The annual 2nd Street Festival takes over Northern Liberties today with dozens of food vendors, beer vendors, craft vendors, and some exceptionally curated live music at either end of the mega block party. Don’t be one of those butts that stays under the tent with their pints of Philly Pale and completely overlooks the music. The lineup is solid this year, from baroque-popsters Tutlie to emo ragers Dogs on Acid. We’re particularly excited about a set from Brooklyn-to-Philly indie rock four-piece Field Mouse, who have a engaging frontwoman in singer-guitarist Rachel Browne. Their record Hold Still Life came out on Topshelf Records a year ago, and the band recently went on tours with both Hop Along and mewithoutYou. More information on the festival can be found here. Continue reading →
UK singer-songwriter Laura Marling released her fifth album, Short Movie, back in March and her tour in support of it brings her to Union Transfer tonight. Johnny Flynn and Marika Hackman open the all ages show; more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, download “Howl” from Marling’s appearance on World Cafe. Continue reading →
Singer-songwriter Greg Holden knows the peaks and valleys of life like an old friend. And at today’s Free at Noon, he sung about his triumphs and troubles to a passionate audience.
He almost didn’t make it to this point – in 2011, he spent a lofty sum of money to put out his album I Don’t Believe You, then watched helplessly as his record label went bust. Shortly after, he embarked on a sold-out tour of Holland even though he was in debt. By that point, Holden’s attitude towards music had become grim. The curtains had just about closed on his musical dream.
Then, Holden wrote the song “Home” – yes, that one, the chart-shattering single that rocketed American Idol winner Phillip Phillips to stardom. Holden regained his motivation and purpose, and after a trek to India and Nepal, he immediately wrote the songs that would become his major-label debut, Chase the Sun.
Holden has a knack for weaving his tales into impactful songs. This was best exemplified during today’s Free at Noon concert with the touching “Boys in the Street,” a song about a father’s struggle with his feelings about his gay son. Continue reading →
Tuesday night, guitar rock legend Peter Frampton played for an enthusiastic crowd at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem. His set only totaled about ten songs, but it was by no means short: many featured extended jams with his guitar counterpart, Adam Lester. All of the originals from his classic 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive! were featured, and he played its opening three songs – “Something’s Happening,” “Doobie Wah” and “Show Me the Way” – in order at the start of the show. Continue reading →
While walking east towards Union Transfer on Tuesday night, loud rain could be heard in the immediate distance. This was odd because no rain was falling where I was. Then, like out of a movie, I walked into a rainstorm. It was this otherworldly experience that ushered in a night of music with Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell.
Playing behind Sing Into My Mouth, a covers album they recently released, Sam Beam (aka Iron and Wine) and Bridwell (frontman of Band of Horses) showcased their musical friendship to a sold out crowd. Trading lead vocal duties and often singing in harmony, these old friends give their own folksy rock take to a number of varying tunes. Standout moments included Sade’s “Bulletproof Soul,” the unexpected Americana turn of Spiritualized with “The Straight and Narrow” and a rousing version of David Gilmour’s “There’s No Way Out of Here.” Continue reading →
It’s hard to believe, but XPNFest 2015 was already a week ago. It was a colossally big year for our little hangout of music lovers over in Wiggins Park. The lineup was amazing, from Milton to Dawes, Hop Along to St. Vincent and My Morning Jacket, Courtney Barnett and the Indigo Girls…arguably, it was the best the lineup has ever been. This was also the most well-attended XPoNential Music Festival to date, and thanks to a live stream from VuHaus, the performances reached more people than ever before. And it was one of our most talked-about happenings on social media – the #XPNFest hashtag was poppin’ all weekend on both Twitter and Instagram. At last count, there were some 7,958 Instagrams under the #xpnfest hashtag – making it possibly our most documented festival ever.
So in that spirit – and since, heck, we’re a week out from the festival and we miss it! – we decided to dig through the catacombs of the ‘gram to bring you some of our favorite Instagram posts from the weekend. There’s some great stuff in the mix – performances and crowd scenes; peeks backstage and artist meet-and-greets; fans traveling to the festival, and fans chillaxing at the fest; a majestic shot First Aid Kit took from the River Stage during their set, and a mysterious shot of a hippo in the Adventure Aquarium by Jim James of MMJ. Comb through our favorites below, and let us know your favorites. We can’t wait for XPNFest 2016 — it’s only a year away, right?! Continue reading →
In an August 2001 issue of The New Yorker, author Alex Ross described a brunch at Radiohead bassist’s Colin Greenwood’s Oxford home. Someone had asked Greenwood if he’d gotten a sense of the size of a crowd at a recent Radiohead show at Oxford’s South Park during the third leg of the Kid A / Amnesiac tour, a gathering that Ross suggests might have been the largest to date in Oxford’s history. “’Fraid not,” Greenwood responded to his guest, smiling, “I was too busy looking at Phil’s calves. That’s where the beats are.”
Greenwood was referring to Radiohead drummer Philip Selway. The unforgettable punchline seemed to testify so succinctly to so much about the backbone of that band: to the proficient work of a drummer that Radiohead fans have come to know as one of the most technically excellent in rock, at turns muscular, soulful, metronomic, mathematical. To the connection that the bandmates in team Radiohead felt for one another. To all the reasons their music, album after album, is able to transmogrify and reinvent and evolve as much as it does and never, ever miss the mark.
Over twenty years after the formation of Radiohead, Philip Selway ventured to create his first solo record, Familial. Five years on, is back with his second solo effort Weatherhouse, and his tour in support of it brings him to World Cafe Live next week. We got Selway on the phone to discuss the challenges of being a “solo artist,” the influences that inform his songwriting, and how an exploration of songwriting and of learning other instruments has helped him grow as a musician – and even renew his love for the drums. Continue reading →
Former Ween member Dean Ween’s own The Dean Ween Group play Union Transfer this evening. The band has a “rotating cast of characters”, which includes four of the five members of Ween (all but Aaron Freeman), so tonight is sure to be a fun, jammin’ time. Watch Dean Ween mess around on the guitar below, and get tickets and more info here. Continue reading →
The Appleseed Cast took to the stage Wednesday night to a sold out crowd at Johnny Brenda’s. Guitarist Taylor Holenbeck addressed the group a few times, joking about the abundance of body heat in the room; he encouraged everyone to move around, not to dance, but to embrace the heat and raise the temperature further. He then tangled himself up in strands of the venue’s iconic beads, which hang on stage. The quartet went on to play for about an hour, radiating loud, whirring walls of model post-rock sound. Continue reading →