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Casual Splendor: The Met Philly makes its debut with Bob Dylan in the driver’s seat

A sold-out crowd awaits Bob Dylan at opening night of The Met Philly | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A chilly breeze cut up Poplar Street yesterday morning, blowing broken caution tape and discarded Wawa bags above the heads of dignitaries gathered for the ribbon cutting of The Met Philly. Out on the building’s North Broad Street face, a team of carpenters scrambled to reinforce windows and hammer out other down-to-the-wire touch ups.

“Did you bring your checkbook?” developer Eric Blumenfeld asked his colleagues from the podium. “We still have some work to do.”

The crowd chuckled at his quip, but it seems that The Met will be well into its inaugural season before work on the building is completely finished; and not for nothing, either, since renovating a century-old music venue is a delicate task. Not that the casual concertgoer will really notice the ongoing work. The parts of the venue that matter the most — the concert hall, the bars and other hospitality centers — were mostly in full swing last night for the opening concert with Bob Dylan and his band. And from there, the calendar only gets more exciting: John Legend tonight, Lindsey Stirling in a couple weeks, Kurt Vile near year’s end. As Live Nation’s regional president Geoff Gordon said upon taking the mic, “We don’t want to be pigeonholed into one genre, whether it be Tyler Perry or Charlie Wilson, whether it be PnB Rock, Mariah Carey, or Bob Dylan. We’re going to do it all.”

Returning to the venue just ahead of showtime, the disarray of the morning — confetti strewn around the streets, construction gear lining the sidewalks — had all been swept away for the glitz and glamour of a searchlight casting a radiant golden glow on the building’s white brick facade and arched windows. Once inside, though, the mood of the night became remarkably more casual. This didn’t feel weighed down by the formality of, say, seeing a show at the Kimmel Center or Academy of Music, where you’re likely to be surrounded by concertgoers wearing button-up shirt / tie combos or and cocktail dresses, sipping wine out of plastic cups. Some of that was going on at The Met, sure, but for the most part the vibe was a rock show audience in a venue filled with grandeur.  Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Up To Me” by Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan | photo by Barry Feinstein | courtesy of the artist

More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14 is the latest collection of material from Bob Dylan’s vaults and his vast recording history. This time around, the focus is on perhaps what many of his fans and historians consider to be one of his greatest albums, Blood On The Tracks, originally released in January 1975.

Often bootlegged, this new Dylan collection makes these previously unreleased songs available officially for the first time. More Blood, More Tracks includes over 70 previously unreleased tracks, and every surviving take from the Blood On the Tracks recording sessions. Continue reading →

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Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile and Amos Lee are on the initial lineup for The Met Philly

Bob Dylan | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN // Amos Lee | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Singer-songwriter icon Bob Dylan will be the first artist to take the stage at the newly renovated venue The Met Philly, which opens on December 3rd. The initial lineup was announced this afternoon in a press conference from promoters Live Nation, and it also features Philly son Kurt Vile playing his hometown album release for his new Bottle It In LP on December 29th, and fellow hometown hero Amos Lee headlining on April 6, 2019.

The initial run of shows also includes Toto tribute band Weezer headlining on December 12th, cerebral Bucks County alt-popsters Ween on December 13th, violinist Lindsey Stirling on December 18th, and Germantown rapper PnB Rock on December 28th. Continue reading →

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Bob Dylan, St. Vincent and more cover classic love songs for new EP of same-sex wedding songs

Image via The New York Times

Bob Dylan appears alongside Kesha, St. Vincent and more in a new compilation EP called Universal Love. The EP features covers of classic love songs with pronouns switched pronouns from the original, so that they can serve as wedding songs for same-sex couples. Some of the songs featured on the album are “My Guy”, a Temptations cover performed by Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, and “And I Love Him”, a Beatles cover performed by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Soccer Mommy at Everybody Hits, Bob Dylan at Tower Theater, Modern English at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

Soccer Mommy | photo via sopharela.bandcamp.com
Soccer Mommy, the project of Sophie Allison, was in town recently opening for Jay Som, and now they’ll headline their own gig tonight at Everybody Hits. Past Life and Witch Bomb also play. Soccer Mommy, known for their “chill but kinda sad bedroom-pop jams,” released Collection in August; listen to standout track “Out Worn” below. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Just Announced: Bob Dylan will headline The Tower for two nights in November

Bob Dylan | Firefly Music Festival | Photos by John Vettese

The title says it all: Bob Dylan. Tower Theater. Not one, but two glorious nights. November just got a whole lot better. The legendary singer-songwriter and 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate will be bringing his iconic classics to life on November 11th and 12th as part of a just-announced national tour.
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XPN MusicNotes: Coldplay dedicates new song to hurricane victims, Bob Dylan concert film readies for October debut

Coldplay | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

“We wrote this new song, “Houston,” because we all grew up loving country music, and of course that’s kind of what we think of when we go to Texas. So if you’ll bear with us, this is a new song and we’ll never play this again.” -Chris Martin

After canceling a concert in Houston due to hurricane Harvey, Coldplay dedicated a new song to storm victims while performing in Miami. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Joan Osborne sings the songs of Bob Dylan on her new album and fall tour

Joan Osbourne | Photo via Rollingstone.com

“I don’t think it’s hyperbole to talk about Dylan as an artist who’s on the same level as Pablo Picasso or William Shakespeare. He’s really an epic poet of America, and any singer can find such an incredible wealth and richness in his material, not just me.”- Joan Osborne re: Bob Dylan in Rolling Stone

Joan Osborne will be heading out on tour this fall, singing the songs of Bob Dylan as she releases a new album. Find out more & check out some of her covers. Continue reading →