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The 16 weirdest things we found at the Punk Rock Flea Market

 

The Punk Rock Flea Market | Photo by Tom Beck
The Punk Rock Flea Market | Photo by Tom Beck

R5 Production’s semi-annual Punk Rock Flea Market brings out some of the best action figures, clothing and vinyl Philadelphians have to offer — but also some of the weirdest things you’ll ever see. After looking at what Philly had to sell this past summer, we headed back to the “Punk Rock Flea Market Dome” to check out what new crazy stuff is for sale this time. Continue reading →

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The Darkness glams up South Street

The Darkness | Photo by Tom Beck
The Darkness | Photo by Tom Beck

The lights go down. The intro music plays. The band makes their way onto the stage wearing their trademark flamboyant clothing. Armed to the teeth with Les Pauls and stacks of Marshalls behind him, lead guitarist Dan Hawkins places his left-hand fingers on the fret board in the necessary position to play the opening riff of “Barbarian,” the band’s lead single from the new album, Last of Our Kind. But instead of the sounds of head-banging, mind-blowingly loud-ass rock and roll blasting through the Marshall cabs, an annoying crackle is emitted — the result of a loose output jack on Dan’s guitar. This was how the concert began.

But don’t worry, it got better. In fact, it got a lot better. The band’s performance may have started with a minor hiccup, but in the end it proved to be inconsequential. In fact, if there’s a phrase to best describe the atmosphere of Friday night’s appearance by The Darkness at the TLA, it’s this: Anything Goes. The concert was anything but typical, as it featured a little girl in a Halloween costume; event security from “Dave from Asbury Park,” and the on-stage appearance of a local Philly artist. But more on that later. Continue reading →

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A Brief History of The Districts

The Districts | Photo via facebook.com/thedistrictsband
The Districts | Photo via facebook.com/thedistrictsband

Inexplicably wearing a surgeon’s mask and light blue nurse’s scrubs, The Districts frontman Rob Grote is relentless as he sits behind a drum set in the smokey basement of a North Philadelphia row home. As he brutally beats the crap out of the instruments as if he was the unhinged percussive offspring of Marky Ramone and Keith Moon, Grote finds himself in an unfamiliar spot; he’s typically anchored at center stage behind a microphone with a guitar dangling from his left shoulder. But this time fellow District Braden Lawrence is the one playing guitar and singing into a microphone, which in this case is hooked up to a cheap PA system being entirely drowned out by the thundering monsoon that is Grote’s abominable drumming.

A crowd full of college-aged kids are delusionally moshing and dancing to the music being performed, creating a ruckus (and surely a fire hazard) to the fast-paced, punk rock sounds coming out of the instruments of Lawrence, Grote and their roommate Breshon Martzall, the third member of the trio, who plays bass and sings. It’s very loud, and nearly impossible to tell one song from another. It’s the sound of Grote and Lawrence’s side project. It’s called Straw Hats.  Continue reading →

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Escaping the Popacalypse at Landmark Music Festival, with mixed results

Photo by Tom Beck
Photo by Tom Beck

Washington, D.C. was home to the inaugural Landmark Music Festival this past weekend, as headliners Drake and The Strokes graced the stage along with a slew of other top-notch bands including Philly bred artists Son Little and The War on Drugs. The lineup, which was loaded with great talent, also included Houndmouth, The Suffers, Manchester Orchestra, alt-J, Chvrches, Ben Howard, George Ezra, Albert Hammond Jr, The London Souls and Band of Horses. The festival did a lot of things right — namely the booking of top-notch talent. However, Landmark has its work cut out for it if it wants to earn a spot among the best festivals in the country. Let’s start with the bad. Continue reading →

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DiPinto: The Philly guitar player’s guitar

Chris DiPinto | Photo by Tom Beck
Chris DiPinto | Photo by Tom Beck

From the opposite side of Girard Avenue, DiPinto Guitars looks just like any other store in Fishtown. You’d never guess it’s somewhat of a tourist destination for many big name guitarists.

“So many famous people have been in here,” says Chris DiPinto, the company’s founder, owner and designer of all DiPinto brand guitars. J Mascis, Richie Havens, and Earl Slick, who played guitar for David Bowie throughout much of his career, are just a few of the names that have patronized DiPinto’s store. A few other big names have stopped by, which DiPinto was less familiar with. “Oasis was in here. After they left somebody told me it was them. And I was like ‘oh, I don’t even know those guys,'” DiPinto says. However, he’ll never forget the phone call from the voice that said “This is Rick Nielsen.”

“You don’t know how many calls I get from friends that are like ‘This is Neil Young,'” explains DiPinto. “And he was like ‘No, this is really Rick Nielsen and I want to come into your shop.'” Continue reading →

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The Key’s ultimate guide to North American summer music festivals – Part Two!

via facebook.com/kopeckymusic
via facebook.com/kopeckymusic

It’s late June, and you know what that means: we’re about halfway through festival season. We’re sure you got fired up at Firefly, danced at Governor’s Ball and shook your knees at Shaky Knees already, but here at The Key, we’re just getting started. We still have some pretty big name festivals to get through, including Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and of course XPN’s own XPoNential Festival (woot woot!). Now that Made In America has finally released its lineup, we can finally get on with part two of our list!

To recap from part one of our Ultimate Guide to North American Summer Music Festivals, our list is comprised of the biggest festivals still to come this summer with important details for each one, including which Philly bands are playing which festival, other notable bands playing, and any other additional festival facts you might want to know. On with the list! Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Figgs kicked off an exciting Memorial Day weekend

The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch
The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch

Audience members for this week’s Free at Noon were treated to a special Memorial Day Weekend gift, as The Figgs rocked the downstairs stage at the World Cafe Live. The band was in Philly to promote their new album, Other Planes of Here, their latest release in a long string of releases dating back to 1992. It was a relaxed, yet still rock and roll atmosphere, as lead singer/guitarist Mike Gent ordered a vodka martini in the middle of the set. Songs on the band’s set list for today were “Late Nights and Early Flights,” “Paper Knives” and “Something’s Wrong.” After the radio show, members of the audience got to hear the band do a cover of The Who’s “Happy Jack,” a nice surprise before heading out for Memorial Day Weekend. If you were there or listened on the radio, make sure to check out the band’s performance tonight at Dawson St. Pub. Information for the concert can be found here. Listen back to the set and check out a gallery of photos below. Continue reading →

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Fly with Cheers Elephant on their newly released track “Airliner”

Cheers Elephant's "Airliner" cover art
Cheers Elephant’s “Airliner” cover art

Ok, so because of videos like this, this, this, and this, we kind of knew this was coming. But here at The Key we can’t get enough of local expats Cheers Elephant, so we’re going to blog about their new release anyway! The former Philly turned LA quartet has finally released the studio version of “Airliner,” following last month’s single “Speak Think.” Both songs are part of a flurry of new music from the band, and in case you haven’t been following, the band has a few more good ones you should expect to be released as well; there’s the jammy, chillax, Kurt Vile-esque “Summer Surf,” and the catchy and fun “Steak Knife,” which is sure to get you dancing. But before you check those songs out, make sure you check out “Airliner” below. Continue reading →

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Rocking and Rolling Down South: A recap of Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Festival

Dr. Dog | Photo by Tom Beck
Dr. Dog | Photo by Tom Beck

There’s usually a downside to festivals having stacked lineup: with so many great artists, you’re never going to be able to see them all. So when I made the trek down south to attend what is becoming the best indie-rock festival in North America – the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta – there were a lot of difficult choices to be made. Do I see The Kooks or Wavves? Kaiser Chiefs or Manchester Orchestra? Wilco or Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds? Dr. Dog or Diamond Rugs?

But even with all these conflicts (my picks: Wavves, Manchester Orchestra, Wilco and Philly’s Dr. Dog), I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading →