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SOJA takes over World Cafe Live for Free at Noon

SOJA | Photo by Cameron Pollack
SOJA | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Reggae/Dub kings SOJA took over World Cafe for an incredible display of lyricism and musicianship. SOJA’s music stays true to their traditional form on their latest LP, Amid The Noise And Haste, an album chock full of social commentary, reggae melodies, and incredible guest artists, including Collie Buddz and Damian Marley among others. Continue reading →

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Agnes Obel performed a stunning set at World Cafe Live

Agnes Obel | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Agnes Obel | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Danish singer-songwriter and pianist Agnes Obel played a mesmerizing set at World Cafe Live on Tuesday night. Returning to the US for part of her global tour in support of her sophomore LP, Aventine (2013), Obel primarily performed songs from that record, as well as a few selections from her debut release Philharmonics (2010).

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King Britt, Dozia, Questlove and the Back2Basics family had a high-energy reunion at Hard Rock

DJ  PHSH, King Britt and Questlove | Photo by John Vettese
DJ PHSH, King Britt and Questlove | Photo by John Vettese

The first time I heard King Britt was over the sound system of the HMV on Walnut Street back in 2001. I knew of him via City Paper and Philadelphia Weekly stories about Back2Basics, the party he and DJ Dozia threw at Silk City (which I was never cool enough to attend). The song coming from the speakers was “Happiness” featuring Lady Alma, and it blew me away. I immediately walked over to the Dance section, found the album under his moniker of Sylk-130 titled Re-Members Only” and skimmed the track list and collaborators: Alison Moyet, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kathy Sledge, Grover Washington Jr.

It was a love letter to sitting at home on a Saturday night and listening to stations like Power 99 who, back in the 80’s, would play everything from quiet storm to rap to Madonna. It’s an album that still is miles beyond most in capturing that time for listeners who missed out.

When I heard there was going to be a Back2Basics reunion, I was itching to go and finally experience what I never got a chance to back when the event was a regular thing. Continue reading →

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Tori Amos dazzles Verizon Hall with a career-spanning set

Tori Amos
Tori Amos | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

On Sunday night, Tori Amos took Broad Street by storm. At the nearly sold-out Verizon Hall, Amos, armed only with her Bosendorfer piano, a keyboard and an organ, unlocked her musical treasure-trove for a stirring 20-song set.

Theoretically touring behind her 2014 album Unrepentant Geraldines (she only played two tracks from the album), Amos dug deep into her catalog and her diverse musical interests. Continue reading →

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A train is no match for The Avett Brothers’ set at Musikfest

The Avett Brothers / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
The Avett Brothers / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“Well my good Lord was with me tonight. Just ridin’ beside me tonight. And now were’ just talkin’, we’re hitch hiking walkin’. We’ll see you in Bethlehem tonight. And now we’re just talkin’, just hitchhiker walkin’. We’ll see you in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania tonight.”

Last night, Seth Avett enchanted the MusikFest crowd with his solo performance of “In The Curve” from The Avett Brothers‘ from 2007′s Emotionalism. It wasn’t quite what he implied while leaving The Mann Center stage in September, but Bethlehem isn’t too far off the map, and the band had the steel stacks as their backdrop as they headlined Musikfest last night. Continue reading →

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The Rosebuds played a vibrant set to a packed Boot and Saddle

The Rosebuds | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
The Rosebuds | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

We all have bands we love that we wish would make it big. Among mine are The Rosebuds. They certainly have found success, as Merge signed them back in 2003 and they have worked with big-name collaborators like Justin Vernon. The well-attended Boot & Saddle show on Thursday night showed a demand for their indie-pop aesthetics. But at the end of the day they should at the very least entertain a full house at Union Transfer. Why? Harmonies, percussion, keys and strings floating between early ‘60s rock, Hall and Oates and the dance floor make them a unique, creative force that exists in a class of its own.

Ivan Howard, with his newsboy cap and rich vocals, and Kelly Crisp, front-and-center on keyboards with sweet harmonies at the ready, were a joy to watch. The one-time married couple are completely in-synch musically, leading The Rosebuds current line-up. Among the mix were drummer Rob Lackey, guitarist Brian Weeks and bassist and back-up vocalist Mark Paulson. Continue reading →

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Listen to JD McPherson make a rollicking Musikfest pit stop at today’s Free At Noon

JD McPherson
JD McPherson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Rockabilly hero JD McPherson stopped by World Cafe Live on his way to Musikfest this evening out in central Pennsylvania. McPherson rocked the lunch hour with a set chock-full of 12-bar blues, organ and piano solos, and danceable tunes. “Country Boy,” the second song in the lineup, slowed things down with hard-swinging minor blues driven by Jimmy Sutton’s bass playing. “I Can’t Complain” and “Wolf Teeth” both had the entire crowd dancing and swinging along to his powerful, Buddy Holly influenced style. Continue reading →