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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dark Blue at Johnny Brenda’s, Blondie at Tropicana, Leana Song at The Fire and more

Dark Blue | photo courtesy of the artist
Dark Blue | photo courtesy of the artist

Three Philly punk scene vets will take over Johnny Brenda’s tonight bringing a mix of 80s oi! and Britpop. Made up of John Sharkey III, Andrew Mackie Nelson and Mike Sneeringer, Dark Blue is a relatively new to Philly, but it has quickly been making a name for itself. Tickets and info on tonight’s show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; listen to its single “Subterranean Man” below.

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Blondie and X bring their classic punk fire to The Keswick Theatre

X | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com All photos by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Punk rockers Blondie and X arrived at The Keswick this past Thursday as part of the “No Principals” tour, and despite a name evoking a youth revolt against authority, the rockers present are nearing the other end of the age spectrum at nearly 60 (X frontman John Doe) and 70 (Blondie’s Debbie Harry). No matter the age and the dunce cap prop (which looked closer to a witch’s hat, October appropriate for sure) that Doe and Harry wore at the beginning of their respective sets, they both rocked. The tour that has taken them to many other seated venues, like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, and while it’s a strange fit, Blondie succeeded in raising the nearly sold-out crowd to its feet for most of the show.

X’s opening set, using gigantic overhead screens filled with television color bars and other retro static images, was filled with their mostly 2-3 minute fast-paced songs. The original lineup of lead guitarist and singer John Doe, singer Exene Cervenka, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake blasted through a set drawn from their first four albums. Entering the stage to some of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western strings, they launched into the first track from their first album, Los Angeles, “Your Phone’s off the Hook, But You’re Not.” The crowd was mostly seated for the entire set, save when Debbie Harry joined them for “Breathless.” Nonetheless, X still has fire in their veins.

Standing became a requirement when Blondie entered to the tune of “One Way or Another.” Harry and fellow founding members guitarist Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke, along with three newer bandmates, took the crowd on a hit parade journey that had the crowd singing along and dancing. Using the video screens to put a visual exclamation point on songs like “The Tide Is High” with the ebb and flow of water for all to see, Blondie certainly knew how to showcase all angles of their craft. Harry owned the stage, walking back and forth to the edges of the crowd, absorbing the love of fans that has been going strong for 30-plus years. And they were not afraid to showcase new works, with the encore beginning with the brand-new “Mile High,” a catchy song, but certainly not as memorable as their show-closer “Dreaming.” Blondie already was assuring another tour in greater support of their older material, so fans should not fret that this New York band’s staying power for years to come.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Flaming Lips at Festival Pier, Blondie / X at Keswick Theater, Wesley Stace at World Cafe Live and more

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Hailed for their dense psychedelic compositions and exuberant nature, experimental alt-rock legends The Flaming Lips play alongside Tame Impala tonight at Festival Pier. Although the Oklahoma native, five piece outfit toned down their never-leave-a-dull-moment-untouched attitude with April release The Terror, front man Wayne Coyne tells Rolling Stone that the album is “possibly the best Flaming Lips record ever made.” However bleak the release may be, it has not stifled the internationally acclaimed band’s over the top personality; which can be seen in their recent “Turning Violent” and Devo cover “Gates of Steel” videos seen below. Find details and tickets for tonight’s show at the XPN concert calendar.

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Blondie returning with a new album and a show at the Keswick in October

Blondie-600 Blondie are releasing a new album, and have announced its No Principals Tour playing the Keswick Theatre on Thursday, October 3rd with special guests X. They recently announced on their Facebook page, the name of their new album, Ghosts of Download, but no release date has been set yet. Tickets to the show go on sale this Friday, June 21 at Noon here. Below; if you really need to be reminded.

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Baroness unveil Gold & Grey via NPR First Listen, play acoustic tonight at Creep Records

Baroness | photo courtesy of the artist

This week, the Savannah-born, locally-based heavy metal outfit Baroness are back with their latest album in four years, Gold & Grey. The album just premiered on NPR First Listen, and the band announced an accompanying tour, with the first stop tonight at Philadelphia’s Creep Records. Gold & Grey is the final entry in the band’s long-running series of color-coded releases, which began with The Red Album in 2007 and also saw Blue Record, Yellow & Green, and 2015’s Purple.

Differently than the band’s other albums, Gold & Grey sees the band becoming more improvisational and unconstrained, adventuring into new territory. The band explores more stripped-back approaches on “Tourniquet” and quiet piano passages on “Sevens,” while keeping true to their sludge metal roots on “Front Towards Enemy” and “Throw Me An Anchor.” This record is the first to feature guitarist Gina Gleason since the departure of Peter Adams. To their benefit, singer-guitarist John Dyer Baizley and Gleason employ a ton of blissful vocal harmony, contributing to the new experience that they bring to the table. Continue reading →

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Baroness is lean and mean on the new single “Throw Me An Anchor”

Baroness | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Philly metal titans Baroness are releasing their new Gold and Grey album on June 14th, and on the record’s new teaser, “Throw Me an Anchor,” the band takes approximately the opposite approach as the lead single “Borderlines.” That song is an expansive six-minute journey, a burner that holds its core with a shimmering melody throughout; the new song might have a tighter run-time, but it finds the band at its most aggressive, a leaner / meaner Baroness, ready to take on its extended world tour. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest band The Vaughns debut with F.O.M.O.

The Vaughns | courtesy of the artist

Today, May 10th, The Vaughns release their debut album, F.O.M.O., onto the world. The record sees the New Jersey band, made up of David Cacciatore, Anna Lies, Ryan Kenter, and Tom Losito, expanding on the addictive rock sound they had on their 2015 EP Tomfoolery. Tracks like “Kowabunga” and “B.Y.K.T.W.D” will have you dancing around, while “Bby Save Me” highlights their softer side. Lies’ vocals soar throughout the 40 minute project. The album is one you’ll be coming back to all summer long. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest artist J.S. Ondara plays “Saying Goodbye” in a greenhouse for a breathtaking KXT performance

J.S. Ondara | still from video

Folk newcomer J.S Ondara delivered a moving performance of his song “Saying Goodbye” for KXT this week. For fans of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, Ondara will certainly evoke a sense of nostalgia for their respective heydays.

The 26 year old hails from Minneapolis, but has his roots in Nairobi, Kenya, where his love of Dylan first flourished. After obtaining a Green Card visa, Ondara set out for Dylan’s home state, Minneapolis. As the years passed, Ondara solidified his sound, performing and working his way up to where he is now: a major label deal with Universal Music Group. Ondara released his debut album Tales of America back in February, and it has been met with widespread praise. Continue reading →