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A niche unto themselves, Judah and the Lion mesmerizes a sold out Fillmore

Judah and the Lion | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
This past Friday, Nashville’s Judah & the Lion played to a sold out Fillmore crowd on their Going to Mars tour. Their newest album, Folk Hop N’ Roll, perfectly describes how the band melds acoustic arrangements and alternative rock to bring a high energy, completely mesmerizing set. By blending banjo and mandolin with verses so quick and percussive they often almost turn into raps, they’ve been able to create a niche of their own. They opened with a cover of “Booty Wurk,” immediately gaining my respect and setting the tone for a night full of dancing, hilarious banter and great music. Continue reading →
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You Me At Six bring Night People tour to Philly

You Me at Six | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
You Me at Six | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

I remember going to the public library near my neighborhood over the summer to check out and download albums (…is that legal?). The selection wasn’t huge by any means but they somehow had almost every CD I was looking for: I picked up albums by All Time Low, Marianas Trench, Paramore and You Me At Six’s entire discography up to 2012’s Sinner’s Never Sleep. I was immediately hooked and shocked the English four-piece didn’t have more of a presence in the US, a mindset I still hold five years later.

This past Friday, You Me At Six stopped through The Foundry on the third US date of their Night People tour, supporting the release of their latest album. Before Night People’s January release, the band continued playing shows but hadn’t released music in about three years. They gave few updates before returning with a bang and treating fans to a new album and both European and US tours within the span of a few months. Lead singer Josh Franceschi indicated a much more prompt return to Philly after this time, “like 6-9 months, not 3 years…. Sorry about that!” Continue reading →

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Metallica returns to reign over The Linc for their first Philly show in almost a decade

Metallica | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <a href="http://spotlightviews.com" target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Metallica | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

36 years into their career, Metallica continues to prove why they’re considered legends: packing massive stadium stands and entire football fields with cheering fans. They don’t simply rely on their well-established name to draw audiences- they pulled out all of the stops for the WorldWired Tour and it shows. This past Friday night, Lincoln Financial Field was filled with driving riffs and dueling guitars for a full two hours of metal in its best form. Continue reading →

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Nap enthusiast Gnash charms the TLA

Gnash | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <a href="http://spotlightviews.com" target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Gnash | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Gnash, a rapper who loves naps so much they’ve become part of his brand, brought a dream-like performance to the Theater of Living Arts last Saturday. His stage was set up like a bedroom, fully stocked with pillows, blankets, a dresser and windows displaying various scenes that were almost as soothing as counting sheep. His summer anthem “I Hate U, I Love U” had the entire crowd singing but there were no conflicting emotions here, just love. Continue reading →

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KYLE makes an energetic crowd at The Trocadero Smyle

Kyle | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

California rapper KYLE’s SUPER Tour stopped in Philly this past Wednesday, treating The Trocadero Theater to one of the most enthralling shows I’ve ever seen. The venue seemed to be chock full of diehard Kyle fans who not only sang the words to all of his songs, but were also more than welcoming to openers Cousin Stizz and SuperDuperBrick. Clever rap lyrics and infectious beats (enhanced by incredibly heavy bass) blasted through the Troc’s speakers. I genuinely didn’t see a single person leave without an ear to ear grin or, more accurately, a Smyle on their face. Continue reading →

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Michigan hard rockers Pop Evil captivate the TLA

Pop Evil | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <a href="http://spotlightviews.com" target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Pop Evil | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Michigan rock band Pop Evil is currently touring the US on their very appropriately titled Rock n’ Roll Now Tour: RIGHT NOW. Last Sunday, they played a high energy set to a packed room at the Theater of Living Arts. Despite the approaching threat of a Monday morning, no one wanted to leave this show and kept the band on stage for not just one, but two encores. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Bell X1 shares positive vibes and warm smiles with an energetic crowd

BellX1 | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <a href="http://spotlightviews.com" target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
BellX1 | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Although from thousands of miles away, Dublin, Ireland’s Bell X1 seemed right at home on the Free at Noon stage. Both the band and the crowd seemed more than happy to be at an early show, bringing energy and warmth that parallels this beautiful spring weather to World Cafe Live.

Their set started off simple and mellow with just bass, guitars and vocals used to play “Bad Skin.” After the first song, the full band came onstage and added drums, synth and keyboard to the lineup. Lead singer Paul Noonan’s natural talent was showcased by a wide variety of songs, allowing him to switch between controlled/soft and raw/powerful vocals. Keyboardist David Geraghty was also able to show off his beautiful vibrato when he took over lead vocals during the synth accentuated “Secret Life.” Continue reading →

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Skillet spreads love and hard rock at The Electric Factory

Skillet | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Skillet | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

This past Friday, Christian rock band Skillet filled The Electric Factory with a diverse crowd made up of intricately tattooed adults, head banging couples and and families spanning multiple generations — yes, a family friendly general-admission rock show. The band is just beginning the second leg of their “Unleashed” tour, promoting their latest album and celebrating over 20 years as a band. Lead singer John Cooper tried to give the audience a break from politics and sang lyrics with messages that everyone can relate to and interpret in their own way. “I’m not saying that what’s wrong with the world is not enough parents let their kids listen to Skillet…. But it might help” he jokingly noted. Continue reading →

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Genre-mixing pros Issues bring triple-headliner to The Fillmore

Issues | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Issues | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

This winter’s The End Is Here tour brought together metalcore bands Issues, Motionless In White and Falling In Reverse — and the show stopped at The Fillmore Philadelphia on Saturday, January 28. With tastes of EDM, pop, R&B and even country sprinkled into the three headliners’ and two openers’ setlists, there was a little bit of something to satisfy everyone at this show. Despite all the genres that were present, head-bangning, mosh-pit encouraging music was the clear, overall theme and Motionless In White’s desire for everyone to leave the show with a “bangover” (bangover, noun, 1. a sore neck resulting from headbanging too hard) was definitely achieved. The sold-out crowd of around 2,500 dance, sang and crowd surfed for 5 bands straight.

Dead Girl’s Academy started off the show bright and early, playing to an already almost completely full venue at 6 pm. Their matching, all-black outfits and primarily red lighting set the tone for an intense set. They slowed it down with their new song “Conversation,” easing into a more laid-back style of rock.  Up next was Dayton, Ohio rock four piece Dangerkids. Vocalist Tyler Smyth poked fun at their Ohio roots and expressed how excited he was to no longer be playing for just “the other bands, the moms and the grandmas.” Their brand new album blacklist_ was just released the day before and Smyth described it as essentially a collection of his life’s work. They closed their set closed with popular single “Kill Everything.” Continue reading →

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Pop / rock faves The Fray dazzle The Fillmore

The Fray | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
The Fray | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Denver rock outfit The Fray graced The Fillmore on Wednesday, November 16, bringing Boston’s American Authors along with them. While fans are anxiously awaiting a new album from The Fray, the recent singles “Corners” and “Changing Tides” were present on both their recent Best Of album and their setlist.

This tour cut down on the typical number of openers, allowing American Authors to play a slightly longer set. Lead singer Zac Barnett raved about how much he loves “the food, the scenery & the people…. the people!” that greet them when they come through Philly. He shared that, come January, the band will have been together for ten years and he’s been “trying to get rid of them for the last nine.” This sort of light-hearted energy was present throughout the entirety of their 45-minute set.

They opened with the wonderfully upbeat “Go Big or Go Home,” seasoned with rich harmonies and percussion. The inclusion of slightly less typical instruments like banjo and large drums played by Barnett and bassist Dave Rublin added a lot of depth to their set. Barnett’s powerful and emotive vocals really shined through live, leaving behind the slight vocal processing typically present in their recordings. American Authors ended their set by playing their wildly popular song “Best Day of My Life” to a room full of people singing it back. This band is seriously underrated and has more than enough talent and passion to be one of the biggest in their genre.

The Fray came out to a stage lit by soft blue lights that matched the feel of the song, “Singing Low,” perfectly. Continue reading →