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Tank and the Bangas and Big Freedia bring NOLA to the TLA

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

Even without the beignets, po’boys, or steaming pots of gumbo, Philadelphia was able to taste the full-flavored robustness of New Orleans on Saturday evening thanks to The Head Banga Tour that made its way to the TLA. The show featuring all NOLA acts was headlined by Tank and The Bangas and included performances from Big Freedia and Naughty Professor. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Mariah Carey will headline The Met this spring

Mariah Carey | photo courtesy of the artist

The Met Philadelphia hasn’t even opened yet, but it’s already lined up a series of star-studded acts through the winter and spring, and the newest addition to the venue’s stacked calendar of events may be its biggest yet. Mariah Carey will headline The Met on April 3, part of her just-announced North American spring tour behind her forthcoming album, Caution. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Beirut will play The Tower in February, releases new song “Gallipoli”

Beirut
Beirut | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Beirut likes to make us wait for new music. It’s been over three years since the release of their last album No No No, but we now have news that the Santa Fe-based band led by Zach Condon will return with a new album in early 2019. The 12-track album, Gallipoli, will be released on February 1 via 4AD Records, and Beirut will play a show at the Tower Theater on Feb. 15. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Jeff Lynne’s ELO will return to Wells Fargo Center next summer

Jeff Lynne’s ELO | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Until this past summer, Jeff Lynne’s ELO (formerly Electric Light Orchestra) hadn’t played a show in Philadelphia since 1981. But this time around, the wait in between shows will be much, much shorter — the band just announced another North American tour next summer, which will bring them back to the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, July 13, 2019. Continue reading →

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“A Drug-Cember To Remember”: The War on Drugs are wrapping 2018 with three pop-up Philly shows

The War on Drugs | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

To tie a bow on a tremendous year that included a Grammy win and festival appearances the world around — including a headlining slot at the XPoNential Music Festival — Philly psych rockers The War on Drugs just announced their plan for a hometown, year-end extravaganza at three undisclosed locations. Continue reading →

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Mitski Ascends: The reigning queen of indie rock owns the Union Transfer stage

Mitski | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Forget everything you thought you knew about a Mitski concert.

The basement show power trio with the frontwoman rocking a hot pink bass? The expanded band that brought songs from Puberty 2 to life on an arena show with Lorde? The occasional solo sets that are moving in the best way? All things of the past.

For the opening night of tour in support of this year’s outstanding Be The Cowboy, Mitski Miyawaki showed a packed Union Transfer that — much in the same way the record is a next-level move in terms of taking her already deeply affecting songwriting to new heights — her stage show was now bigger, bolder, and more of a vehicle for the best kind of catharsis.

With her four-piece band handling practically all the instrumental duties, Mitski stayed in the front of the stage, using her freed up limbs to spend the entire set gesturing, twisting her body, leaping on the floor, moving to the music in powerful and gripping ways. It reminded me of Klaus Nomi, it reminded me of St. Vincent. It showed that, as much as words and sounds are powerful vehicles for conveying meaning and emotion, so too is movement. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The Bottle Rockets wakes up the midday crowd at World Cafe Live

The Bottle Rockets | photo by Taylor Johnson

Long-running St. Louis band The Bottle Rockets brought a dose of their high-energy country rock to World Cafe Live today for a Free at Noon performance ahead of their show tonight at Milkboy. Touring behind their newly released album Bit Logic, The Bottle Rockets came prepared with a fresh-sounding selection of new songs that blend fiery rock and folksy drawl to wake up the midday crowd. Continue reading →

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Lighten Up, Buttercup, because Hippo Campus blew away Union Transfer last night

Hippo Campus | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN | dylaneddinger.com

Last night, Minnesota indie rockers Hippo Campus joined the crowd at Union Transfer to celebrate the release of their newest LP, Bambi. They brought to the stage their instantly recognizable bubbly, ethereal, and smooth-yet-edgy sound to the stage, and then amplified it times ten. Singer Jake Luppen dove right into the new stuff, opening the show with the relaxed and pulsing track “Bambi,” followed by “Honestly,” and then the off-kilter, electro-rock “Doubt.” What a way to kick things off, honestly. These guys are loads of fun, and the set was atmospheric and loud and both gentle and aggressive when the tracks called for a change of pace. Ever appreciative of the crowd, as most bands who roll through Philly are, both Luppen and guitarist Nathan Stocker thanked us several times just for being there. Continue reading →