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It’s been so long since Jack White came to Philly, we went to Maryland to see Jack White. And it was outstanding.

Jack White | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Jack White | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Pardon me if I was not sweating by the end of Jack White’s rip-roaring 105-minute set on Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland; it was a nippy 55 degrees by show’s end. The nearly sold-out crowd was certainly in a heated frenzy from start to finish as White orchestrated a set that spanned his two solo albums, The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs.

Notorious for moody and eccentric behavior, White seemed nothing but pleased to be playing on a Sunday night. From the first notes of the show-opening White Stripes’ song “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” onward, the crowd was on its feet. Lit exclusively by blue lights, White, with a new hairdo that appeared inspired by Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, did what he does best: paint an aural landscape of sublime rock ’n’ roll with his guitar brilliance and bluesy vocals. Continue reading →

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Keeping rock and roll dreams alive with Tom Petty at the Wells Fargo Center

Tom Petty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Tom Petty | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

If you told me that a dude who’s about to turn 64 was capable of drawing 20,000 Philadelphians out to the Wells Fargo center (that’s right, the place that unabashedly charges about $8.00 for a slice of Lorenzo’s pizza that would normally run you $3.00, but I’m not bitter) on a Monday night during an Eagles game no less, I’d crack a smile and say, “good one”. But that joke is a reality and that dude is Tom Petty, a man who is undoubtedly the world’s most offhand rockstar. But Petty wasn’t alone in his blithe glory; his quintessential almost all-American (drummer Steve Ferrone hails from Brighton, England) backing band, The Heartbreakers, was not just equally old, but equally killin’. Continue reading →

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Watch The War on Drugs jam with Kurt Vile at Johnny Brenda’s

The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese
The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese

I remember a time, not too long ago, when Philly space rock luminaries The War on Drugs could comfortably fit all their gear on the stage at Johnny Brenda’s with room to spare. But as their sound and scope has expanded, so has their spatial footprint, and I found myself at the foot of the Fishtown venue on Friday night, looking at the dozens of pedals cabled together and a veritable fortresses of keyboards, of amps and microphones and Charlie Hall’s drumkit tucked way back into the corner, wondering to myself how the heck this was going to work. Thankfully, the dudes pulled it off tremendously, and had enough room for founding member Kurt Vile to join the band for guitar shreddery on “Under the Pressure,” “Arms Like Boulders” and “I Hear You Calling.” Continue reading →

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Singular songwriter Chris Isaak takes to the Keswick stage

Chris Isaak | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Chris Isaak | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Whether you hear Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” for the first time or the 50th, it is still unlike any song from 1989 or 2014. And to see Isaak performing this and any of the dozens of songs he has created or covered is a must-see. I finally caught him on Friday at the Keswick and was as ecstatic with the show as the rest of the nearly sold-out crowd. Continue reading →

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The Gaslight Anthem leads a stacked bill of late-summer punk at The Mann

The Gaslight Anthem| Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
The Gaslight Anthem| Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

“Proficiency” was the common thread throughout this particularly brisk Friday evening at the Mann Center’s Skyline Stage. A thoroughly stacked lineup, it’s tough (and downright reductive) to refer to the bands who played before The Gaslight Anthem as “openers.” Based on the draw each act produced during their respective sets, Friday night’s audience would heartily agree. Continue reading →

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Dr. Dog’s Lawn of Mann brings eclectic excitement to the Skyline Stage

Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

On Saturday night, Dr. Dog treated us to an all-night party at the Mann Skyline Stage sharing the spotlight with Hop Along, The Front Bottoms, and Mac Demarco.  At first glance, this line-up sounds like it might not work but as proven by the end of the night, Dr. Dog is open to many sonic adventures, so it only makes sense that in their hometown, they took a chance and exposed their fan base to some music that may go against your average tour promoter’s instincts. Continue reading →

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Obscura celebrates local talent at West Philly’s A-Space

Obsucra | Photo by John Vettese
The Bul Bey | Photo by John Vettese

The latest in the semi-regular Obscura series brought a stellar lineup of local talent to the A-Space anarchist community center in West Philly on Saturday night. Founded by local writer and promoter Lissa Alicia Simpsons, the series aims to spotlight local independent artists who are all too often overlooked in the Philly music scene. Continue reading →

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Dead Milkmen raise hell at Laurel Hill Cemetery

The Dead Milkmen at Laurel Hill Cemetery | Photo by John Vettese
The Dead Milkmen at Laurel Hill Cemetery | Photo by John Vettese

You probably know them as a fun punk rock band, but that doesn’t mean Philly’s Dead Milkmen don’t have a dark side. Last Friday, the local favorites headlined a benefit at Laurel Hill Cemetery in East Falls. The band performed between the pillars of a mausoleum off of Hunting Park Avenue, while the crowd – reportedly over 1,000 in attendance – gathered along the walkway and among the headstones up the hill. As dusk turned to dark and clove cigarette smoke filled the brisk pre-autumn air, the four guys on crypt  stage launched into a squalor of rumbling beats and instrumental feedback as frontman Rodney Anonymous murmured “White on white translucent black capes.” Holy shit. They were covering “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus. So perfect. Continue reading →

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DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist celebrate Afrika Bambaata and the art of turntablism at The TLA

DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

In the most basic description of the term ‘DJ’ it is possible to narrow down the term to 3 categories. There is the DJ that just plays music, only presses play or plugs in the iPod or hits shuffle on the laptop. This, unfortunately, is by and large the view of the DJ in far too many circles. Second is the DJ that works the crowd, they have an understanding of music that runs deep and knows how to play to their target audience, and in turn deepen that appreciation, and build relationships. Thirdly, there is the DJ that can play an audience not the music they came to hear, but the music the DJ wants to play, and present it in such a way as to give said audience an appreciation of something that might otherwise be outside of their comfort zone. Continue reading →