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Meek Mill’s new album Championships will be out before you know it

Meek Mill | photo via facebook.com/MeekMill

Philly rapper Meek Mill is gearing up for his first full-lenth project since being released from prion this summer. Though he’d previously termed it a “surprise release” — and you could still argue that it fits that mold, showing up with relatively short notice and without promotional teasers like singles or videos — we know know exactly what the record is called and when it’s landing. According to Meek’s Instagram, his fourth album will be called Championships, and it will be released on November 30th. Continue reading →

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The venue formerly known as the Electric Factory will now be called Franklin Music Hall

The Electric Factory
The Districts on stage at The Electric Factory | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Franklin Music Hall. That is what the former Electric Factory will be known as going forward.

The 2,500 capacity music venue on 7th and Callowhill announced last month that it was changing hands and identities, and with new owner Bowery Presents / AEG (who had been booking the room for years) legally restricted from using its old name, a contest launched to rename the venue. Continue reading →

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Why it matters to your neighborhood DJ that Philly is streamlining its block party rules

An uptown block party in Philly | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As the summer of 2018 slowly recedes into the rear view of our collective memory, an important step has been taken by the City of Philadelphia toward the protection of summer fun and a time-honored cultural tradition. A ride around the city during the warmer months will reveal a seemingly endless number of closed off streets complete with music blaring, barbecue filling the air, and children playing in mobile inflatable Bouncy Houses, all telltale signs of one of Philly’s favorite past times: the block party. For decades, block parties have stood as a integral part of Philadelphia’s music and social culture, strengthening communal bonds among neighbors as well as serving as a training ground for many of the city’s world-class DJs.

Earlier this year, the city announced that there would be tighter restrictions on the process by which residents would receive permit approval to close down their streets for block parties. This new policy would have required residents to get pre-approval from their local police district before receiving final approval from the Streets Department. Some residents even claimed that some police departments promised to block all future permits.

Faced with the looming threat of block party applications being impeded by added bureaucratic red tape, Philly residents took to the phone lines and social media demanding that the process be streamlined. Last week, the City announced that this policy would in fact be reversed, making it easier for residents to apply for block party permits. In a statement from the Streets Department and Police Department: “Applicants will now have one less step in the approval process as they no longer need to visit their local Police District to submit an application in-person or by mail. The Departments will now manage this step of the process internally, saving residents extra time and added process.” Continue reading →

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Elton John gave Low Cut Connie a shoutout at his Wells Fargo Center show

Elton John with Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner | via Facebook

Elton John wants you to know that he’s a Low Cut Connie fan. Furthermore, he wants to make sure that you listen to them, too — though XPN listeners won’t have any trouble with that. The Philly band has been a favorite among their hometown audiences for some time, but it’s rare for a local band that hasn’t quite reached mainstream attention to receive such a ringing endorsement like this from a musical icon.

When his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour came through the Wells Fargo Center earlier this week, Sir Elton gave Low Cut Connie a public shoutout, even dedicating his song “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to the band, which he ranks among his current favorites.

Captured on the Instagram video below, “There’s always been a lot of wonderful music coming out of Philadelphia, ever since I can remember,” said Elton John. “And there’s a band that I love at the moment so much called Low Cut Connie, who are also from Philadelphia. And I’d like to dedicate this song to them right now, because I love them very much, and you should check them out. Buy their records, go see them. Amazing.”

Continue reading →

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The Electric Factory is now North Seventh? Unless you can think of a better name.

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Philadelphia venue The Electric Factory, it seems, is changing hands and identities.

Reports trickled in this morning that the iconic Ben Franklin head was no longer perched atop the Callowhill building that houses the 23-year-old venue. And though the venue’s website appears to be intact, its Instagram page has been rebranded @northseventhphilly — a placeholder account uses its former name @efactoryphilly to redirect — and the page now has a Bowery Presents icon for its profile pic. Continue reading →

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Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile and Amos Lee are on the initial lineup for The Met Philly

Bob Dylan | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN // Amos Lee | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Singer-songwriter icon Bob Dylan will be the first artist to take the stage at the newly renovated venue The Met Philly, which opens on December 3rd. The initial lineup was announced this afternoon in a press conference from promoters Live Nation, and it also features Philly son Kurt Vile playing his hometown album release for his new Bottle It In LP on December 29th, and fellow hometown hero Amos Lee headlining on April 6, 2019.

The initial run of shows also includes Toto tribute band Weezer headlining on December 12th, cerebral Bucks County alt-popsters Ween on December 13th, violinist Lindsey Stirling on December 18th, and Germantown rapper PnB Rock on December 28th. Continue reading →

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Queen Latifah will receive Philadelphia’s Marian Anderson Award this fall

Queen Latifah | via The Boombox

When rapper / actress / activist Queen Latifah burst onto the scene with her debut single “Ladies First,” the impact of the song created a ripple effect that continues to reverberate through the genre today. Backed up by U.K.-born expat Monie Love, “Ladies First” was an opening shot of a hungry young MC and a declaration of sorts.  From her very first introduction to the scene, Latifah set off on a mission to inspire women to assertively step to the forefront in a largely male-dominated culture. Although hip-hop has had a wealth of gifted women MCs that came before her (MC Sha-Rock of the Funky Four +1, Sequence, Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte etc.), Latifah’s sharp technique, regal air and message that focused on black women’s empowerment set her apart from her peers. Songs like “U.N.I.T.Y.”, “Just Another Day” and “Latifah’s Had It Up 2 Here” saw Latifah carving out a distinctive space centered around her blackness, femininity and deep sense of community consciousness. Continue reading →

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City Winery is coming to Philadelphia

Suzanne Vega at City Winery New York | via facebook.com/citywinerynyc

As renovations continue at what was once the Gallery at Market East, news emerged this week that live music will be in the cards when the space re-opens next year.

City Winery, the restaurant / live music chain that originated in New York City in 2008, will open its seventh satellite venue in the shopping and entertainment complex (which will be called Fashion District Philadelphia) when it opens in September of 2019, the Inquirer reports. Continue reading →

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New venue The Locks will bring singer-songwriters to Manayunk this fall

The team behind The Locks | photo by Michael Bryant for philly.com

The folks who brought us live music at the Tin Angel for over 20 years are about to make their return with a new venue, and they’ve already begun to fill up their calendar of shows through the end of the year. Set to open in September, The Locks is situated on Manayunk’s vibrant Main Street over the Irish pub Sona, The Inquirer reports.

The four men behind the new venue are familiar faces in the Philly music scene: former Tin Angel owner Donal McCoy and booker Larry Goldfarb, plus Richard Kardon and Jesse Lundy of Point Entertainment. Thanks to its location and the niche brand of live music experience it will offer, The Locks seeks to set itself apart from other city and suburban music venues. Continue reading →

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Made In America will remain on the Ben Franklin Parkway, says Philly Mayor’s office

Made In America | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Made In America is remaining in the heart of the Philadelphia. The future of Jay-Z’s annual music festival was in doubt last week, as word got out that the city did not want it located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway beginning in 2019. But following a national backlash, both parties have come to an agreement, announcing today that the festival will remain in place at the foot of the Art Museum Steps. Continue reading →