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The Key’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 – Part Two

made in america
Made in America crowd | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

A few months ago, we gave you The Key’s Guide to Summer Music Festivals Part One, and we promised to follow up later in the summer with Part Two. Well, that time is now! We’ve compiled everything you need to know about all the music festivals for the second half of summer, including dates, locations and who’s playing what — with a focus on Philadelphia artists on the various lineups — all presented in chronological order. Don’t worry, you can thank us later. On with the festivals! Continue reading →

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XPNFest Preview: From the White House to Wiggins Park, Low Cut Connie unites the people

Low Cut Connie
Low Cut Connie | photo by Kirby Sybert | courtesy of the artist | kirbysybert.com

Every American president since Herbert Hoover has gotten a Presidential Library named in his honor, located in a town in or near where each president has grown up. In each library, it’s common to find artifacts of the corresponding presidency, many of which offer a chilling look into the president’s personal life.

For instance, in George W. Bush’s library, you can find letters written to him by U2’s Bono praising him for his humanitarian work in Africa; at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, there are copies of President Clinton’s daily schedules from the White House’s Office of Scheduling and Advance; and at the Presidential Library for John F. Kennedy, you can see a picture of JFK with his future wife, Jackie Bouvier, playing tennis at Joseph Kennedy Sr.’s residence in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

President Obama’s presidential library won’t open for a few years after he leaves office, but one thing’s for certain: Inside, the library will contain a letter written to him by none other than Philadelphia’s own Adam Weiner of boozy rock and roll band Low Cut Connie. Talk about being the cool president*. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 – Part One

firefly
Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Over the past few years, the United States and Canada have finally made their mark in a tradition that’s been a longstanding one in Europe: Music festivals. This is happened to such a degree that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Wouldn’t it be great if someone singled out all your favorite XPN artists and which festivals they’re playing in one spot on the internet?!?!?!

Guess what! That’s exactly what we did here. But there’s a catch: There’s a lot of festivals that haven’t revealed lineups yet, so were only going to give you festivals for the first half of summer for now. A little later on we’ll give you the second half. (Okay, I guess that means the list is in two spots on the internet, but still. You get the point.) Without further adieu, here’s the first part of The Key’s 2016 Guide to Summer Music Festivals. Continue reading →

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The 16 weirdest things we found at this summer’s Punk Rock Flea Market

#punkrockfleamarket #philadelphia been a few years since i got to come through… lotta wares!

A photo posted by rubberhorses (@rubberhorses) on

Every summer and every winter, R5’s Punk Rock Flea Market on 9th and Spring Garden some of the coolest band shirts and old records Philadelphians have to offer — but also some of the weirdest crap in the city. Here at The Key, we like to showcase some of that weird crap. Here’s this summer’s 16 weirdest things we found at the Punk Rock Flea Market! Enjoy. Continue reading →

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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 →