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The Key’s Year-End Mania: John Morrison’s five haikus for the homies

Naeemah Maddox | photo by Kev Steele | courtesy of the artist
Naeemah Maddox | photo by Kev Steele | courtesy of the artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer John Morrison shares five haiku reviews of releases by his Philly friends.

2017 was a fantastic year for music in Philadelphia. As a lifelong resident of this city, I’ve been blessed to build relationships with many brilliant DJs, MCs, producers and musicians. To honor those relationships and to celebrate this incredible year of music, I’ve compiled a list of my Top 5 favorite local releases, and written a short Haiku to capture the spirit of each.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Brendan Menapace’s artists that should just move to Philly already

Pup | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Brendan Menapace beckons a handful of bands to move to the 215.

Philadelphia is awesome. We know this. From huge rooms with expensive sound systems and multiple bars to batting cages, we have some of the best places to check out live music in the country. We’ve cultivated the growth of artists that are now world-renowned, and we’ve played adoptive home to artists who have moved here. I think it’s great that bands and artists want to move to Philly, especially coming from places that used to be the hubs of culture, like New York or LA. Given how huge Philly is (and thanks to the condos that are popping up everywhere, we guess?) we have plenty of room for more people. So, here are a few bands that I think should just move to Philadelphia already, rather than prolonging the inevitable. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Yoni Kroll’s favorites from the Philly DIY scene

S-21 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key contributing writer Yoni Kroll highlights the best of the Philly DIY underground.

You know what really grinds my gears? Those people who go on and on about how, “There’s no good music being made anymore.” You know who they are: all they want to do is tell you about how music ended in the 60s or the 70s or the 80s or … well, I can’t imagine anyone would say that about the 90s. But it’s a possibility. Anyway, they’re wrong. They’re quite wrong. And you know how I know that? Cause here’s a list of some of the best DIY music to come out in Philadelphia alone just in 2017.

So read it, check out all the bands listed, and the next time somebody tells you that there’s no good music anymore, show them this list and laugh in their face. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Eric Schuman’s ‘Year of Missing Out’

Eric Schuman, doing something other than attending a concert | Photo by Sam Spott

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Indie Rock Hit Parade host Eric Schuman reflects on concerts he could have gone to but didn’t.

As you’ve no doubt seen by reading The Key (or perhaps by being a live music fan yourself), 2017 boasted no shortage of incredible concerts to attend. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I didn’t see any shows this year, the ratio of concert attendance to not-concert attendance was heavily skewed towards the latter. I’m in the music industry, after all; every now and again you have to take a break. I also tend to be on the radio late at night, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to seeing a ton of shows across town. None of this will stop me, however, from sharing my reflections on five of the year’s biggest live music events, regardless of whether or not I was in attendance.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Kristen Kurtis’ Most Memorable Music Moments of 2017

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, XPN Morning Show host Kristen Kurtis shares her most memorable musical moments of 2017.

5. DREAMCAR @ TLA, May 22

No Doubt has been my favorite band since I first heard “Just a Girl” in 1995. As inspiring as Gwen Stefani was to my 10-year-old self, my fandom also runs deep for guitarist Tom Dumont, bass player Tony Kanal, and drummer Adrian Young, who cowrote the discography that is core to the soundtrack of my life. It’s a bummer that they’re on a bit of a hiatus while she focuses on her solo career, so I was thrilled when the guys announced their side project, DREAMCAR, fronted by AFI’s Davey Havoc. After seeing No Doubt a dozen times in stadium & arena settings, it was a treat to experience this supergroup in a much smaller space. It did my heart good to see them having fun with each other and the new wave sound at the heart of what they do. Bonus points for the “Moonage Daydream” Bowie cover. Continue reading →

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Watch Bad Brains play their first Philly show on Christmas, 1981

still from video

Live music on Christmas is typically something of a dead zone here in Philadelphia. This year, with Christmas falling on a Monday — already the slowest concert day of the week — it’s particularly vacant. What to do? Cue up this YouTube video and pretend you’re in the year 1981, in the sweaty crowd packing Philadelphia’s legendary punk rock hot spot East Side Club on 1229 Chestnut Street, revved up and ready to see D.C. trailblazers Bad Brains make their Philadelphia debut on Christmas day. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Ben Wong’s favorite artist portraits of 2017

You Do You | photo by Ben Wong | brotherlylost.com

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, Key photographer Ben Wong revisits some of his favorite artist portraits from the past 12 months.

The artist portrait is an interesting process for both the photographer and the musician(s). It’s one of the few times that there are literally no rules. In many cases the more imperfect the better. It requires trust and creativity for both parties to conceive a vision and tell a story by showing. Philadelphia especially, while rich with talented musicians, is also home to some of the most talented visual artists. We help contribute to the artist’ brand as much as they help build ours. This year I was fortunate enough to work with a variety of different artists and explore my love for portraiture with musicians from all corners of the Philadelphia scene. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Helen Leicht’s Free At Noon highlights of 2017

Jidenna at WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert on 7/7/17 | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, WXPN midday host Helen Leicht recaps her favorite #FreeAtNoon moments from 2017.

Every week I look forward to hosting the Free at Noon concerts. The most exciting shows are the artists that are surprises for our listeners. Plus I look forward to watching the artists’ response to YOU in the audience.

Here’s how the day begins – load in of instruments, sound check, then the bands sit in the backstage green room waiting for Noon. Some of the bands have driven all night to get here by 9:30 a.m. Some look wide awake and ready and others need a nap. I like to make sure they all know most of the people in the audience
are members and music lovers. That seems to get many of them ready for noon.

If the band has not done a Free at Noon they are cautiously optimistic. I understand. They just drove here for a midday concert. To a band, night time is the right time. Midday is for sleep. I’d say most bands ask me if there will be an audience. I assure them that our members put Free at Noon on their weekly to-do calendar, and we have been presenting them since 2005. That’s why I do the Free at Noon warm up before the band takes the stage — so they hear your cheering before noon. Then they know there is actually a large group of people waiting to hear their music. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Dan Reed’s favorite things of 2017

@theafghanwhigs @apollotheater @mrgregdulli

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Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, WXPN afternoon host and music director Dan Reed shares his 2017 highlights.

THE AFGHAN WHIGS AT THE APOLLO THEATRE – it was great to see GREG DULLI & co. at this iconic venue in Harlem in late May

ANNIVERSARY DINNER AT VERNICK – Ann and I enjoyed our 19th wedding anniversary at this creative yet comfortable restaurant on Walnut Street… outstanding food, better service

WXPN 70’S A TO Z – I loved it all… two weeks of nothing but 70’s goodness, all day, all night… I was personally stuck playing too many CAT STEVENS songs, but… Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year End Mania: Ellen Miller’s top five gig foods

Superiority Burger | Photo by: Ellen
Superiority Burger | photo by Ellen Miller

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, photographer Ellen Miller thinks back on her best concert sustenance of the year.

As I think back to all the different concerts and live music I saw over the last 12 months (about 60+) my mind floods with memories of not only the shows themselves but also the food I ate before or after. Whether it was a quick bite between the end of work and heading to the venue or an afternoon spent in NYC before the show, I can’t go to a concert without it involving food. I’ve even made the joke that I only go to concerts in order to have an excuse to try all this fun food! While that may not actually true, coming up with a new or fun food place to try is definitely something I look forward to just as much as whichever show I’m going to. At times I may even get more excited by the food I’m planning to eat than the actual gig itself. Continue reading →