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Historian. Feminist. Folklorist. Re-appropriator. Carolina Chocolate Drop. These are some of Rhiannon Giddens’ attributes. They certainly do not even begin to tell the story of her musicianship and towering live presence, let alone her ability to lead a brilliant backing band. On Friday at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House, Giddens delivered a live show not soon to be forgotten. Continue reading →
On stage, Brad Oberhofer is a man of many talents. He’s not just the guitarist and lead vocalist for his aptly named band Oberhofer, but an actively at-work orchestrator of everything and nothing. Seeing Oberhofer live is a free-form exercise in creativity. Will he ask the audience for articles of clothing to decorate his mic stand, or leave the stage in the middle of the song to run out and grab a bar stool to stand on and play from in the middle of the crowd? Yes. Both. Or maybe neither. Or potentially something entirely else. Continue reading →
There’s often a marked shift in stage presence between opening and headlining bands, an amplification of the energy or the crowd command – or even more fundamentally the volume of the show – that tends to be testimony to the experience of the latter. Maybe they’ve been around longer. Maybe they’re just more comfortable up there.
Whatever it is, that transition was seamless on November 19th at the Tower Theater, between the headliners – Louisville psych-rock vets My Morning Jacket – and the band who opened for them that night, Timothy Showalter’s Strand Of Oaks. Continue reading →
As we mentioned in our preview of Son Little’s homecoming show at Johnny Brenda’s last Friday, nothing stops him from putting on a tight, compelling show.
Even though Aaron Livingston dealt with technical difficulties, a restless sold-out crowd, and some audience members showing complete disregard for him during soft songs, he ultimately regrouped and went on to play a stellar set. Joined at times by guests like DRGN King’s Lucy Stone, Son Little tore through a barn-storming and eventually-transfixing (through no fault of his own) group of songs that included cuts from his excellent new self-titled album, some older pieces, and even a sultry cover of Drake’s Hotline Bling. Continue reading →
Turns out we only sort of knew Minneapolis popsters Hippo Campus. Their XPN Free at Noon appearance this summer was terrific, but hardly the full experience. The audience didn’t once shriek at the top of its lungs, for one thing. Seeing this charismatic four-piece play to a crowd of daydrinking first-timers nodding their heads and slowly coming around to the idea that, hey, these boys can rock is altogether different from seeing it play to the fans. At The Barbary last Thursday night, the show was sold out and the crowd lined the front of the stage, smiles on their face, smart phones at the ready. Continue reading →
There’s a lot that can be said of Alejandro Rose-Garcia. The man who hits the under the alias Shakey Graves is certainly no stranger to the limelight, having appeared in movies and television such as Friday Night Lights before moving on to music. Even though Saturday night at the Electric Factory was a far cry from his DIY-esque moments at Union Transfer earlier this year, Graves is still a force to be reckoned with and doesn’t lose an ounce of his irrepressible charm in a room that’s double the size. Continue reading →
They might suggest their band name is like the plural of Elvis, but Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls and Menonmena are not trying to emulate the king with EL VY. Rather they have created a pop rock crush, sweeping listeners off their feet. On Tuesday, they certainly had the adoration of an overjoyed Union Transfer crowd. Playing every song from Return to the Moon plus a cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ classic “She Drives Me Crazy,” they did what few in the audience would truly expect — perform as their current persona rather than as a schizophrenic version of EL VY, The National, Menonmena and beyond. Continue reading →
When I first walked into PhilaMOCA on a rainy Tuesday evening for the absolutely stacked quadruple-bill featuring I Tried to Run Away When I Was Six, PWR BTTM, Palehound, and Mitski, nearly everyone was sitting on the ground. I was confused – was I at the right show? Why aren’t people ready to mosh? Wasn’t this supposed to be a punk show?
It turns out that I was indeed at a punk show — the mostly twenty-something, denim-jacket-wearing crowd confirmed as much – but it didn’t have the raucous atmosphere I expected. Though the audience was forced to stand up and make room as more people trickled in through PhilaMOCA’s tiny doorway, the intimate atmosphere remained over the course of the entire evening. Continue reading →
The Hooters are celebrating their 35th year of music-making in a grand fashion with a whirlwind tour. This past Friday and Saturday the Philadelphia band sold out The Keswick Theater both nights. The adoring crowd on Saturday and the pure joy of music-making emanating from the stage combined to make a powerful night of rock. Continue reading →