Tonight’s Concert Picks: McRad at PhilaMOCA, Old Crow Medicine Show at Philadelphia Folk Fest, Dayne Jordan at The Foundry, and more

Chuck Treese of McRad | photo via

Spreading heavy tunes since the eighties, the legend that is Chuck Treese — a drummer, singer, guitarist, skatboarder — will bring his spaced out punk project McRad to PhilaMOCA tonight, alongside Thantophobe and Barnes. Find info on tickets to the show here, and listen to “Weakness” below. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cruisr at TLA, No Good Sister at Tin Angel, Spank Rock / McRad at FringeArts and more

Cruisr | photo by Chris Sembrot

Summery vibes will fill the TLA tonight courtesy of the indie-pop band Cruisr. The band will be joined by Cheerleader, Cold Fronts and Verite, all of whom hail from Philadelphia but play a distinctively sunny-California style that will have you holding on to summer for dear life. Click here for more information on tonight’s show. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: RFA at MilkBoy, McRad at The Fire

Photo by Hannah Pautler
Photo by Hannah Pautler
Philly garage rock dudes RFA open the show for The Once Was tonight at MilkBoy. The four-piece has a Strokes-y sense of swagger and reverence for catchy, vintage rock and roll. Last summer, they placed second in World Cafe Live’s Beta Hi-Fi competition and will be recording a new EP with their winnings this January. Below, check out their Up Late in the Evening EP and get tickets and info on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: McRad


Photo by John L. Langsford III

Every Sunday night, Y-Rock On XPN’s John Vettese brings a Philly band into the depths of the WXPN studios for an in-house interview and recording session. This week’s Key Studio Session was recorded in late August with skatepunk trio McRad—led by session musician, professional skateboarder, and all-around Philly legend Chuck Treece.

Backed by a fast, furious rhythm section—John Langsford on drums and Pat Brennan on bass—McRad ripped through a rapid-fire medley of jams, instrumentals, and covers piled so heavy we’re still sorting through them a week later. These three were favorites from the get-go: the reggae-tinged “No Mystery,” the the circle-pit bruiser “Be Your Friend,” and an amped-up rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive.”—John Vettese


Hear McRad on the Y-Rock Local Tracks Sessions this Sunday

Chuck Treece‘s versatility is the stuff of legend. He spent the ’80s as a pro-skateboard kid who fronted an underground punk band, then made a switch to become one of the most skilled, sought-after session musicians in the city of Philadelphia.

Though he’s pulled bass duties with Pearl Jam and Billy Joel (That bumpin’ low end in “River Of Dreams”? Yup, that’s him.), Treece’s first love remains McRad, the punky power trio he founded as a North Philly teenager in the 1980s. This weekend, Treece is bringing McRad to WXPN studios to record a Y-Rock Local Tracks Session. You can tune in on Sunday, August 29, during the 8:00 hour of Jake Rabid’s Philly Local show.

The band has a few songs that you can stream here.


That Was Then, This Is Now: An oral history of Philly hardcore cult favorites Flag Of Democracy

Flag of Democracy | photo by Yoni Kroll | courtesy of the artist

Picture this: it’s 1982 and punk and hardcore are beginning to take hold in Philadelphia. Three obsessed and eager teenagers decide to form a band. As luck would have it, their friends are booking the show of the year — Washington D.C.’s Minor Threat, considered at the time one of the finest bands around and today to be absolutely legendary — and these suburban teens are asked if they’d open. The band goes up on stage and rips through a fantastically wild set despite it being their first show ever. Everybody is blown away.

In the movie version of this story that would be it. Maybe they learned a valuable lesson. Maybe they didn’t. The final scene is one of those epic montages showing everybody growing up and the reunion three decades on where you might think they’re all normal adults who aren’t angry at the world because they’ve figured it all out but surprise surprise they show up in leather jackets ready to play their second show ever! Roll final credits and …

But wait: this all actually happened and that band, they’re still playing breakneck pissed off hardcore punk. In fact, they never stopped. That’s the world of Flag of Democracy, one of the finest acts to ever come out of Philadelphia and to this day a cult favorite around the world. Continue reading →


Inside Urban Styles, a new book exploring the intersections of graffiti and hardcore

Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore by Freddy Alva is available now | via Amazon

Arguments about legality and aesthetics aside, the term DIY is never more applicable than when you’re talking about graffiti. How much more Do It Yourself is there than putting your art, whatever it might be, directly on a wall for everyone to see? There’s good reason graffiti has been around for all of recorded history: it’s completely accessible but also quite subversive and potentially dangerous. It’s also just so totally badass to write graffiti. You might be doing something illegal but you’re doing something illegal in the name of art. How cool is that?!

There’s a lot of parallels to be made between graffiti and punk. Both rose to a certain amount of cultural prominence in the 70s and 80s. Both owe a lot to people of color who trailblazed the path in places like New York City and Southern California. Both have occupied that funny place in society where they’re both accepted as a sort of protest but also serve as an example of everything that is morally wrong, oftentimes in the same sentence.

So while graffiti is most-often associated with hip-hop, it’s no wonder that there was crossover between the two, a shared movement starting in the early 80s and really coming to a head in the New York hardcore scene of the late 80s and early 90s. Freddy Alva’s new book, Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore, is an incredibly in-depth history of that period, documenting the bands, the graffiti crews, and the style and fashion of this cultural phenomenon. Continue reading →


Farewell, ROCKERS: Reflections as a vital scene showcase comes to an end

ROCKERS | Photo by D1L0 | courtesy of the artist
ROCKERS | Photo by D1L0 | courtesy of the artist

“M​ost nights were fueled by whiskey, cigarettes, and caffeine and it sounded like a fight between hip-hop, punk rock and the blues” ​- songwriter / guitarist Joe Jordan

For over a decade, ROCKERS has held down its spot as the city of Philadelphia’s only event dedicated to showcasing punk, metal and hard rock bands fronted by women and queer musicians of color. Throughout its 10-year history, it has acted as an incubator for some of the city’s weirdest and most unique underground rock acts while creating a space of free expression for it’s performers and audiences – comprised largely of black and brown women performers and audiences.

These ROCKERD nights, all helmed by the event’s longtime host, the charismatic and confrontational poet and performance artist St. Skribbly LaCroix, laid a powerful, long lasting foundation. But on August 3rd, the series will be coming to an end. It’s a move the event’s founders Camae Defstar (aka Moor Mother) and Rebecca Roe have been contemplating since Roe moved to California last year with LaCroix and Defstar took the reins as the primary organizer. In the past year, Defstar’s profile as a performer and sound-artist has increased internationally as well, via her Moor Mother project and her work with the Black Quantum Futurism collective. When asked why the duo made the decision to end such a beloved Philly institution, Defstar states plainly that “ROCKERS is ending because it’s completed it’s mission.” By taking the initiative to create a space for black punks and metal kids to rock out freely, without judgement, while nurturing and empowering countless bands and influencing the city’s new generation of artists and activists, ROCKERS leaves behind a legacy that embodies punk’s DIY spirit. Without question, the event will go down as one of the city’s most unique live music nights — loud, roaring guitars, a packed, sweaty room and dreads swinging in the moshpit. Continue reading →