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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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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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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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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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London Grammar put on a tight show at the Electric Factory

London Grammar
London Grammar | photo by Matt Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

London Grammar, the magnificent trio of British electro poppers, returned to Philadelphia for the third time in two years for a magnificent set that was only really hampered by its predictability.  For the uninitiated, London Grammar take the kind of ethereal trip-hop aesthetics that Portishead cultivated back in the 90s, throw in a healthy dose of modern electronic sensibilities and fill them with beautiful vocals that easily glide between soft spoken crooning and booming declarations of love and loss.

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San Fermin electrify Arden Gild Hall

San Fermin
San Fermin | photo by Joe Del Tufo

Much like the running of the bulls from which they are named, San Fermin tore through the Arden Gild hall in Delaware last night. Playing to a near-capacity crowd, a rare standing show for the hall, San Fermin balanced material from their eponymous debut and forthcoming album Jackrabbit.

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