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Round Guys Brewing Company is celebrating Philly Loves Bowie Week with five themed beers

Round Guys’ Brewery’s Bowie-themed Buddha of Suburbia can art | illustration by Keith Warren Greiman

Philly Loves Bowie Week is upon us once again. For the past three years, local fans of David Bowie have dedicated the second week in January to a celebration of the iconic artist’s life and work. Two years ago, Philly mayor Jim Kenney even made it official with a special proclamation. The third annual Bowie Week returns this Friday, January 4, and runs through the 13th. There’s a packed schedule of events that includes everything from an art show, to a masquerade ball, to karaoke, all at various locations across the city.

But the suburbs love Bowie too, and this year some folks outside of the city are joining in on the action. Particularly in Lansdale, where local brewery Round Guys Brewing Company has been brewing Bowie-themed beers since the first Bowie Week in 2016. Continue reading →

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Donny McCaslin and Jason Lindner: The boys of Blackstar go beyond Bowie with Blow and The Buffering Cocoon

Donny McCaslin | photo by Jimmy Fontaine | courtesy of the artist

Tony Visconti and David Bowie walk into a bar. That sounds like the beginning of a joke.

Yet, that very real visit from the pair – in the spring of 2014, into 55 Bar, a longtime West Village jazz joint – is how the relationship between the Bowie-Visconti team, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, and his band of renown (drummer Mark Guiliana, keyboardist Jason Lindner, bassist Tim Lefebvre) began.

Their collaborative work on Bowie’s 2016 Blackstar would have been the stuff of legend even if the British experimentalist had not have died immediately following the album’s release. Blackstar was dark, spacious, free jazz-inspired electronic rock reminiscent of Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and its mad Manhattan follow-up (Low, HeroesLodger, Scary Monsters), yet, boldly new, inventive, genre-less, and often in tune with what McCaslin, Lindner and Co. recorded and performed before that auspicious meeting.

Which brings us exactly to where McCaslin and Lindner are now, with the former’s soon-released new album, Blow, his tour kick-off tomorrow night at Union Stage in D.C., and the newly-rescheduled show at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philly on January 12th, as well as the latter’s first album since Blackstar, The Buffering Cocoon, recorded with his Now Vs Now trio and out September 14. Continue reading →

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A newly discovered demo tape of David Bowie’s first band is up for auction

David Bowie in The Konrads circa 1963 | via BBC

Before he was a legendary, influential figure in music, David Bowie started out playing saxophone in a band called The Konrads in 1963. At age 16, he recorded his first demo with them, which was meant to get the band an audition with Decca, the British record label.

The tape, which features Bowie’s vocals on a song called “I Never Dreamed,” was recently unearthed by Konrads’ drummer David Hadfield in a bread basket, buried under letters, bills, and photographs of the band. As Pitchfork reports, Hadfield’s memorabilia will be sold by Omega Auctions, in Newton-le-Willows on Merseyside, in September. The 55-year old demo is expected to sell for $13,000. Continue reading →

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David Bowie’s classic Aladdin Sane will be reissued for its 45th anniversary

David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane | via discogs

David Bowie disrupted the music industry with his passion for reinvention and transformation. He was a luminary of music, and 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of David Bowie’s sixth studio album Aladdin Sane. The icon released the LP on April 20th, 1973 so it makes sense for Parlophone to release the reissue on April 20th. Continue reading →

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Listen to David Bowie’s 1982 demo for “Let’s Dance,” featuring Nile Rodgers

via davidbowie.com

To mark what would have David Bowie‘s 71st birthday, a stripped-down and funky demo of his hit “Let’s Dance” was unearthed and released today. With the new / old track came a bit of lore about the recording sessions — which took place in December of 1982 at Bowie’s Switzerland home with Chic’s Nile Rodgers and a pickup crew of local musicians coordinated by Claude Nobs of the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Continue reading →

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Ten ways to celebrate Philly Loves Bowie Week in 2018

David Bowie at Veteran’s Stadium for a pre-show cookout in 1987 | photo by Charles Krupa for the Associated Press | via PhillyVoice

Quick — what cities do you associate with shape-shifting rock icon David Bowie?

London…for sure, it’s where he was born, and where he got his creative start. Berlin…hard to dispute that, it’s where he lived in the late 70s and early 80s, recording his most artistically daring run of albums with Brian Eno.

But the Philadelphia region has just as strong a bond with Bowie. While he was on tour in support of Diamond Dogs, he recorded his July 1974 two-night stand at the Tower Theater, releasing it as the double album David Live. He also worked on his incredibly successful 1975 album Young Americans at Sigma Sound, soaking in the influence of the city’s R&B and soul scenes and and developing a following of “Sigma Kids” — devoted super-fans who hung out in and around the Chinatown studio while Bowie worked inside with Tony Visconti.

In 1987, the North American leg of his ambitious, theatrical Glass Spider stadium tour kicked off with two sold-out nights at Veteran’s Stadium in South Philly. In 1996, he gave an intimate (for Bowie) performance at the Electric Factory on the Earthling tour. And since the mid-thousands, an archive of Bowie’s master tapes from the Sigma years has been housed at Drexel University.

In summary, Bowie clearly loved Philadelphia…and Philly Loves Bowie, as evidenced by Philly Loves Bowie Week becoming an officially-proclaimed municipal happening last year on the anniversary of the rocker’s 2016 passing. It returns this year with 20+ events spread all over the city, from happy hours to film screenings to a closing tribute concert at Union Transfer. So put on your red shoes and dance the blues: here are our picks for ten ways to celebrate Philly Loves Bowie Week. Continue reading →

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Introducing The Skeleton Key: Our new DIY scene gossip column covering Bowie donuts to a Dead Moon tribute this month

via dischord.com

Philadelphia is a really huge city. Like, absolutely massive. Next time you have the chance to fly into or out of PHL, take a good long look out the window: it really is the sixth largest city in the country, and that’s not even counting what’s referred to as the Greater Philadelphia Area AKA the ‘burbs and South Jersey. For most people, the city is limited geographically to where you live, where you work or go to school, and maybe some other landmarks around town. There are plenty of people who rarely find themselves in Center City and others who have never stepped foot in the suburbs.

As the place for Philadelphia music news, The Key strives to reach all citizens of our great city, no matter where they live. To that end, we present our newest column, The Skeleton Key. Our aim with this is not just to supply all of you with the latest news and rumors about everything going on in the city but also to better promote some of the bands that might be a bit more under the radar.

Before I move on to this month’s edition, a quick bit of housekeeping: I want to make sure that it’s quite clear that the idea for this is very much in homage to – that’s the nice way of saying ripping off, right? – the great work my fellow Key contributor A.D. Amorosi did for more than two decades at The City Paper, specifically the regular column he wrote called The Icepack. Also, a quick bit about me! I am a music journalist and photographer, a college radio DJ at WKDU 91.7FM, and someone who has been going to shows for way too long. I’ve also started booking bands over the past few years, which is both wonderfully rewarding and the biggest pain in the ass known to man.

Here are some of the topics this column will cover: upcoming shows, news about bands going into the studio or putting out albums, promotion of other bits of music journalism you might have missed, talk about old bands, rumors about new ones, and everything in between. If you want to send in some HOT TIPS or COOL RUMORS – I know you do! – you can reach me via e-mail or find me on Twitter at @talkofthetizzy. Continue reading →