Tonight’s Concert Picks: Middle Kids at Johnny Brenda’s, Queue at World Cafe Live, John Popper at the Sellersville Theater

Middle Kids | photo via

Sydney, Australia’s Middle Kids are in the midst of a lengthy tour over here in the States, and tonight they bring their eclectic folk-tinged indie rock to Johnny Brenda’s. The band first made a splash last year with the release of their first two singles, and now they have a self-titled debut EP. If you still need to be convinced of how good the band is, just know that Elton John is a fanBel Heir opens tonight’s show; find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch Middle Kids’ World Cafe session from last year’s Sense Of Place: Sydney. Continue reading →


Ursula Rucker is My Father’s Daughter in NYC one-woman production

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Philadelphia spoken word artist Ursula Rucker is bringing her one-woman performance, My Father’s Daughter, to New York City’s LaMaMa from October 10th through the 15th, and it won’t be a show to miss.

Detailing the life and struggles of mother and how it overlaps into her own, Rucker uses the art of spoken word along with live sound — provided by frequent collaborator Tim Motzer — to tell us her story. The show, presented in conjunction with Daryl Sledge and Rhymes Over Beats, reveals the stark differences of two lives, but also hints at where they could almost be the same. The tragedy is balanced with plenty of Rucker’s lively personality, and the uplifting message in the end is enough to keep any crowd moving. This is a live memoir about what it means to be a warrior and what it means to overcome. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Pick: Jesse Hale Moore at Johnny Brenda’s

Jesse Hale Moore | photo courtesy of the artist
Jesse Hale Moore | photo courtesy of the artist

Local singer-songwriter Jesse Hale Moore returns to Johnny Brenda’s tonight in support of his recent debut LP Green End. The R&B-influenced musician is known for his captivating solo sets, and the chill vibes of JB’s should provide the perfect setting to take in the magic. Dark Rooms and Strange Parts open the show. Watch “Leave You Lonely,” from Moore’s recent World Cafe session, below. Find more information on the show over at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Arcade Fire at Wells Fargo Center, Willie Nelson at BB&T Pavilion, Annachristie Sapphire at Bourbon and Branch

Arcade Fire | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |

Following the release of Arcade Fire‘s highly anticipated new album Everything Now, the widely-loved indie-rockers-turned-mega-superstars return to play the Wells Fargo Center. Arcade Fire last played the Wells Fargo a little over three years ago — it was their first arena show in Philly and the band’s ambition has only grown since. Read The Key’s review of that show here, arrive early to see XPN Fest alums Preservation Hall Jazz Band open tonight’s show, and get ready for what’s sure to be a memorable experience. Continue reading →


Ellen Siberian Tiger distills frustration into dance for the “Grinding My Teeth” video

Ellen Siberian Tiger | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Philly trio Ellen Siberian Tiger ended their week by releasing a music video for “Grinding My Teeth.” The self-proclaimed feminist indie rock group began as Ellen Tiberio-Shultz’s solo project in 2009, evolving through various configurations and ultimately landing on the three-piece it is today. The band prides itself on its use of punk and orchestral influences, and when combined with Tiberio-Shultz’s breathy yet powerful vocals, their overall sound becomes instantly enticing.

“Grinding My Teeth,” found on last year’s Red Blooded Woman EP, is a song of not feeling enough, of that forceful letting go, which is a persistent theme throughout this EP. Just the name of the song itself — “Grinding My Teeth” – evokes frustration, the lyrics are counteracted by a beautiful acoustic guitar and strings. The contrast makes the song a little more settling than if the music behind the lyrics was also intense. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Big Thief at Electric Factory, Sheila E. in Cedar Park, Superfive at World Cafe Live, plus more

Big Thief | Photo: Shervin Lainez
Big Thief | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

It’s been a minute since Big Thief have been to Philly. The Brooklyn folk-rockers-who-can-totally-shred have since followed up their 2016 debut album Masterpiece with the comparatively downbeat and emotional Capacity, and now they’re bringing all your favorite tunes to the Electric Factory as part of the Project Pabst festival. Though it’s definitely worth heading over to the festival just to see Big Thief, other standout performers on the lineup include Speedy Ortiz, Thin Lips, and The Menzingers. More information can be found on Project Pabst’s website. Watch Big Thief perform “Paul” for The Key below. Continue reading →


Celebrate a spooktacular Halloween with Hurry and friends

Hurry | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

Last year, our friends in Hurry brought us their inaugural Halloween Spectacular — a spooky scary costume-filled show stacked with an amazing Philly lineup — and lucky for us, they’re making it an annual thing. Hurry’s 2nd Annual Halloween Spooktacular will bring some ghoulishly good Halloween magic to Everybody Hits on Oct. 28, and whether you’re a fan of the holiday or not, it’s sure to be a show you won’t want to miss. Continue reading →


Free at Noon Flashback: SIMO jams their way through intergalactic sonic journey

SIMO | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

Watching today’s Free at Noon performance, I became puzzlingly entranced by the genre-bending Nashville trio, SIMO.

Part old school rock, part funky psych, part improv lords, SIMO is like if The Black Keys and the Grateful Dead had a musical brainchild. Then — hear me out here — in an unexplained epic tale, that brainchild somehow, some way, got dropped off into outerspace, with only the sonic power of their psychedelic, rootsy jam seshes able to transport them back to their Tennessee abode.

With famed guitarist, JD Simo, as our fearless leader, he, along with the mega talented crew of bassist, Elad Shapiro, and drummer, Adam Abrashoff, allowed the crowd to tag along on their interstellar ride, where we travelled through time and space and genres by ways of SIMO’s latest album, Rise and Shine. Continue reading →


Porchfest is coming to Collingswood this fall, so we talked to the organizers about it

Heyward Howkins
Heyward Howkins performs at Collingswood Porchfest on September 23 | photo by Kate Harrold |

It’s a pretty great concept, when you think about it — a day of free concerts, all on porches. A way to bring a community together with music, a way to encourage first-time players while giving venue vets a more intimate experience. After launching in New England six years ago and taking up root in West Philly in 2015, the Porchfest model makes its way across the Ben Franklin Bridge this month for the first Collingswood Porchfest.

Set for Saturday, September 23rd in the small Camden County town nestled along the PATCO High Speed Line, the event features a roster of familiar names from the singer-songwriter scene (Heyward Howkins, pictured) and pop-punk rock universe (Kevin Day of Aspiga), as well as first-time players. We spoke with event organizer Stacey Brown-Downham of indie four-piece The Classic Brown — their awesome record Down With Fun turns ten this fall — and found out about coordinating an undertaking of this scope, connecting the community and juggling duties as a performer, behind the scenes and as a fan.   
Continue reading →