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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cruisr at Ortlieb’s, Tift Merrit at World Cafe Downstairs, and Lily Mae at World Cafe Live upstairs stage

CRUISR
CRUISR | photo by Melissa Tilley | courtesy of the artist

Local indie-pop favorites Cruisr will headline an ACLU Benefit show tonight at Ortlieb’s. Though the trio’s been taking some time away to work on their new album, their single “Take That” is playfully peppy enough to keep fans jamming until the release. Rounding out the lineup for the night will be local synth-pop extraordinaires, Suburban Living, and beachy-punk outfit, Cold Fronts. Get more info on the 21+ show here, and listen to Cruisr’s infectious track “Take That” below. Continue reading →

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Cruisr, Suburban Living, Cold Fronts team up for ACLU benefit at Ortlieb’s

CRUISR
CRUISR | photo by Melissa Tilley | courtesy of the artist

On Wednesday, March 29th, Cruisr, Suburban Living, and Cold Fronts will host a show at Ortlieb’s in Northern Liberties with proceeds supporting the American Civil Liberties Union. The trio of indie pop / rock favorites have added their names to a growing list of local bands that are organizing benefit shows and releases in the days since inauguration.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Cruisr at The Barbary

CRUISR
CRUISR | photo by Melissa Tilley | courtesy of the artist

Philly indie pop favs CRUISR come home tonight when they play The Barbary. They most recently released “Take That,” a glimmery but defiant summer tune, and rerecorded B-side “The Fritz.” Anyone who has kept tabs on the local music scene in recent years probably knows how fun these guys are — it’s what’s gotten them opening gigs with Imagine Dragons, Misterwives, and PVRIS. But tonight they’re the headliners (with support from Swimming With Bears), so grab your tickets to the show here. Continue reading →

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CRUISR share new single “Take That” along with a re-recording of “The Fritz”

CRUISR
CRUISR | photo by Melissa Tilley | courtesy of the artist

I’ve been a fan of Philly indie-pop juggernauts CRUISR since they still had the E in their name. I remember hearing their song “The Fritz” from their self-titled EP four years ago, and its been stuck in my head since. Today, they shared another catchy new single, “Take That,” along with a re-recording of “The Fritz” as a B-Side.

“Take That” continues with the band’s brand of poppy windows-down surf rock, similar to their hit “All Over,” but with more of a dance-based beat. Vocalist Andy States sings “We can make the rules, we can break them too” in a youthful voice that makes you want to throw all your cares to the wind. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia with Andrew Lipke at World Cafe Live, CRUISR at The Fillmore and Jonathan Richman at The Chameleon Club

Andrew Lipke
Andrew Lipke performs 11/2 at The Fire

South African multi-instrumentalist Andrew Lipke will be performing with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia tonight at World Café Live. This exciting collaboration is part of the Intersect event which aims to celebrate the combination of genres by bringing together the chamber orchestra with some of the most gifted musical talents in the Philadelphia area. Tonight they will be with Andrew Lipke, who has made a name for himself as a critically-acclaimed arranger, producer, composer and performer. Continue reading →

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Load-In to Load-Out: Cruisr goes hard on their home turf at the TLA

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

“Hey, you look like cool guys,” says the young lady walking past the TLA. “Know where we can get some awesome pulled pork sandwiches?”

Andy States shoots a glance over at Kyle Cook, who grins and shrugs his shoulders. Both are teetering on the verge of hysterical laughter. It’s not like the two guys play in Philly modern rock juggernaut Cruisr or anything; it’s not like they’re unpacking gear from their van to headline their biggest hometown show to date on this breezy September afternoon. Staying true to their nicest-dudes-ever rep, the guys suggest Percy Street BBQ a few blocks away; the culinary tourists are on their way, and Cruisr gets back to work.

For States and his mates, the road to this point has been both steady and sudden. Continue reading →

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Load-In to Load-Out With Cruisr: A photo essay by John Vettese | 4

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

“All Over” gets the room singing, screaming and swooning.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Another angle on ecstatic Van Dine.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

As “Kidnap Me” draws the show to a close, Catrambone does a dramatic spin on one leg. “I’ve never done that before,” he says. “I can’t believe I pulled it off.” Apt for both the spin and the gig this size.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Posing with the crowdfor a post-set photo care of CJ Harvey.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Over at the merch stand, Almquist shifts into salesman mode…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…while Catrambone signs autographs out in the crowd.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

There’s lots of gear to be loaded out…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…but one more group shot of the Philly bros was in order.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Bahner loads out Cheerleader’s drumkit…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…Cook is tasked with folding the backdrop up…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…and others chill with Narraganset pounders.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

The back wall of the TLA is decked out in an Isaiah Zagar mosaic, but unless you’re a performer or a staff member, you probably didn’t realize it. Here, the production crew grabs a smoke after the set.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

It’s 12:30, the crowd is gone, South Street is winding down. And Cruisr is back where its started, white van parallel parked in front of the TLA and gear in hand. It’s been a long day but, as we keep seeing on the band’s faces, a good one. Here’s to more like it.

Below, check out a full gallery from the Cruisr / Cheerleader / Vérité / Cold Fronts show, which took place at The TLA on September 12, 2015. A bit further down, see some videos from the set. Or click here to go back to the start.

 

 

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Load-In to Load-Out With Cruisr: A photo essay by John Vettese | 3

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

The crowd watches Cheerleader…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…and grabs photos for Instagram.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Backstage, Bunch and his Suburban Living bandmates check out the show and confer over beers.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Time for the final changeover. The drum rug is removed, Cheerleader unplugs their gear and Cruisr gets into place.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

You can really tell this is a band based around friendship – they all hug and hi-five before meeting the crowd…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…who is obviously quite pumped to see them.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

“We’re gonna play every Cruisr song ever, and this is the first Cruisr song ever,” States tells the audience. “It’s called ‘Home Turf.'”

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Philly-area singer-songwriter Caroline Reese has a great word for the musical phenomenon you see illustrated above: #purejoyface.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

A jam-packed photo pit…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…a setlist for the completists…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…and a birds’ eye view as Cruisr rocks its TLA crowd.

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Load-In to Load-Out With Cruisr: A photo essay by John Vettese | 2

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

While Cold Fronts got a super quick check, Vérité’s schedule didn’t allow them to arrive until just before doors, so the band decided to skip soundcheck and just chat with the production crew about their setup.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Once that was over, Vérité had some bonding time with Cold Fronts in the TLA wings as the South Street doors opened.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Cheerleader drummer Carl Bahner works the merch table and unpacks t-shirts for the early arrivals.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

The first batch of fans pack it in along the barrier.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Cold Fonts leader Craig Almquist tucks his setlist under his pedalboard…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…and they’re off! Alex Luquet on bass stands at stage left as the concert begins, and throughout the set he looks like he’s having the best time ever.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Over the course of Cold Fronts’ half-hour slot, the room filled out, and Almquist worked it with panache. I showed him this shot between sets and joked that he looked like he was stumping for his Senatorial run. Post-Cold Fronts career move, perhaps.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

The set finishes, and Cold Fronts drummer Joe Killian is in his “I’m pumped” stance backstage.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Downing a couple bottles of water after the set, Almquist chats up guitarist Dom Angelella, who joined Cold Fronts for its fall run of shows. That’s in addition to Lithuania (his band with Eric Slick), and DRGN King (his own project) and others. Dude is versatile.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Vérité hits the stage next…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…and the crowd vibes to its lush and danceable jams.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Meanwhile, Cheerleader cozies up in their green room to write tonight’s setlist.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Back to that impeccable lineup curation: on the turntable and mixer is Wes Bunch of Suburban Living, who’s been building a serious name for himself as a DJ mixing up a pantheon of pop jams: New Order, Janet Jackson and more.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Once Bunch is off, Cheerleader hits the stage and the show rolls on.

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Load-In to Load-Out With Cruisr: A photo essay by John Vettese | 1

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Call time is 3 p.m., and the guys are punctual like it’s their job. (Because, you know, it is.) As the van is unpacked, Cook tells me about their schedule for the rest of the weekend – the next morning, they had to be at Drexel by 10 a.m. for a students-only gig, followed by a long drive to their next tour date in the midwest.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Barstools in the empty TLA are stacked along railings, with posters for rock shows both recent and vintage in the background. On floodlights along the side wall, a Chill Moody sticker is spotted.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Gear is set up on stage…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…while the stage plot – the essential document that makes life a bazillion times easier on the touring band – sits at the sound board.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

As Catrambone polishes up his guitar for the show, States observes that he’s using Gibson polish on a Fender guitar. “If you do that enough, is it going to start disintegrating and slowly morphing into a Gibson?” he asks. Catrambone smiles, and counters “The pickups turn into humbuckers.”

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

This bill was impeccably curated; along with Cruisr at the helm, local sunshine pop boys Cheerleader are direct support. “I can’t believe it’s taken us long to play with Cheerleader,” Van Dine says as the band arrives and greets the soundchecking States.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Joshua Pannepacker, Joe Haller and Paul Impellizeri of Cheerleader have pulled into the parking spot out front of the TLA and begun their load-in.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Also on the lineup are NYC synth-pop outfit Vérité and Philly rockers Cold Fronts, who dropped their full-length Forever Whatever this month. They headline Johnny Brenda’s on November 6th.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

It’s not surprising to see Pannepacker chatting up the sound techs; he was a solo artist and producer for a half-dozen years before joining Cheerleader.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

After an impromptu cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” (seriously) Cruisr’s soundcheck winds down…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…backdrops are hung from the stage trussing…

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

…and Cheerleader begins its soundcheck.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

A charming practice I’ve noticed at Philly’s LiveNation venues over the past year; naming a drink special after one of the headlining artist’s songs. The War on Drugs’ Tower Theater gig, for instance, offered the Your Love Is Calling My Name IPA (really just a Troeg’s Perpetual IPA, but the thought was appreciated nonetheless). For Cruisr, the bar staff came up with a Wild Turkey Honey and Ginger Beer mix drink. Its name? The Throw Shade. When I told States, his eyes lit up big time.

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

A select crew of Cruisr VIP fans got access to the venue an hour before doors. After a meet-and-greet, they posed for a group shot with the band.

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