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“Life and death are opposing shores,” sang Josh Marsh to the upstairs crowd at World Cafe Live on Tuesday. “But we walk along till our feet are sore.”
Maybe it was the grey afternoon and licks of ice patching the sidewalk. Maybe it was the reminder of a ridiculously treacherous travel conditions not 36 hours before that had semis plummeting around the highway, claiming the lives of four commuters and injuring dozens more. Maybe it was my friend at the bar, moved by the headlines, talking about the preciousness of life.
The middle of January in Philadelphia means its time for one of the best live one-two rock ’n’ roll punches around — Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. World Café played host to their sold-out performances Saturday and both bands were at the top of their game. Led by David Lowery, one of the foremost crusaders for fair compensation for musicians, they cruised mainly through California settings, transporting their frigid fans to sunny musical highs. Continue reading →
Last Thursday Scottish punk masters The Vaselines captivated a sold out Johnny Brenda’s. Scorching through a 22-song set, they were a brilliant act to behold. And with Philly-based Amanda X opening, it was a perfect night of rock, both old and new.
Led by the charming duo of Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, The Vaselines were entertaining in both song and banter. Their works immortalized by Nirvana — “Son of a Gun,” “Molly’s Lips” and “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” — were riveting, with “Jesus” having a seeming air of nuanced poignancy. (And despite a seemingly out-of-place request by the audience of a Nirvana cover, they even played a brief riff from “Come as You Are.”) Continue reading →
Austin-based indie pop band Wild Child played a fun, upbeat show at Johnny Brenda’s on Friday night. Throughout the night, the group introduced a handful of new songs from their forthcoming album as they performed a mix of material off their most recent album The Runaround (2013) and their debut LP Pillow Talk (2011) to a sold-out crowd. Incorporating several instruments including violin, cello, piano, trumpet, and percussion in their music allows Wild Child to produce a rich and unique sound that is rarely heard in the majority of music produced today. Throughout the set, lead singer and violinist Kelsey Wilson led the group with her enthusiastic and jazzy vocals while the band filled the room with complex harmonies and beats. Continue reading →
“More than anything, I’m a storyteller,” Philly’s Jazmine Sullivan told the big crowd gathered around the tiny stage at MilkBoy Studio. And true to that, her listening party last Thursday very much had a Storytellers vibe to it: Sullivan seated on a barstool, listening to the album track by track, pausing in between to share background tidbits and perspective on each one. Continue reading →
Last Thursday the Indigo Girls filled the packed Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood, NJ with their soulful folk. Making up for a rained out show they were supposed to play last summer, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers wove their gorgeous voices and expertly crafted guitar riffs into a solid 21-song set. Continue reading →
If it was 2011, I’d say that Sam Herring has the proverbial “Moves Like Jagger.” But it’s not 2011. It’s 2015. Which is the year after 2014—the year that seemingly everyone and their grandmother woke up to the fact that Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring has the moves like Samuel T. Herring. Saturday night, Herring and the Future Islands crew brought the grooves and moves that hallmark their wild style to Union Transfer, for the first of two very sold out shows. Continue reading →
New Sweden‘s Birthday Party Concert was indeed a party. With openers Levee Drivers (who played a sensational cover of New Sweden’s “Dick Wolf”) and a high-energy, goes-to-11 set from Scantron, what followed was a New Sweden show like we’d never seen before.
Mixing brand new tracks with classics from over the last five years of their existence, and having members of other regional bands fill in or completely take over the stage, the show did feel like a celebration. Continue reading →