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American Diamond Recordings celebrates their first show at Boot & Saddle

The Lawsuits | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
The Lawsuits | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Togetherness and unity were certainly in the air pre-Independence Day when American Diamond Recordings hosted their first showcase at Boot & Saddle. The new Philly record label comprised of five local bands celebrated their out-coming with performances from each group, including The Levee Drivers, T.J. Kong & The Atomic Bomb, Ron Gallo, The Lawsuits, and a special set by a band who went by the moniker Eight Legged Prawn. The show was also a celebration of Marley McNamara’s birthday, and most figured out that Eight Legged Prawn was actually one of the bands she manages, The Districts.

It was easy to tell that these artists performing don’t just make music together, they are family.

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A pop-punk night to remember with Say Anything, The Front Bottoms and more

Say Anything | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Say Anything | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Thursday night the Electric Factory brought out pop punk fans of a new and old generation – “old” meaning the early aughts.

Supporting acts included You Blew It!The So So Glos and indie punk faves The Front Bottoms. You Blew It! and The So So Glos played uplifting sets, gearing up for the madness that was going to ensue for The Front Bottoms.

The Jersey four-piece rocked out singing numbers off their brand new EP, Rose. Lead singer Brian Sella told the teeming and enthusiastic audience “I can already tell this is going to be one of those shows that I’m going to remember the rest of my life.” He does a great job making a personal connection with the audience, taking selfies with them and making sure to look and smile at every person in his field of view. The band fired off its custom-made wacky waving inflatable flailing-arm man for the last couple of songs, and members of You Blew It! joined them onstage too, thrashing around and jumping on top of one another, picking up cymbal stands and banging them on the floor. And the crowd relished in all of it.

Following the craziness of TFB, headliners Say Anything took the stage. The band is touring is support of their new album Hebrews, out this month on Equal Vision Records. As a big Say Anything fan spiraling back to their album Is a Real Boy, I was hoping to hear all the hits from that record, and was only somewhat satisfied with a few majors fell short. Stand outs from the set included “Spider”, “Wow I can Get Sexual Too” as well as “Do Better” from their self-titled album. During the song “Cemetery”, lead singer Max Bemis’s wife, Sherri Dupree of the pop band Eisley came out to contribute guest vocals along with their adorable daughter, a rock star in the making for sure. Say Anything continued to rock out, led by Bemis’s powerful frontman vibrato. During the encore, he even pulled out an acoustic solo cover of ‘Ol Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money”. The evening ended on a high note with every band from the night joining Say Anything on stage to belt out the song, “Belt”. With a lot of friendship, a lot of sweat, and a whole lot of screaming, all of the performing bands put on a rad show that gave everyone in attendance – in the crowd and onstage – an evening to remember.

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Raising money for an important cause: Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better benefit with Kurt Vile, The Districts and The Tontons at Union Transfer

Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | Kurt Vile & The Violators | Photo by Rachel Barrish | The Districts | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Connor Barwin | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Last night Union Transfer was a filled with good vibes, good friends, and great music, all for an excellent cause. It was a benefit for Philadelphia Eagles player Connor Barwin’s Make the World Better Foundation. One day while riding his park through South Philly, Barwin came across a park at 28th and Tasker Streets that looked like it needed a big make-over and he decided to start this worthy foundation to raise money for it.

The evening started off with one of Connor’s favorite bands from Texas, The Tontons. Front the rock band is afro pop vocalist Asli Omar with rich and enticing vocals. They played their song “Lush” from a session they did with Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through. The Tontons were followed by the ever-so-always-all-the time-awesome The Districts who came home to Philly for a show after their tour across the country with Dr. Dog. The fiery foursome opened with “Lyla” and were constantly moving around the stage exuding tons of energy. Last but not least, a slight change from the prior crazy constant motions of The Districts, Kurt Vile & The Violators delivered a set of their psychedelic sounds. The crowd rejoiced when Connor Barwin returned to the stage to announce that over $120,000 was raised and would be donated to Ralph Brooks park.

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Atmosphere brings its storytelling hip-hop to the Electric Factory

Atmosphere | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Atmosphere | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

On the heels of their seventh album, Southsiders, Atmosphere made a stop at the Electric Factory, warming up the show for Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. While the duo of rapper  Sean Daley, AKA Slug, and producer / DJ Anthony Davis, AKA Ant, might not be household names in the same way Kanye is, if you have heard of them you will know how long they have been around. Since 1989, to be exact, and these Minneapolis heroes make hip hop sound like telling a bedtime story.

Slug comanded the fairly small audience, interacting with crowd members and turning regular stories into songs. His rhymes have always had well-defined lyrics; he focuses on real life situations like love and death and loneliness and last night he told the audience to “raise your hands if you’re happy to be alive.” I was definitely a happy camper when one of the final songs he performed was “Yesterday” from the 2008 record When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold. He ended by thanking the audience for “puttin’ up with our shit.”

Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.

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Unpacking Gov Ball: A massive-yet-intimate summertime music hang

| Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
| Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Friday started off like a whirlwind. An epic journey from Philadelphia–>North Jersey–>Brooklyn–>Randall’s Island.

The final destination was where this year’s Governor’s Ball took place, about a 20 minute trek over the Triborough Bridge. This intimate, yet vastly sizable island was the perfect place for a music festival. The grounds made for a good fit for four large stages and a sensational line up of music. The line up was diverse and well suited with everything from electronic rock to progressive hip hop to rap artists to indie rock favorites like Spoon and The Strokes. Nostalgia was definitely a major part of the weekend, seeing bands like OutKast who have been around for twenty years and haven’t put out an album in about eight. Other blasts from the past included Neko Case and TV on the Radio, a bit timid in the beginning of their performances but overall glad and excited to be performing.

The festival grounds held about 100,000 people from all walks of the East Coast and some from across the border (Canada). There were girls draped in hippy flower crowns and sometimes nothing else but tape over their chest. Noticeably there were a lot of flower printed Hawaiian shirts and apparel, including Earl Sweatshirt and Julian Casablancas during his performance with The Strokes. The summer vibes were certainly in swing, no one could have asked for a more perfect sun-filled weekend. New festival favorite gimmick was flotation devices, people brought in their own pool floaties and were able to chill out on the grass without getting dirty. Check out a full recap of photos from Gov Ball in the gallery below; for our daily recaps, click here.
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Governor’s Ball Day 3: Banks, Earl Sweatshirt, James Blake, The Head and The Heart and more

Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Yesterday wrapped up our third day exploring Randall’s Island and the sights and sounds of this year’s Governors Ball Music Festival.

Skaters | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Skaters | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

New York City rock band Skaters turned up the heat on an already scorching Sunday afternoon.

Earl Sweatshirt | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Earl Sweatshirt | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Rapper Earl Sweatshirt emerged on stage decked out in beachwear while fans sang along to the lyrics from his latest album, Doris. Continue reading →

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Governor’s Ball Day Two: The Strokes, Jack White, RJD2, Spoon, and more

Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Yesterday we took our places in the crowd at New York’s Randall’s Island for day two of Governor’s Ball, catching everything from garage punk to hip-hop, electronic music and bluesy rock and roll.

Diarrhea Planet | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Diarrhea Planet | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Nashville, Tennessee noise rockers, Diarrhea Planet brought their energy, and flexibility to the stage on Saturday afternoon.

RJD2 | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
RJD2 | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Ramble John Krohn, aka Philly’s RJD2, tuned up the turn tables at Gov Ball. Today he’s spinning pop-up sets on the ferry to Randall’s Island.

Lucius | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Lucius | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

The ladies of Lucius emerged on stage in their sequin dresses and alien-like sunglasses to a packed crowd bringing their indie pop energy. They are another band we can’t wait to see at XPoNential Fest next month. Continue reading →

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Governor’s Ball Day One: Kurt Vile, Jenny Lewis, TV On the Radio, OutKast and more

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The 4th annual Governors Ball is taking place on Randall’s Island in NYC and we are there to capture all three days of live music.

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‘ Kurt Vile & the Violators | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Hometown boys, Kurt Vile & The Violators hung out on the Big Apple stage during the first day of Gov Ball

Janelle Monae | Photo by Rachel Barrish |  rachelbarrish.com
Janelle Monae | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

The fabulous and frantic Janelle Monae came on the stage in a straight jacket (similar to her performance at the Roots Picnic two weeks ago) and broke free giving the audience a superb afternoon.

Washed Out | Photo by Rachel Barrish |  rachelbarrish.com
Washed Out | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Indie rock group Washed Out performed an excellent set in the Gotham Tent during day one of Gov Ball

Concert goer and Drexel student | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Concert goer and Drexel student | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Rachel Barrish |  rachelbarrish.com
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Getting stoked for XPoNential Fest? Same here. Jenny Lewis put on a kick-butt performance playing tunes from her new album and some Rilo Kiley numbers. Can’t wait to see her again next month. Continue reading →

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David Gray previews his new Mutineers at Temple Performing Arts Center

David Gray | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
David Gray | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Last night British singer, songwriter, and composer David Gray graced the stage of the Temple University Performing Arts Center, giving fans a taste of his upcoming album Mutineers. Gray brought with him an eight-piece band equipped with strings, keys and backing vocalists, and began the sold out show with material from the new album, set to release in June. Various audience members shouted song suggestions from his back-catalog, but Gray replied “New stuff first, chill out.” Needless to say, the remainder of his set did not disappoint. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Vacationer & Hellogoodbye double header at Underground Arts

Vacationer | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Last night, power-pop vets Hellogoodbye teamed up with summery locals Vacationer to headline a packed performance at Underground Arts. A lot has changed with Hellogoodbye since their breakout album in 2006, when “Touchdown Turnaround” was the sound track on innumerable summer mix tapes. Since those wasted teenage years the band has released two full lengths, Would it Kill You? on their own label, Wasted Summer, followed by Everything is Debatable in 2013 on Old Friends Records. Philly favorites, Vacationer rounded out the bill delivering their breezy lullabies and synthpop tunes from Gone. The band is currently working on a new album called Relief, to be released in June. The new song, “The Wild Life” has a cool afropop, ‘circle of life’ theme. The Austin, TX band Heavenly Beat opened the show with their buzzing pop vibes. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.