue reading →

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Dawes powers through a set at The Grand Opera House

Dawes | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
Dawes | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

The historic Grand Opera House in Wilmington was host to a special evening this Sunday with Hiss Golden Messenger and the proven powerhouse that is Dawes.

The theater, with all its personality, set the scene for an extraordinary rock-show soundscape. Hiss Golden Messenger gave the crowd just what they needed with sultry tunes to prepare them for the fearless yet comforting Dawes. Playing with the heat of their latest album, All Your Favorite Bands, Dawes gave us a set list full of the new hits including “Things Happen” and “Somewhere Along the Way.” Continue reading →

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Americana powerhouse The Lone Bellow take Union Transfer to church

The Lone Bellow | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com
The Lone Bellow | Photo by Hope Helmuth | hopehelmuth.com

The Lone Bellow came through Philadelphia on Thursday night and did not fail to create an all-encompassing Americana atmosphere. The Brooklyn band, who we last saw at XPN Fest this summer, has been touring hard in support of its sophomore album Then Came the Morning, released in January,

Anderson East opened the show delivering nostalgic R&B stand out songs backed by his band who were beyond tight. East is currently supporting his soul filled debut album, Delilah. Later in the set, he nailed an energy packed cover of Rod Stewart’s Stay With Me bringing nearly the entire venue rushing to the floor. Continue reading →