Festivals and I have such a love/hate relationship. Not only as a music lover and someone who works in the industry, but as a general human being. There’s the hot humidity of the early days of summer mixed with the tangled bodies of hippies and hipsters gallivanting across an open field, overpriced food and alcohol, and crowds so large you can hardly see the band you’re there to see. At the same time, you’re completely enthralled with the good vibes, the exciting atmosphere, and the thrill of so much good music.
The annual Governors Ball festival is held at Randall’s Island in New York, wedged in between Upper Manhattan and Queens. The rain trickled down on Friday but that didn’t stop the ticket holders from trekking through to make it over for their favorite acts, most especially Philly’s The Districts who started off the fest Friday afternoon at 12:15. A bit too early for most, one would think, but they ripped through their set with a medium sized but lively crowd cheering along to the words of “Young Blood.” Continue reading →
The last week has been full of excitement for Hop Along‘s new album Painted Shut, released Tuesday on Saddle Creek. It’s the Philly band’s third full-length album, but in a way, it was almost like its debut to a wider audience. On Saturday night, Hop Along headlined for a packed house at Union Transfer which, with local openers Thin Lips and Clique in tow, felt like one big neighborhood party. Continue reading →
Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, contributing photographer Rachel Barrish shares her favorite crowd shots of the year.
So, before I decided I wanted to work in music, I wanted to study people. Their quirks, their wants and desires, why they do the things they do and where those actions come from. Psychology, ya know? Photographing a concert is way more than just getting the perfect angle of the vocalist at the mic, it’s also about the crowd. Concert-goers and festival attendees are what make these events so memorable. How people react to a certain band is super interesting, whether it’s a pop punk band and people are screaming their lungs out, crowd surfing and stage diving, or a favorite singer/songwriter belting out those meaningful, soothing lyrics, feeling like you’re “one with the music” is part of the experience. People are priceless, fans are priceless. Continue reading →
It was a bitter cold evening last night in Upper Darby, where many traveled to see the British indie rock group Alt-J on their headlining tour in support of this year’s This Is All Yours. After the global success of their debut An Awesome Wave, which won the Mercury Prize in 2012, the band start getting the rep as “The next Radiohead.” Last night, they definitely lived up to it.
J Roddy Walston & The Business | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Saturday night the TLA was filled almost to capacity with fans riled to see J Roddy Walston & The Business. The Richmond, VA foursome gathered on the stage to an exuberant amount of clapping and shouting. J Roddy took his place at the grand piano with his long hair in front of his face the majority of the time. At one point he told the audience that he was losing his voice after the long tour and asked them to help sing along.
Despite his illness, J Roddy definitely rocked out the house that night. During the encore he brought fans up to the stage to dance and sing to “Heavy Bells” and then proceeded to crowd surf for a few moments to end the night on a high. Check out photos from the show in the gallery, read the setlist and watch the singalong encore in the video below. Continue reading →
“Fleetwood Mac is a band that continues to grow through the good and bad times,” Lindsey Buckingham told the sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd on Wednesday night. “Especially in the moment when Christine returned. I can say we have begun a beautiful, poetic and profound chapter.”
It certainly was a nostalgic evening as the legendary rock outfit – reunited with Christine McVie for the first time in 16 years – ripped through hits from their top-selling albums including Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours (1977) Tusk (1979) and more. Continue reading →
On Friday night, the TLA welcomed electronic pop artist, Charli XCX. The 22 year old English singer-songwriter released her debut album, True Romance in April 2013 but her biggest claim to success was from “I Love It,” the song she wrote and was performed by Icona Pop. “I Love It” became a #1 hit single in the UK and topped the charts in North America. Friday night, she performed backed by a band and group of dancers, some in Go-Go attire, others dressed like Catholic school girls. Continue reading →
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.
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.