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Ariel Pink sparkled at Union Transfer

Ariel Pink
Ariel Pink | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

If the first things you noticed about Ariel Pink were his royal blue-spiked heels, you were about to get doused in glitter. The rest of Union Transfer probably saw his messy bun, bouncing as he walked, as they watched from a distance. “We are Ariel Pink, and this is White Freckles,” he said as a frantic guitar began. Immediately there was glitter. A mosh pit of fans psyched off his new release, pom pom, began jumping and tossing entire jugs of glitter over the crowd.

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The Chris Robinson Brotherhood jams at The TLA

Chris Robinson Brotherhood | Photo by Tom Beck
Chris Robinson Brotherhood | Photo by Tom Beck

In the midst of the tragic breakup of The Black Crowes, two great things happened. The first of which is Trigger Hippy, a band who played the XPoNential Festival last Summer and consists of Crowes guitarist Jackie Greene and drummer Steve Gorman. The other is the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, which incorporates the Crowes’ lead singer as frontman / guitarist. (Technically, the Brotherhood started in 2011 as a side project, before The Black Crowes broke up).

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood took the stage Sunday night at the TLA on South Street, and put on a trippy set reminiscent of a Grateful Dead from the mid ’70s. Continue reading →

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PRhyme makes a powerful impact at Underground Arts with Black Thought in tow

PRhyme | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
Black Thought delivers a verse during PRhyme’s Underground Arts show | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

At close to midnight, in the cold basement club of Underground Arts in Philadelphia, a powerful decree was made in the world of hip-hop as Detroit’s Royce Da 5’9 proclaimed that DJ Premier was his DJ, making the duo official.  As PRhyme the pair have put out a masterpiece, and the stunning declaration was as well received as it should have been, wiping away any worries that this may be a one-off project. Continue reading →

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Modern Baseball, Spraynard, Marietta, and more rock the Church for Strength in Weakness release show

Modern Baseball | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott
Modern Baseball | Photo by Emily Ivy Scott

Eric Osman said “one second” and ran to check if a box of candy left by concertgoers had anything left inside. Unfortunately, the founder of Lame-O Records was disappointed by the lack of chocolate, but stoked by just about everything else – including a huge crowd’s response to his label’s charity split. Continue reading →

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In Synesthesia: Kishi Bashi amazes at Union Transfer

Kishi Bashi | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com
Kishi Bashi | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com

“It’s funny, you know?” said K Ishibashi on Wednesday night, “I used to be the best violinist in the Kishi Bashi Band.” The sold-out audience laughed uproariously, which caused K to chuckle a bit and look down abashedly. Now that he’s on tour with a string quartet—which features a professor of music—the former Of Montreal collaborator turned violin/beatbox/looping maestro is learning to share the limelight of his celebrated live shows. Continue reading →

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Bold: The Districts Take Charge at Union Transfer

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Even though I’ve seen The Districts five or six times in the past year, Saturday night was something else entirely. Anyone who’s seen them—whether it was at the Church or XPNFest or somebody’s basement or warehouse—knows that they put on one hell of a show. But where The Districts strength has previously seemed to flow from an introspective fount, the very sold-out release show for A Flourish and A Spoil on Saturday night at Union Transfer seemed powered by a limitless well of incredible proportions. Continue reading →

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Carsie Blanton plays an endearing, entrancing set at Tellus 360

Carsie Blanton / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Carsie Blanton | Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko

If you look at her Patrean page, she is a self-described “songwriter, performer, jazz geek, pop enthusiast, and thoughtful hedonist.” Read her bio to learn that she is “an unschooler, a sex blogger, and a Lindy Hopper.” Check out her blog to find her “thoughts on love, sex, music and ferocity.” She lives in a pink house just outside the French quarter of New Orleans with a studio out back called The Watermelon. Her genre on Facebook is “the good kind,” and has been praised by reputable sources like Washington Post, USA Today, OffBeat Magazine, and even John Oates…just to name a few.

There’s no denying that chic singer songwriter Carsie Blanton has a flare of all her own. And the amount of purity and musical depth she brings to a stage is nothing short of entrancing. Thursday evening, Blanton and her touring entourage brought some New Orleanian warmth to a bitter Lancaster winter at the wood trimmed Irish pub Tellus 360. Continue reading →

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Closing In On Perfection: Jason Isbell plays a sold-out Keswick Theatre

Jason Isbell | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Jason Isbell | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

It’s been interesting following Jason Isbell on his journey through his breakthrough album Southeastern. Just before the release, I caught him late one night in a sparsely-filled upstairs at the World Cafe for the NON-COMMvention. He played solo, and when he started his set the chatter at the bar was louder than the song itself. He got a certain hard look in his eyes, and belted out the chorus to the then unreleased “Cover Me Up.” Lights flickered. It got everyone’s attention. And the songs on Southeastern and subsequent performances with his exceptional band the 400 Unit have been doing so ever since. Continue reading →

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Riff Raff brings Neon Icon spectacle to the Troc

Riff Raff
Riff Raff | photo by Morgan Smith | www.phobymo.com/

It’s a weekday night and the Troc is full of disinterested hipsters, 16-year-olds in phosphorescent rave wear and a few older men who, judging by their appearance, are most definitely in on the joke. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Riff Raff, considering the last time I saw him perform was at Mad Decent Block Party two summers ago where he was booed off stage for lip syncing, but I was hoping he had matured as a performer since then.

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Marilyn Manson favors performance-value over shock-value at the Electric Factory

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson | photo by Morgan Smith | www.phobymo.com

Stepping back from the raw, deliberate provocation of his earlier work, Marilyn Manson has decidedly mellowed out as the years have gone by. With shock-rock impropriety failing to command the limelight it once did (since nothing’s shocking anymore, really), prospects have leveled off for the aging rockers. Touring on the Hell Not Hallelujah tour in support of their ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor, Manson’s antihero shocked the Electric Factory by not shocking – just delivering a worthwhile performance to the fans before him.

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