Just Announced: Earth, Wind & Fire and Chic to bring “2054: The Tour” to Wells Fargo Center in August


Earth Wind and Fire | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Earth Wind and Fire | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

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.

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XPN Fest Recap: The War on Drugs and Sturgill Simpson deliver guitar jams of different sorts at BB&T

The War on Drugs | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

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.

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Lauryn Hill, Sheryl Crow, Earth Wind and Fire and More: Take a peek at Philadelphia’s Musical Fourth of July past

Jill Scott  | Photo by Noah Silvestry |
Jill Scott | Photo by Noah Silvestry |

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

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Watch Michael McDonald, Schoolly D and Earth Wind and Fire performances from The Roots’ July 4th weekend jam

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.


Weekend Picks: Work Drugs, Diplo + DJ Jazzy Jaff, Mercer Street Block Party, Philly 4th Of July Jam, ft: The Roots + Earth Wind And Fire and Michael McDonald

Work Drugs

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)


The best 4th of July Welcome America lineup ever? We think so.

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.


Free At Noon Flashback: Matt Cappy brings Instrument of Hope and Philly bounce to World Cafe Live

Matt Cappy | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN |

Kicking off Friday’s Free at Noon double-header, Matt Cappy took the stage with no fewer than three trumpets. The Camden, New Jersey — or as he says, “East Philly” — native has built a impressive career as an trumpeter in the neo-soul / R&B / hip-hop scene, performing with Jill Scott, Michael Jackson, The Roots, Earth Wind and Fire, and Patti LaBelle. On Friday, he shared songs from his 2017 solo album, Church and State. Continue reading →


The Key’s Top 15 Albums of 2018

This is the music that moved us in 2018

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 →