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The Week Ahead: Erykah Badu, Rico Nasty, Restorations, Anthony Green and more

Rico Nasty | via facebook.com/officialriconasty

Can it be? A week with fewer than ten concert options? Are we slowing down as the summer wears on? Nah — it’s just a breather, and you should enjoy it, Philly. Here are eight concerts you can see in the next seven days, beginning Thursday with a queen of neo-soul at the Dell and going though Saturday and an acoustic modern rock bill at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club. Continue reading →

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Summer at The Dell brings Erykah Badu, Patti LaBelle, Keith Sweat, Ne-Yo and more to Fairmount Park

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Erykah Badu | Photo by John Vettese

The Dell Music Center was made for summer concerts, and this year the open-air venue in Fairmount Park East will host a star-studded lineup of musicians almost every week throughout July and August. Many artists scheduled to perform are Dell veterans, like hometown soul/gospel icon Patti LaBelle and neo-soul queen Erykah Badu. Other familiar acts are also lined up, like 80’s R&B star Keith Sweat, gospel singer Tamela Mann and long-running R&B group Kool & the Gang. Continue reading →

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Watch The Roots back Erykah Badu as she mashes “On and On” with Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood”

Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu | photo by Andrew Lipovsky for NBC | courtesy of the artist

For the past six years, the recordings of Nigerian multi-instrumentalist Fela Kuti have been reissued in a series of limited-edition vinyl box sets, curated by peers and fans including Questlove (2011’s volume 1), Ginger Baker (2012’s volume 2), and Brian Eno (2014’s volume 3).

The latest installment, Fela Kuti Vinyl Box Set 4, was just released this past Friday, and curator Erykah Badu took to the stage of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night with her old buds, The Legendary Roots Crew, to perform a medley of Fela’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” — from the 1977 album of the same name, recorded with Afrika 70 — alongside her own “On and On” from 1997’s Baduizm. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Palm at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Erykah Badu at Dell Music Center

Palm | Photo courtesy of the artist

Spruce Street Harbor Park’s weekly Waterfront Sessions continue tonight with Philly experimental indie rockers Palm. Their latest is the Shadow Experts EP, a six-song effort that abides by no certain genre’s boundaries. Part of that comes from the fact that none of the members have no formal musical training, part of it comes from their desire to reverse what popularity demands. At times it sounds a bit mathy, at other moments more noisey. Most of the time, though, it is very much original. The Guests, also a Philly band with more of a grim pop sound, will also perform. The show is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. More info can be found here. Continue reading →

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Erykah Badu, Sheila E., Maze ft. Frankie Beverly and more fill the Dell’s summer lineup

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Erykah Badu | Photo by John Vettese

A true gem of Fairmount Park East, the Dell Music Center just announced its summer lineup, which stages live music weekly in July and August. Standouts on the bill include songwriting visionary Erykah Badu on August 10th, making up for a Dell Date a couple years back that fell through, along with a headlining gig from versatile percussionist and singer-songwriter Sheila E. on August 17th (she slayed opening for War and Morris Day last summer) and soul icons Maze featuring Frankie Beverly on August 24th. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rick Astley at Electric Factory, Soraia at Milkboy, Erykah Badu at Boardwalk Hall and more…

rick astley
Rick Astley, circa 1987

Rick Astley rolls into town tonight for a show at the Electric Factory. The 80s popstar is touring in support of 50, his 2016 return to recording and first number-one album since the release of his 1987 debut. The Key’s Maureen Walsh previewed Astley’s visit earlier this week, highlighting a few songs she hope’s the “Never Gonna Give You Up” singer will play. Check that out here, pick up tickets here, and watch “Angels On My Side” from 50 below.

Continue reading →

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Twenty Years of Baduizm: A reflection on Erykah Badu’s landmark debut

Erykah Badu, flanked by Common, RZA and Method Man, during the mixing sessions for Baduizm in Battery Studio NY | via facebook.com/erykahbadu

Twenty years ago, iconic soul singer Erykah Badu released her critically acclaimed debut Baduizm. With the album, the soulful B-girl from Dallas, Texas created a jazzy type of high that manifested truth in light that is still able to grab the attention of her listeners — and will do so again this Saturday, February 11th, at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, twenty years to the day from the album’s original release date.

But besides gaining a worldwide audience for Ms. Badu, the production, lyricism, and creativity of Baduizm influenced not only hip-hop, but music at large, giving artists the ok to step outside of the box. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Field Mouse at Boot and Saddle, Erykah Badu at The Tower Theatre, Julia Hudak at Kung Fu Necktie, and more

field mouse
Field Mouse | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

We’ve been loving the new Field Mouse LP Episodic since its full stream became available before its official release this Friday. Hearing the bands rockin’ new material makes tonight’s show at Boot & Saddle an absolute must-see of the week. The band has come a long way since its debut and we’re excited to see how that evolution translates on stage. Check out songs off the new album below, and find tickets and more information about the show over on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, Erykah Badu and more will play The Dell this summer

Patti LaBelle | Photo via facebook.com/PattiLaBelle
Patti LaBelle | Photo via facebook.com/PattiLaBelle

One of the great secrets of Philly live music, The Dell kicks off its summer season this week with a headlining performance by Philadelphia R&B / soul / gospel icon Patti LaBelle. The summer continues with a performance by renowned local dance troupe PhilaDanco on July 17th, a July 23rd show starring R&B / pop star Toni Braxton and 90s hitmaking machine Babyface (who played a tremendous set at The Dell last summer), the return of neo-soul innovator Erykah Badu on August 13th, and much more.

An open-air amphitheater nestled in the Strawberry Mansion hills, the city-run Dell has been around since 1935, but in recent years has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance in programming and prominence, with a focus on R&B, soul, funk and jazz. It’s something of a cousin to West Philly’s Mann Center – the venues were both, at one point in the 70s, both named Robin Hood Dell, and both hold over 5,000 seats in their shed – but where the Mann feels secluded in the serene forests of Fairmount Park, The Dell and its adjacent neighborhood are interconnected.

When I caught Babyface and Robert Glasper in a sold-out show at the venue last summer, you could spot members of the local community who couldn’t snag tickets setting up lawn chairs along Ridge Avenue, or bringing a cooler of dogs and burgers over to the park to grill while listening to the show waft up from down the way. Whether by design or by circumstance, concerts at The Dell aren’t just for ticketholders, they’re for everybody, and that’s a wonderful thing. Check out the summer schedule below. Continue reading →

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Watch The Roots and Erykah Badu’s 20-minute hip-hop history lesson from the Roots Picnic

Erykah Badu performing at Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese
Erykah Badu performing at Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese

There were lots of standout performances at this year’s Roots Picnic, which took place at Festival Pier on May 30th. One in particular that is gaining buzz in various corners of the web is Erykah Badu and The Roots‘ 20-minute hip-hop medley. The two music powerhouses teamed up to create a tribute to Grandmaster Flash, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and more, and included their individual songs in the mix as well. Watch the performance below, and read our recap of the Picnic here. Continue reading →