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Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden brought a nineties revival to the Susquehanna Bank Center

Soundgarden | photo by Joe del Tufo
Soundgarden | photo by Joe del Tufo | http://www.joedeltufo.com/

It was an odd combination of 90s era bands hitting the Susquehanna Bank stage in Camden last night. Soundgarden came out a little rusty, seemingly going through the motions on hits like “Spoonman” and “Outshined” early in their set. Vocalist Chris Cornell seemed to have all of the right moves, they just seemed half-hearted and he looked particularly gaunt framed in front of the large screen. The big drum sound of Matt Cameron was also noticeably missing. They picked it up near the end of the 80 minute set with a searing version of “Rusty Cage” leading into an inspired “Beyond the Wheel.” It all looked and sounded fine, but overall left me wanting.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Jimmer Podrasky performed a career spanning set upstairs

Jimmer Podrasky | photo by Cameron Pollock
Jimmer Podrasky | photo by Cameron Pollack

At a recent Free at Noon performance, Jimmer Podrasky put on an excellent showcase of unplugged music upstairs.  Formerly of the critically acclaimed rock group The Rave-Ups, Podrasky came to World Cafe Live in support of a new solo album called The Would-Be Plans, his first in nearly 25 years. Continue reading →

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RX Bandits, The Dear Hunter and From Indian Lakes put on killer triple bill at Union Transfer

Photo by Cameron Pollock
Photo by Cameron Pollock

Part of why I sought out a position as a writer and photographer at XPN is so I could constantly be exposed to new artists and new musical directions. I’ve found so far that my favorite method of discovery since hopping onboard XPN’s contributor list is by discovering bands at concerts. I’ve learned of myriad artists in this manner, including Strand of Oaks, Parquet Courts, and The 1975. On a warm summer night at Union Transfer, I had the pleasure of discovering and subsequently falling in love with three mind-blowingly fantastic acts: From Indian Lakes, The Dear Hunter, and Rx Bandits.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Trampled By Turtles bring Wild Animals to World Cafe Live

Trampled By Turtles | photo by Cameron Pollock
Trampled By Turtles | photo by Cameron Pollack

Trampled By Turtles treated attendees to an impeccable display of folk at a recent Free at Noon appearance, featuring frequent violin solos, four part harmonies, and stomp box and tambourine percussion.

The band stopped in Philly for the first of two times as part of the US leg of their tour, and they will return to Philly’s Union Transfer on the 10th of September. Hot off the release of their latest album, Wild Animals, they arrived at World Cafe to showcase the same infectious folk that kept them in the top 10 of Billboard’s Bluegrass chart for an entire year. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: The Sixties

The Sixties were reared in the DIY scene surrounding the Montgomery County burg of Lansdale, and are tight friends with some of its players (including The Wonder Years, who they opened up for at The First Unitarian Church last year). But don’t let that typecast them. They’re only sorta punk; they’re not even remotely pop-punk. More to the point, these dudes are unapologetically hard rock, aggressive and anthemic and loaded with hooks, vocal bravado by frontman C.J. Morgan and serpentine shreddery by lead guitarist Chris Wagner. Continue reading →

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Who was that guy impersonating Forrest Gump throughout XPoNential 2014?

Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Forrest Gump impersonator Paul Dengler | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

You never know what you’re gonna get at a music festival. At least that’s what Paul Dengler wanted to make sure life was like at XPoNential this year.

Dengler, a Forrest Gump impersonator, was seen from Friday to Sunday watching performances, interacting with festival-goers and starting conga lines. Continue reading →

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Go behind the scenes of the next Philly Tapes Philly release with Wilbur and Satellite Hearts

 

Philly Tapes Philly Volume 5 | photo by Wendy McCardle
Philly Tapes Philly Volume 5 | photo by Wendy McCardle

Philly Tapes Philly will present its fifth monthly collaboration this Thursday at Ortlieb’s, featuring local acts Wilbur and Satellite Hearts.  The two bands spent some in the PTP headquarters earlier this month to create a pair of brand new songs that will be recorded onto cassette tapes and given away for free to the first 50 people through the door at the release show.  Videographer Bob Sweeney was on hand to film the recording session, and you can see some behind the scenes footage (along with an instrumental preview of one of the tracks and photos taken by Wendy McCardle) below.  More information for the free release show can be found on the Facebook event page here.  Learn more about the Philly Tapes Philly project here.

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XPNFest Recap: Marian Hill brings soulful sundown synthpop to the Marina Stage

Marian Hill | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Marian Hill | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

“This is the first festival we’ve played outdoors in the daytime,” joked Marian Hill frontwoman Samantha Gongol. The Philly / Brooklyn synthpop band took the Marina Stage at XPoNential Music Fest as the sun was beginning to set, and though the setting may have been new to the band, they rocked it with style and charisma. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Viv and The Revival kickstart the festival on the Marina Stage

Viv and the Revival | photo by Noah Silvestry
Viv and the Revival | photo by Noah Silvestry | www.silvestography.com

The opening notes of the 2014 XPoNential Music Festival were power chords played by Viv and the Revival, a local group set to release a new album called The Introduction next month.  Playing tracks off of the record, the band kept the energy high and the mood edgy as they sung about living life to the fullest, staying young and generally having fun at all times.

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Folkadelphia Session: Mason Porter

What continues to make West Chester, PA’s Mason Porter a force to be reckoned with in the Americana and roots community, especially regionally, is the intimacy that they bring to each song. Whether it is in live performance, on record (like their latest Home For The Harvest), or, now, with their Folkadelphia Session, the trio of Joe D’Amico, Tim Celfo, and Paul Wilkinson have an uncanny ability to draw the listener in and keep them close. I can only think that this magical power is the result of a strong and long-standing chemistry between the members. Heck, we know they can all play their instruments and yes, that’s terribly important. They harmonize like the bee’s knees too. But it’s that extra something something that only comes about after years of meshing together that pushes their”good” to “great.” Can we also talk about how tight these guys are when they perform? Beyond chemistry, Mason Porter comes prepared. Folks like to throw around the word “simplistic” to classify MP’s brand of stripped back Americana. Do not fool yourself into thinking that simplicity implies a lack of imagination, passion, energy, or playing chops. Simplicity mean preparedness; this music only works because the trio is locked in the groove, dialed in, and firing on all cylinders – but, you know, simplistically, acoustically, and intimately.

Mason Porter recorded this Folkadelphia Session back in February when they were fresh off the release of their newest album Home For The Harvest. For more Mason Porter reading and listening, check out The Key’s Unlocked coverage. Mason Porter performs at Underground Arts supporting Spirit Family Reunion on Saturday, August 9th.

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