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Initial Philadelphia Folk Festival 2015 lineup includes Arlo Guthrie, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Shakey Graves

Arlo Guthrie | photo via risingsonrecords.com

The initial wave of Philadelphia Folk Festival 2015 artists was announced today, and it includes an appearance by folk scene legend Arlo Guthrie, performing for the 50th anniversary of his album (and song) Alice’s Restaurant.

Also appearing are Kansas City mother-son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Austin troubadour Shakey Graves, and Colombian ensemble El Caribefunk, who made a splash at last year’s Folk Festival during their summer residency in Philadelphia. Local Brazilian-dance troupe PhillyBloco and Oklahoma singer-songwriter Parker Millsap are on tap as well. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hippo Campus at Union Transfer, RX Bandits at The Troc, Cold Fronts at The Depot and more

Hippo Campus | Photo via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thehalocline?fref=nf
Hippo Campus | Photo via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thehalocline

Get to Union Transfer early tonight: twin cities rockers Hippo Campus will open the show for The Mowgli’s. Think of this young four-piece as the Vampire Weekend of the midwest; they incorporate lively Afro-beat melodies into fuzzy indie rock, nicely exemplified by “Suicide Saturday,” which you can download below. Continue reading →

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First impressions of Fishtown’s new Fillmore Philly

Fillmore Philly | Photo by John Vettese
Fillmore Philly | Photo by John Vettese

A crowd stood on the outside of an iron fence and stared up at an old brick industrial site where, up until now, nobody goes in and nobody comes out.

There were definite Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes in the air yesterday morning – or maybe that was the table of Federal Donuts talking – for Live Nation’s press conference announcing Fillmore Philly. The new live music venue slated for a fall opening sits at the end of Frankford Avenue, at the bustling cultural / entertainment nexus of Fishtown, Northern Liberties and Delaware Ave.

Plans for the Fillmore seem like it will combine elements of all those neighborhoods: a rough-hewn artful exterior and a selection of craft beer and food inside, plush and loungey atmospheric elements with a chandelier-ed “Circle Bar”, a bit of loud nightlife bombast (if the pre-press conference playlist, featuring The Neighbourhood, Walk the Moon and Kongos is any indication of their bookings). Like Roald Dahl’s fantastical factory, there’s a bit of everything-at-once-ness to the plans, and a definite air of mystery – or questions worth pondering at any rate. But first, let’s stick to the facts. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rakim at Underground Arts, Bryant Eugene Vazquez at The Fire, Moon Bounce / Truewave at The Dolphin and more

Rakim | photo via facebook.com/rakimallah
Rakim | photo via facebook.com/rakimallah

Hip hop icon Rakim brings the heat to the Eraserhood tonight for a headlining show at Underground Arts. The Long Island MC first gained attention in the 80s as half of the pioneering duo Erik B. and Rakim; their albums Paid in Full and Let the Rhythm Hit ‘Em remain classics of the genre – or, really, of any genre. He’s also released four albums as a solo artist, most recently 2009′s The Seventh Seal. We’re expecting a career-spanning set tonight, plus a fierce opening spot by one of our Philly faves, Chill Moody. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Kiska

When Owen Staszewski isn’t pounding the drums in Ruby The Hatchet, he’s at the mic for another band of heavy rocking Philadelphians – Kiska. The new four-piece is actually relatively seasoned; it formed from the ashes, as the expression goes, of Philly modern rock outfit Desoto Jones. That long-running band had been experiencing shifts in lineup as well as sonic directions, and last year came to the conclusion that it had become a different band altogether. Rounded out by Owen’s brother Adam Staszewski on guitar, alongside bassist Ean Kyler and drummer Adam Francois, Kiska was born, and set to work recording its debut LP. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Retinas at MilkBoy, Trans Am at Boot and Saddle, Suzanne Vega at Levoy Theater

The Retinas | photo courtesy of the artist
The Retinas | photo courtesy of the artist

A rock four-piece made up of childhood friends, The Retinas busted onto the Philly scene last year with their debut LP Hello…My Name Is The Retinas. Like a slew of similar-minded Philly up-and-comers, the band has a fuzzy lo-fi garage rock sound a la Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, and this winter released the new single “Take Me By the Hand,” which you can check out below. They play MilkBoy tonight opening for Lee Baines III and The Glory Fires; tickets and more information on the show can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.
Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: For The Love of Gene at Ardmore Music Hall, Vita and the Woolf / Milton at Franky Bradley’s, Rhiannon Giddens at The TLA

Photo by Deneka Peniston
Photo by Deneka Peniston

He may have retired back in February, but the tributes to beloved Philly folk DJ Gene Shay keep on coming. Tonight, a crew of folk scene regulars – Hoots and Hellmouth, Ben Arnold, Burning Bridget Cleary and more – will gather at Ardmore Music Hall to celebrate Shay. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →