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Ohio songstress Lydia Loveless rocked MilkBoy with TJ Kong, Josh Olmstead

Lydia Loveless | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Lydia Loveless | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Equal parts rock and country, Lydia Loveless is a shot of rhythmic fire. And for 90-plus minutes last Thursday the Ohio-based songstress and her band held a crowded MilkBoy under her spell.

Only 24, Loveless spins tales of desire and soul with a knowhow of someone twice her age. Her voice curls with country swirl on songs like the utterly brilliant “To Love Somebody,” while her lyrics often instantly become memorable, like on “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud.” Both aforementioned songs are from her solid 2014 album Somewhere Else, which was heavily featured in the setlist. Continue reading →

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Twenty One Pilots blows away the Tower Theater, twice

Twenty One Pilots | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Twenty One Pilots | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Alternative pop/rock duo Twenty One Pilots lit up the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby last night. The Columbus, Ohio band attracted enough fans for two sold-out performances, both Saturday and Sunday. I, along with four city blocks of people, waited outside to get a prime spot for the general admission performance. (Some devoted fans claimed to have spent the night outside the Tower in order to get a front row spot.) Continue reading →

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Banks entrances a sold-out Union Transfer crowd

Banks | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Banks | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Up and coming alternative R&B artist BANKS returned to Philadelphia on Saturday night at Union Transfer as part of her Goddess Tour. Despite the fact that her debut album, Goddess, was only released earlier this month, BANKS already has an impressive following drawing a sold-out crowd for an emotional set of evocative, heartbroken songs. With a two-piece backing playing a mix of drums, keyboard, guitar, and electronic effects, her minimal yet soulful performance entranced the crowd throughout the night. Continue reading →

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From outer space to the E-Factory, Broken Bells impress

Broken Bells | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Broken Bells | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

The NSEA Protector has landed, and its shipmates might just be human. Only the spaceship is actually Broken Bells’ set of sci-fi stage adornments and the shipmates happen to be James Mercer and Danger Mouse (Brian Burton), two of the 21st century’s champions of songcraft. It’s no secret that this unlikely duo aspires to an astral cyborg aura, their 2010 video for “The Ghost Inside” featuring Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks as a cash poor humanoid on a space shuttle in search of her dream planet. But try as you may, there’s no keeping these guys from touching down on Earth to put on a stellar dynamic – and notably human – live concert. Continue reading →

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Indie diety J Mascis plays an understated set at World Cafe Live

J Mascis | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
J Mascis | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

If intentionally underachieving, blasé, slacker indie rock is your thing, J Mascis is your guy. I don’t mean to say that the man Spin ranked 5th on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time doesn’t care about his art – quite the contrary. His croaky drone of a voice is, in its own weird way, quite expressive, and the dude shreds on 6 strings like no other. But if you expect this god of the indie-est of rock to put on a mind-blowing performance (as I unknowingly did), you are in for a world of disappointment. Continue reading →

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Going outdoors with Screaming Females, Shellshag at Don Giovanni Records showcase

Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Screaming Females | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

To spend the last Saturday of summer outside in beautiful weather is a must. But to get live music with the sun and warmth is even better. Throw in some punk and indie rock sensibilities and you get last weekend’s Don Giovanni Records showcase at Boyd Park in New Brunswick, New Jersey. With the Raritan River as a stunning backdrop, the awesome forces of Screaming Females, Shellshag and six other bands were quite a treat. Continue reading →

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Shovels and Rope had a rousing hootenanny at Union Transfer

Shovels and Rope | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Shovels and Rope | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

The ability of two people to rock a venue like Union Transfer from the stage all the way to the back of the balcony is certainly rare. On Wednesday night Shovels & Rope showed they can do this from their first notes to the last in a rousing hootenanny before a packed house.

Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are husband and wife and the duo of Shovels & Rope. Switching from drums to guitar and back throughout the night, they show great versatility. Their love for music and each other shines through as well. Continue reading →

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Global maestro Stromae makes a stunning Philly debut at The Troc

Stromae | Photo by John Vettese
Stromae | Photo by John Vettese

As soon as an artist on a Philadelphia stage mentions cheesesteaks, that’s my cue to tune out. While I appreciate the stab at a regional reference, if that’s honestly the best you can do – like, come on dudes and dudettes, didn’t your tour van take you anywhere else today? – I’d rather just hear you play songs. Usually. So points are due to Paul Van Haver, aka Belgian dance pop sensation Stromae, for bantering about our local cuisine in a way that didn’t come across as patronizing, but totally within the context of the performer’s larger global vision. Continue reading →

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KRS-One shared wit and wisdom on the Trocadero stage

KRS-One
KRS-One | Photo by Morgan Smith | http://phobymo.tumblr.com/

Real hip-hop is alive and well. Sunday’s performances at The Troc, with KRS-One headlining, proved that not only is there so much to love about real, original hip-hop music but that like the people of Philadelphia that love comes in all forms. Mingling among 50-year-old men in bucket hats and crimson Adidas jumpsuits were skinny-legged hipsters, collar-popping bros and scores of others who defy categorization; an audience as boundless as the reach and appeal of the art.
Continue reading →