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Lykke Li gave an enchanting and engaging performance at Union Transfer

Lykke Li | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Lykke Li | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Swedish indie pop singer-songwriter Lykke Li took the stage to a packed Union Transfer on Wednesday night. Touring in support of her third LP I Never Learn, which was released in May, Li performed a set of upbeat and evocative songs of heartbreak primarily off her latest album and her previous LP Wounded Rhymes. Midway through her set, she broke out two audience favorites from her debut album Youth Novels, “Dance, Dance, Dance” (during which she encourage the crowd to dance along) and “Little Bit.” Continue reading →

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Banks entrances a sold-out Union Transfer crowd

Banks | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Banks | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Up and coming alternative R&B artist BANKS returned to Philadelphia on Saturday night at Union Transfer as part of her Goddess Tour. Despite the fact that her debut album, Goddess, was only released earlier this month, BANKS already has an impressive following drawing a sold-out crowd for an emotional set of evocative, heartbroken songs. With a two-piece backing playing a mix of drums, keyboard, guitar, and electronic effects, her minimal yet soulful performance entranced the crowd throughout the night. Continue reading →

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Agnes Obel performed a stunning set at World Cafe Live

Agnes Obel | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Agnes Obel | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Danish singer-songwriter and pianist Agnes Obel played a mesmerizing set at World Cafe Live on Tuesday night. Returning to the US for part of her global tour in support of her sophomore LP, Aventine (2013), Obel primarily performed songs from that record, as well as a few selections from her debut release Philharmonics (2010).

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Jack Johnson and Amos Lee serenaded a sold-out Mann Center crowd

Jack Johnson| photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Jack Johnson| photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson took the stage at the Mann Center to a sold-out show on Friday night. Playing an impressive non-stop two hour set of a mix of new songs off his latest LP, From Here To Now To You, and many old favorites from his previous five studio albums, Johnson got the audience clapping and singing along throughout the night. Special guest and Philly native Amos Lee joined Johnson onstage midway through the show to perform “Inaudible Melodies” and an energetic cover of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on the) Dock of the Bay.” Johnson was backed by multi-instrumentalist Zach Gill, percussionist Adam Topol, and bass player Merlo Podlewski.
Johnson closed the main set performing “Good People”  but the crowd couldn’t get enough of his laid-back sound, so heand his band returned to the stage for a unique five song encore. Johnson slowed it down with acoustic performances of “I Got You” and “Do You Remember.” Lee then joined Johnson on stage for the rest of the encore. 
Earlier in the evening, Lee opened the show with a set of folksy, bluesy tunes in support of his newest album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song. Check out the setlist and photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Columbus alt folk five-piece Saintseneca brings Dark Arc to Johnny Brenda’s

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Saintseneca | photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Columbus, Ohio-based indie folk band Saintseneca returned to Philly on Wednesday night. Playing a show at Johnny Brenda’s in support of their latest LP, Dark Arc, the multi-instrumental band led by frontman Zac Little played a lively set of alt folk songs. Throughout the show, each member of the band swapped instruments between songs. Indie pop group Memory Map opened second with an energetic set of music off of their new album,The Sky As Well As Space. Scranton 4-piece band Three Man Cannon opened the show playing a set in support of their latest release, Pretty Many People. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Dawes backs Conor Oberst at a sold-out Union Transfer show

Conor Oberst | photo by Michelle Montgomery
Conor Oberst | photo by Michelle Montgomery

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst took the stage at Union Transfer playing a sold-out show on Wednesday night. Touring in support of his latest solo LP, Upside Down Mountain, Oberst played a guitar-heavy mix of new tracks and old favorites. Since Upside Down Mountain was released just days before the show, many of the country/folk-inspired songs were not previously heard by the audience. Oberst was backed by roots rock band Dawes, who also opened the show. Playing in Philly for the first time since the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival, Dawes played an energetic set in support of their 2013 release Stories Don’t End. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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John Legend dazzles in a homecoming show at Verizon Hall

John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
John Legend | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

R&B nine-time Grammy award-winning artist John Legend took the stage at Verizon Hall on Tuesday night. Playing a sold-out stripped-down acoustic set in support of his latest album, Love in the Future, Legend – who got his start as a musician locally while attending University of Pennsylvania – wooed the audience with his soulful, piano-driven performance, accompanied by a guitarist and a string quartet. Despite the large size of the performance hall, Legend’s frequent interactions with the audience made the show seem quite intimate. He was open to song requests, and he encouraged the audience to clap and sing along at points during the night.

Throughout the show, Legend shared several personal stories with the audience in between songs. At one point, he described his method of writing songs, stating that the music comes to him first, followed by gibberish placeholder vocals, and eventually the lyrics pieced together into a story to make a song. In addition to performing selections from his latest album as well as older favorites, Legend performed a couple powerful, yet delicate cover songs. He did Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” revealing that Springsteen requested that Legend perform his interpretation of this song at the 2013 MusiCares event honoring Springsteen himself. After sharing a story about how his grandmother had such a strong influence on his music, Legend dedicated a soulful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in her memory. After a standing ovation, Legend closed the show with an encore performance of his smash hit “All of Me.” Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Bombay Bicycle Club get fans moving with So Long, See You Tomorrow at Union Transfer

Bombay Bicycle Club | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Bombay Bicycle Club | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

English indie rock group Bombay Bicycle Club played a packed house at Union Transfer on Wednesday night n support of their 2014 release So Long, See YouTomorrow. The band played a lively set consisting of every song from their latest LP, as well as a selection of songs from A Different Kind of Fix (2011) and I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose (2009). The packed audience couldn’t resist dancing to their infectiously catchy and upbeat music. The group later slowed down the pace as they performed their softer piano ballad “Eyes Off You,” making it one of the only subdued moments of the night. Winnipeg experimental indie pop group Royal Canoe opened the show. Playing a set in support of their 2013 debut LP Today We’re Believers, the band engaged the crowd with their eclectic sound. Check out a photo recap of the show below.

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Daniel Rossen mixes new and old in rare solo show at Underground Arts

Daniel Rossen | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Daniel Rossen | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Rossen played a solo, seated show at Underground Arts on Monday. Best known for his work with Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles, this is his first ever solo tour. Rossen released his debut EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile in 2012. Rossen’s intimate performance included a mix of songs off his EP and older, unreleased songs. Jokingly referring to the venue’s set up feeling a bit like an open mic night, Rossen played a cover of Judee Sill’s “Waterfall” requested by someone in the audience. Rossen closed the show playing banjo to his song “Balmy Night,” leaving the stage to a long and loud round of applause and cheering.

Nashville-based guitarist William Tyler opened the show playing a collection of songs off his 2013 LP Impossible Truth. Playing a set of emotionally charged instrumental music, Tyler entranced the crowd with his multi-layered guitar arrangements. Check out a photo recap of the show below.

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Ethereal UK beatmakers London Grammar played a captivating set at Underground Arts

London Grammar | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
London Grammar | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

UK trip-hop trio London Grammar returned to Underground Arts on Saturday night as part of their North American tour. Playing a sold-out show, lead singer Hannah Reid captivated the crowd with her soaring, yet intimate vocals. Backed by Dot Major on keyboards, djembe, and drums and Dan Rothman on guitar, the band played a mesmerizing 10-song set of sparse and ethereal electronic pop off their debut album If You Wait and Metal & Dust EP. Brooklyn indie pop group Haerts opened the show playing a synth-pop set including songs from their 2013 EP Hemiplegia. Check out the set list and a photo recap of the show below.

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