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Firefly On The Fly: Sunday sundown with Vampire Weekend, Hop Along, Car Seat Headrest, Jessie Reyez and more

Vampire Weekend | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The third and final day of this year’s Firefly Festival was a hot one for audiences and artists alike. Many people were spotted hanging more along the sides of the stage for shade and more than a few artists made comments along the lines of “It’s hot as fuck up here!” While it appeared that the daytime attendance was up on Sunday, the “Super VIP” section was lacking some Super VIPS and many were upgraded to get closer to their favorite artists. Continue reading →

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Firefly On The Fly: Saturday heat from Travis Scott, Death Cab For Cutie, Tank and the Bangas, Little Simz and more

Travis Scott | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If day one of the Firefly Music Festival was a great experience discovering new artists, day two was time for adjusting expectations. While there were plenty of highlights, some artists that have been talked up as the next big thing did not exactly deliver, while others performed strongly but were slotted on stages and at times that didn’t work. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s top five Instagrammers to follow in 2018

Ernest Stuart’s Instagram | still from video

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributor Maureen Walsh recaps the year’s best Instagram follows.

Tired of the arguments and pettiness of Facebook and Twitter, this year I (and many others) began focusing more of my time on Instagram. Seeing pictures of cats, sunny vacations, concerts, and fun hangouts beats witnessing one awkward argument after another between strangers.

There are five people that I have been following on Instagram that are funny, talented, and Gritty. Continue reading →

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Lisa Stansfield brought the Keswick Theater to its feet

Lisa Stansfield | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

By the second song in her set last night, Lisa Stansfield wanted everybody to get up and dance…and it seemed like everybody wanted to, except for one problem. We were at the Keswick Theater. To paraphrase a meme, one does not simply “get up” at the Keswick. The typical audience at the Glenside venue is largely made up of subscribers to its full season of shows; they wish to remain seated as though at a high school assembly, and they vocally express that everyone around them do the same.

Luckily, Stansfield knew the score and sensed that we were kind of sitting against our will.  Mid-way through a set of songs from her second album Real Love, many in the crowd gave her a standing ovation. “Stay standing!” she yelled gleefully and the rebellion began. But honestly, how can one sit through feel-good soul hits like “Change,” “Someday,” and “The Real Thing”? Continue reading →

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs return in triumphant form to bring the rock to the 215 Block Party

Yeah Yeah Yeahs | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

This past weekend, Chicago brewery Goose Island hosted their traveling Block Party at the Electric Factory. The event included reasonably priced food trucks, $3 Goose Island beers (from the 4.5% ABV variety all the way to their fancier fare upwards to 13% ABV) and oh yeah, music! The lineup was a mix of Philly, Chicago, and the return of New York’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The weather in Philly up until this weekend had been like walking around in a warm bath. While it is nice that the humid icky weather finally broke on Friday, having the 215 Block Party outside on an overcast drizzly evening put a slight damper on what was intended to be an end of summer party.   Continue reading →

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Listen to a Philly-style Broad Street Run playlist

clockwise from left: Hardwork Movement | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN // Marian Hill | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN // The Roots | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Hop Along | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN // King Britt | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Dr. Dog | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

On Sunday May 6th, thousands will gather at Broad and Olney and run 10 miles south to the Naval Yard for the 39th annual Broad Street Run.

Many of us runners have been to this rodeo several times, and while no race is the same, I find I have “beats” I follow during the course. First, Olney to the Temple University (around Broad and Cecil B Moore) is when I get warmed up, get used to the runners around me (and sometimes discover with horror that they are not prepared at all). Next, I move on to the more serious stretch, now that I’ve sprinted past the people who took the “fun” part of this a little too much to heart. This lasts until about Broad and Race. Then it’s bottleneck time around City Hall, where the phones come out for selfies with the skyline and where most family members stand to find their loved ones and shout their names repeatedly. I always use this time to slow down and go with it. Sometimes I’ll even spot a celebrity or two along this stretch.

Next up is the second set of “let’s get serious” running as I make my way through South Philly, read the hilarious signs people have held up for motivation and head towards that last stretch, under the tunnel, and through the Yard.

I know it’s not regulation, but I listen to music while running. Since I’m not an elite runner by any means, I need something to help soundtrack my epic journey through the city. This year, I’ve come up with a playlist that’s about 100 minutes long that encapsulates each part of the Broad Street Run. And, of course, it’s all Philly artists, from Vicki Sue Robinson to The Roots, Hurry to Meek Miil, Japanese Breakfast to Patti LaBelle, The War on Drugs to King Britt. Listen below, and use it for training, for race day, or simply for a good sampling of the sounds of Philly. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s songs that defined 2017

Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Maureen Walsh reflects on songs that echoed the complicated feelings of the year.

Last year, I was hoping that 2017 would be a time for healing. Welp, that didn’t go as planned. This year, we learned a lot hard truths. Some of these truths made a lot of us anxious and angry. Artists were anxious and angry too and used their art to reach out to us so we could all feel together. Continue reading →

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Listen to Questlove chat with Philly music icon James Mtume in his Questlove Supreme podcast

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on


For the last year, Roots drummer and musical history buff, Questlove, has been presenting his podcast Questlove Supreme on Pandora. The weekly show features musical legends telling their stories about the industry and creative process. For the past two weeks, QLS has featured South Philadelphia-born multi-instrumentalist and producer James Mtume.

Two episodes are not nearly enough to cover his eventful life and career but the Questlove Supreme team do their best to get it all in. Philly native Mtume was first known for being Miles Davis’ percussionist during his more experimental years in the mid-70s. He then began working with fellow Davis sideman Reggie Lucas on more conventional music and the two wrote “The Closer I Get To You,” for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. Despite doubts by Flack’s label, the song was not only included on her 1977 album Blue Lights in the Basement, but it became a huge hit single. Continue reading →