Nile Rodgers hinted at a rebirth of Chic with talks of their first new record in 25 years coming out in 2017, but now we’ve got something else to look forward to. Rogers and crew will be heading out on a summer tour (dubbed “2054: The Tour”) with the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire, landing at Wells Fargo Center on August 1st.
While the night one headliners at #XPNFest were cerebral, experimental and beat-oriented, night two shifted the focus to a rock festival classic: the guitar.
Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs is a master of instrumental tone and texture, of soundscaping — as well as atmospheric lead licks that transport the band and the crowd to the stratosphere. Sturgill Simpson is more down and dirty, an adherent of country / blues riff rock tradition, but played louder and faster than most of his peers (and heroes). Together, they treated the BB&T Pavilion crowd to expansive jams, but of two very different sorts.
Tomorrow brings the annual Wawa Welcome America Celebration for the Fourth of July, featuring Philly’s own The Roots and other popular national acts like Ed Sheeran and Nicki Minaj – along with some up-and-coming acts on the side stages earlier in the day (check for Samantha Cressman’s spotlight on them this afternoon). As you gear up for this year’s don’t forget about how awesome the Welcome America festivities have been in years past. Below, check out a round of of videos to jog your memory.
Here’s The Roots in 2012 jamming with a whole slew of people from Joe Jonas, Queen Latifah, and Common to Daryl Hall, and even Lauryn Hill who randomly showed up as a special guest.
Here’s John Mayer performing “Waiting on the World to Change” also with The Roots last year
The Roots threw a big party this weekend, curating shows and headlining an all-star July 4th jam on the Parkway featuring Michael McDonald, Earth, Wind & Fire, Eddie Levert from The O’Jays, Boyz II Men and others. Below, check out some videos of the former Doobie Brother with The Roots, Earth, Wind & Fire and a jam from Schoolly D. Work Drugs played Sunday night at Johnny Brenda’s and you can check out John Vettese’s photo recap here.
FRIDAY, JULY 1 See-I + RK$TDY, DJ Ruder1 at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $12); Goodnight Lights + In Grenada, Levee Drivers at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Mr. Lif + Swift Technique, Citizen Xavier at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $18)
SATURDAY, JULY 2 El Fuego + Bonethrower, The Warhawks at Danger Danger Gallery (all ages, $5-$10); Breakwater at World Cafe Live (7:30 p.m., $30-$40)
SUNDAY, JULY 3 The dog days of summer typically begin right around the Fourth of July, so it’s appreciated in more ways than one that lo-fi chillers Work Drugs have been dropping plenty of new material to cool audiences off. The duo’s feel-good tunes are ideal for the season; evocative of sundresses, biking in the city, and water ice on stoops with good friends. This show will share a similar feel, as it’s a part of The Roots’ multi-show Fourth Of July Jam. Much of tonight’s material may come from Work Drugs’ new dreamy summer indie-rock release, the five-track Ice Wharf (Smooth P), which includes the new song “Ice Wharf,” three live tracks, and a great Summer Heart remix of “Rad Racer.” “Ice Wharf” is available for free download from SoundCloud, and the album is available for $2 from BandCamp. Work Drugs perform with CSLSX, Wrestling, and Smooth Sailing DJs: Red White & Smooth at Johnny Brenda’s at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.); tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Claire Fishkow
Also playing: Diplo + DJ Jazzy Jaff & Dj Questlove, DJ Spinna, J Rocc at Club Voyeur (10 p.m., 21+, $29.50); Making Time with T3ETH + Puro Instinct, John Maus (6 p.m., 21+, $10-$12); Mercer Street Block Party featuring Cheers Elephant + Bandname, Tin Horses, Conversations With Enemies, Crills Wilson, Eric N Eric, Early Apes (free, 2 p.m.)
MONDAY, JULY 4 Philly 4th Of July Jam, ft: The Roots, Earth Wind And Fire, Michael McDonald, Estelle, Sara Bareilles, DJ Jazzy Jeff at Ben Franklin Parkway (free); Nobunny + TV Ghost, Joe Jack Talcum, The Pussy Dogs at Kung Fu Necktie (5 p.m., 21+, $10)
This morning Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced the lineup for this year’s 4th of July free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. We can now forgive the City for the past musical 4th of July sins of having to sit through performances by The Goo Goo Dolls, Sheryl Crow, and The Beach Boys. This year The Roots are headlining the concert with performances from Earth Wind & Fire, Michael McDonald, Sara Barielles, Estelle, and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
In her review of Lucy Dacus’ Historian, Key writer Sarah Hojsak uses a vivid phrase that sums up both the record, as well as the emotional landscape of 2018: “desperately sad but never hopeless.”
Oh, wait, I’m sorry…would you describe your year as happy? That must be nice, good on you. For many of us, it’s not as straightforward: the toxicity of the country at this moment in history, and the various players that fuel that toxicity, has a draining effect, whether you’re a marginalized person who is in the line of fire or an empathetic soul who is distressed from afar. There’s also the let-down: the pouring of our energies into something to watch it fail, whether personal or public.
And yet we experience moments of joy throughout it all: weddings are had, families are started, a breathtaking sunset is observed from the westbound platform of the Berks Avenue el stop. And there’s music, a constant source of joy and comfort that centers our lives. Continue reading →
Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.
Aw yeah, summer. The entropy, the lethargy, the visceral extremes. Now, summer makes all sorts of things weird anyway, but I feel like summertime in music-land has gotten especially wonky in recent years. Basically, my take is that the focus on large-scale music festivals which has ballooned over the past decade or so has taken a palpable bite out of non-festival-centric touring itineraries, and thus summer concert calendars, and even, indirectly, album release schedules. (Aside from the overwhelming hype cavalcade of Drake, Jay-Zeyonce and Kanye and Co. all dropping within a matter of weeks, the last few weeks have felt a bit thin for noteworthy new releases, and the rest of July and August, peering ahead, are looking even sparser.) Maybe I’d be less sore about all this if I felt closer to the target audience for either Firefly or Made in America, but as it stands those festivals’ biggest impact on me, personally, has been (presumably) shutting Philly out of proper local headline dates for the makers of some of my favorite music of the year: Janelle Monáe, for instance, and Amen Dunes.
Still, there’s plenty that’s worth seeing, concert-wise, in the coming weeks – it just feels like (even) more of an unpredictable hodge-podge than usual. Some of it is coming in the form of smaller, locally-targeted festivals: there’s XPN’s own XPoNential Festival, of course, and the decidedly weirder and more DIY All Mutable Summer Jam which is running the same weekend (July 27th-28th); I’m also pretty hyped about the free, Latin Roots-affiliated Nuevofest which is coming up this Sunday (read on for more about that.)
Anyhow, this being summertime, what do you say we all take a trip? Just a little musical vacation around the globe and beyond, to points both familiar and strange; real, imaginary and somewhere in between. I can’t say that it will all be straightforward or entirely uncomplicated – what is nowadays, after all – but I do promise we’ll have some fun along the way. And it’ll feel oh so nice to arrive back home at the end.