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Scenes from the Center City Jazz Festival

Ernest Stuart at Center City Jazz Fest | Photo by John Vettese
Center City Jazz Fest founder Ernest Stuart performs at Time | Photo by John Vettese

The best Philadelphia music festival you haven’t checked out yet, Center City Jazz Festival took over the Sansom Street corridor on Saturday afternoon with 20 performers stationed at five different venues. In terms of bang for your buck, it’s an incredible deal: a $15 ticket lets you bounce from space to space, maximizing the music you take in.

If you know nothing about jazz, it’s a robust introduction to the scene – ultra-modern originals mixed with traditional standards and crossover covers of Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin and Nirvana. If you’re more versed in the jazz world, CCJF shines a light on the variety our community has to offer.
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Humble and powerful, George Ezra showed The Troc what he’s got

George Ezra | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
George Ezra | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

After opening for Sam Smith and Hozier in Philadelphia earlier this year, George Ezra returned on Tuesday to headline his own sold out show at the Trocadero. Just as Smith and Hozier did in 2014, the 21-year-old England native has risen to fame overnight. It seems Ezra has not grown completely accustomed to the fame, as evidenced by his bashful response of “Thank you” when a fan screamed “I love you, George!” from the audience. However humble he may be, Ezra’s deep and powerful voice was a true spectacle that night.  Continue reading →

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Danced Out and Super Satisfied: The Ting Tings at Union Transfer

The Ting Tings | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
The Ting Tings | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

Rocking a wild pony tail and a t-shirt that read “Good Vibes”, The Ting Tings‘ frontwoman Katie White really brought serious energy (and, as advertised, good vibes) to Union Transfer on Friday night. The British duo commanded the crowd with disco tinged tunes and electro-pop anthems, making sure to perform songs from all three of their albums in their short but sweet 65-minute set. Continue reading →

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The Last Bison played an interactive, energetic set at World Cafe Live

The Last Bison | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com
The Last Bison | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

What can you expect from a show by The Last Bison? The bare-feet-stomping, conga line-forming, hummus connoisseur frontman Ben Hardesty will keep you on your feet, you’ll clap, you’ll dance, you’ll be glad you came. Last Thursday night, the eclectic seven piece folk band from Chesapeake, VA gave their Philadelphia audience a performance to remember. They mostly played songs off of their latest album, VA, which was recorded in an A-frame cabin in Virginia last September, as well as their more recently released EP, Dorado. The set included a few songs from their earlier records and kept the crowd engaged throughout the evening. Continue reading →

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A bunch of old dudes rocked Philly last night. You may have heard of them; they’re called The Sonics

The Sonics | Photo by Tom Beck
The Sonics | Photo by Tom Beck

Here’s what you need to know about The Sonics: The band is a highly influential garage rock band from the 1960s, who laid the roots for many punk and garage rock bands after them. Without The Sonics, there would no Clash, no Hives, no Ramones, no Strokes and no Nirvana. And despite their high energy, catchy, havoc-wreaking shows, the band never quite made it uber-famous. A few years ago, The Sonics, who are now all in their 70s, burst out of retirement and took their instruments with them, releasing and album, going on a world tour, and taking no prisoners. Last night, the tour finally stopped in Philly at packed TLA house. Continue reading →

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From ballads to rock, Paula Cole showcases variety at World Cafe Live

Paula Cole | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com
Paula Cole | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com

About half way through Paula Cole’s set at World Café Live on Friday, she arose from her piano to move to the middle of the stage. An audience member loudly exclaimed, “oh there your are,” since she had been hidden behind her piano up until that point. Cole unapologetically retorted that she needed to play a real piano and not a keyboard because of its sound quality and that she is just a frustrated drummer at heart. This directness mirrors her music, which gloriously varied between ballads and rock for the 15-song set. Continue reading →

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Public Service Broadcasting brought their imaginative Space Race to Philly

Public Service Broadcasting | Photo by John Vettese
Public Service Broadcasting | Photo by John Vettese

When J. Wilgoose Esquire and Wrigglesworth of Public Service Broadcasting took to the stage at World Cafe Live last night, I wasn’t sure how their live act would translate from their recorded work. For those not familiar, the London duo plays music around samples of old documentary footage provided by the British Film Institute. This probably works very well in an alternative venue or gallery setting where everyone is watching intently but upstairs at World Cafe Live, given that many are eating meals and hanging at the bar, I didn’t know if full attention would be given to the show. Continue reading →

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Illumination: Sufjan Stevens at Academy of Music

Sufjan Stevens | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Sufjan Stevens | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Have you ever seen truth so real that it physically hurts? A burning brand, slowly pressing into your chest, purifying the cavern of your existence? I have—and truth came Thursday night, not with angel wings or capes or neon halos, but in denim jacket and trucker cap, meekly strumming an acoustic guitar. The first time I saw Sufjan Stevens—years ago—it broke something within me. Something I don’t want fixed. And I think that brokenness allows truth in, even though it’s bitterly painful. Thursday night at the Academy of Music, I embraced the truth and pain and beauty of Sufjan Steven’s life and career. Continue reading →