By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rosali at Ortlieb’s, Modern Baseball at The Fillmore, Good Girl at The Trocadero

rosali middleman
Rosali Middleman | photo by Alyssa Maloof Photography | courtesy of the artist

With the release of her debut LP Out of Love just last month, Rosali is in Philly tonight for a hometown record release show at Ortlieb’s. The folk singer songwriter premiered her music video for the track “Black As Ashes” with us earlier this month and you can check out the kaleidoscopic world she creates below. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on this show. Continue reading →

By

Missed Gallant at Firefly? Catch him around town this summer

gallant
Gallant | photo courtesy of the artist

Los Angeles R&B artist Gallant wowed the Firefly crowed in Delaware last week, performing two sets of songs from his breakthrough Ology LP. But if you missed out on the three-day gathering (or if you just want more Gallant in your summer) you’re in luck – he’ll be in town a few more times before we say goodbye to hot days and music festivals.

Continue reading →

By

Free At Noon Flashback: Mitski mesmerizes before second sold out show

Mitski | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
Mitski | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

Not only does 24-year-old singer / songwriter / bass player Mitski Miyawaki know how to pack a room — what with a sold out show last night at Boot and Saddle and another tonight at PhilaMOCA — but within that crowded atmosphere, there’s a very intimate quality to her performances. Mitski’s gripping eight-song set at World Cafe Live’s Free At Noon today was both sonically and visually stimulating. Observing Miyawaki’s quiet yet unmistakable confidence on stage, a fan smiling and singing along parallel to another overcome with emotion, and watching those discover Mitski’s music for the first time; each group brought an inherently interesting dynamic to the show that truly made it a spectacle. Continue reading →

By

35mm of Firefly: Revisiting the Woodlands on film

Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Dover’s annual Firefly Music Festival is just about the friendliest mega-festival you’ll ever go to.

I say this, worth noting, not having been to Bonnaroo, or Coachella. Nor am I old enough to have experienced the grandaddy of all festivals, Woodstock — though I’m sure there’s a lot fiction and myth and revisionist history surrounding that concert’s supposed transcendence.

Compared to the current circuit of gigs in brutal-summer-sun-on-asphalt settings, however, the ones taking the let’s-cram-everybody-in-a-municipal-park approach, the ones making even the strongest lineup more daunting than it needs to be — Firefly is clearly a festival designed with the fans in mind. This is my third year covering it, and each year, incremental improvements are made, reacting to the previous year’s challenges while keeping an eye towards growth. In 2016, spending a long weekend in the Woodlands amidst a throng of 100,000 fans felt remarkably…comfortable. Water stations were plentiful, opportunities for cooler air and shade were at (most) every turn, music was never far – nor was it in your face either. Getting from the Lawn Stage at the festival’s south gate to the main Firefly Stage on the north side took maybe 20 minutes in the rockiest of conditions; in the past, it required over a half hour  to traverse the festival grounds.

In any number of ways — the forest setting and ubiquity of nature surrounding the show, the super upbeat signage, the way corporate branding was (for the most part) downplayed — Firefly shared experiential commonalities with homespun, hyper-local hippie-oriented musical gatherings dotting the map. The differences being, of course, the colossal pop stars (The 1975, Mumford and Sons, Ludacris, CHVRCHES) and soon-to-be pop stars (Pell, Kaneholler, Quilt, Son Little, Civil Twilight) filling out the lineup. This is, after all, an event where music industry mechanizations move the gears. It’s just refreshing to see that this can be done while still providing a positive experience for the fans.

For this year’s Firefly, I documented it with a mix of digital photography and a roll of 35 mm film on a Canon AE-1. The film is back just recently from the lab, and today I present its highlights to you, with some running commentary. See my digital pictures from Friday here, from Saturday here and Sunday over here. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ani DiFranco at World Cafe Live at the Queen, Creepoid at The Fillmore, Dave Matthews Band at BB&T Pavilion and more…

Ani DeFranco | photo by Charles Waldorf
Ani DeFranco | photo by Charles Waldorf

She’s done it all over the course of here career, and now Ani DiFranco brings her massive catalog (over 20 albums) to World Cafe Live in Wilmington. Rooted in folk, DiFranco has gone from jazz to funk to spoken word to even some electronic stuff over the decades. Her most recent release is 2014’s Allergic to Water. The XPN Concert Calendar has you covered with tickets and more info on the show, at which Chasity Brown will play in support. We have you covered with a little Ani DiFranco sampling — listen to “Woe Be Gone” below. Continue reading →

By

Just Announced: The Yawpers will return to Philly at Milkboy on 7/19

The Yawpers | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
The Yawpers | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Fresh off their performance at Underground Arts for the Red Bull Sound Select show last week, The Yawpers have announced they’ll return to Philly on July 19th when they headline Milkboy. If this one is going to be anything like what our own Jeremy Zimmerman described of last week’s show, the patrons of MilkBoy are in for a treat come mid-July. The Yawpers, all the way from Denver, Colorado, find a sound at the crossroads of country, punk and classic rock, creating something unique. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dear Althea at Kung Fu Necktie, Big Ups at PhilaMOCA, Liz de Lise at Bourbon and Branch and more…

Dear Althea | photo by Anthony Caggiano
Dear Althea | photo by Anthony Caggiano

Phiily foursome Dear Althea takes the stage at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Playing in support are Doll Baby and The Sugar Pops. To snag some $6 tickets to the 21+ show, head on over to the XPN Concert Calendar where we have you covered with every link you’ll ever need. Listen to some Dear Althea’s Louder * Faster * Female below if you aren’t familiar with their post-riot grrl/indie rock sound. Continue reading →

By

Defending folk’s good name, Kevin Morby pulls out the stops at Boot and Saddle

Kevin Morby| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Kevin Morby| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Six months ago, a friend of mine suggested I check out a guy named Kevin Morby. “Sounds like Bob Dylan,” I remember thinking to myself. Since then, I’ve seen Morby and his band three times, each show more rockin’ than the last. His Monday night set at Boot and Saddle was different for a couple reasons; it was my first time seeing him both outside of a festival setting, as well as my first time seeing him following the release of his 3rd LP, Singing Saw, this past April.

Monday night’s set brought with it a few more firsts. Morby played—for the first time ever, he told us—a 30 second-long song he wrote about Philly street names to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Blues Run The Game” (“Meet me down at Broad,” he sang). It was also my first time hearing a new Morby tune called “Tiny Fires,” which sounded more like early Wilco than Dylan.

But what’s best about a Kevin Morby show is not the new, but the old (or rather, the sounds old); mellower tracks like “Miles, Miles, Miles,” “Parade,” and “Black Flowers” (which, along with a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “No Place To Fall,” he played solo) would feel right at home at The Gaslight Café (of Greenwich Village). CBGB might be a better fit for tunes like “I Have Been to the Mountain” and “The Ballad of Arlo Jones,” on which guitarist Meg Duffy (whose solo on “Destroyer,” may I add, lead me believe that she is some sort of real-life guitar goddess) dug in and let loose. Continue reading →

By

Fail Better: Arcana New Music Ensemble continues a Philly legacy of daring contemporary music

Elizabeth Huston, Eric Derr and Andy Thierauf of Arcana Ensemble performing Moondog's "Marimba Mondo" at the Rotunda | photo courtesy of Bowerbird Promotions
Elizabeth Huston, Eric Derr and Andy Thierauf of Arcana Ensemble performing Moondog’s
“Marimba Mondo” at the Rotunda | photo courtesy of Bowerbird Promotions

Shortly before the finale of last Friday’s debut concert by the Arcana New Music Ensemble at the Rotunda, the group’s ten members were joined by an unexpected guest: a lightning bug flitted across the stage, blinking on and off in time with “Theme,” a piece of accumulating intensity written by Louis Thomas Hardin, Jr. – better known as Moondog. The firefly traced meandering curlicues that seemed to echo the outsider composer’s eccentric thought processes.

That late appearance was only the latest piece of synchronicity involved in bringing the Arcana New Music Ensemble to life. The project was launched under the auspices of Bowerbird, the long-running experimental and contemporary classical presenting organization, and is being spearheaded by Bowerbird founder/director Dustin Hurt in collaboration with harpist Elizabeth Huston and Curtis professor Thomas Patteson. Continue reading →

By

Just Announced: M83 to play The Fillmore in October

M83 | Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese
M83 | Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese

M83 has added a long leg of North American dates to its already expansive fall tour, including an October 13th stop at The Fillmore Philadelphia. The announcement comes just days after the electronic outfit, led by the musical wizardry of Anthony Gonzalez, made an appearance right here in the tri-state area — on Saturday night they rocked Firefly down in Delaware. Continue reading →