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Grouplove announces new album and will bring its Big Mess to The Fillmore in November

Grouplove | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Grouplove | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Grouplove‘s festival appearances this summer mark a long-awaited return from time off as Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi welcomed a newborn baby. They took to the main stage at Firefly over the weekend, playing classics like “Tongue Tied” and “Ways To Go,” while also debuting a new song called “Welcome To Your Life.” It was a stellar and very interactive set, and on Monday, the band revealed a trailer video detailing their next LP Big Mess, a follow up to their 2013 sophomore album Spreading Rumours. Continue reading →

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Firefly Sunday recap: Mumford and Sons, Earth Wind and Fire, Ludacris, Grouplove + more

Mumford and Sons | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Mumford and Sons | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The fifth annual Firefly Music Festival came to a close yesterday with a day of beautiful weather and stellar performances, from a high-energy set from Ludacris at half past noon to the astonishing headlining performance from Mumford and Sons. In between were knockout sets from Earth Wind and Fire, Grouplove, The 1975, Elle King and more. The Key’s editor John Vettese was there all weekend. Check out some of his photos from Sunday below, and see a Saturday recap here and a Friday recap here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Grouplove at Electric Factory, Philly Jazz Project “Who’s Got The Jazz” at World Cafe Live, and Goldfrapp Tales of Us at the Trocadero

Photo via facebook.com/grouplove
Photo via facebook.com/grouplove

Since their official debut in 2011, Grouplove have made themselves pretty hard to resist with upbeat poppy anthems that they’ll recreate live tonight at the Electric Factory. Their new album Spreading Rumours arrived late last year led by hit single “Ways to Go”. Watch them play “I’m With You” below and get tickets here.

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Sofar Sounds, Amnesty International teaming up for global concert series

sofar philly
Maitland performing at Sofar Philly, March 2014 | photo by Lindsey Borgman

Sofar Sounds has built up a reputation as an organization that puts together intimate house shows with some insane lineups. Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization and a leader in combatting the refugee crisis. Add the two together and you get one massive concert series, bringing 1,000 musicians to 200 cities around the world — Philadelphia being one of them — to raise money for and gather in solidarity with refugees. It’s called “Give a Home” and it’s happening Sept. 20. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Flock of Dimes at Johnny Brenda’s, Lera Lynn at World Cafe Live, Frankie Cosmos at the First Unitarian Church and more

Flock of Dimes | Photo by Paley Fairman, courtesy of the artist
Flock of Dimes | Photo by Paley Fairman, courtesy of the artist

Baltimore’s Jenn Wasner is best known as one half of experimental indie pop duo Wye Oak, but this year she branched out on her own with the new solo project Flock of Dimes. Imbued with gauzey synthesizer tones and glorious vocal melodies, the project is not terribly far off from where she left things on Wye Oak’s most recent output — it just maximizes the pop leanings to their full potential. Watch the video for “Semaphore” below and get tickets and more information on Flock Of Dime’s show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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35mm of Firefly: Revisiting the Woodlands on film

Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Firefly 2016 | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Dover’s annual Firefly Music Festival is just about the friendliest mega-festival you’ll ever go to.

I say this, worth noting, not having been to Bonnaroo, or Coachella. Nor am I old enough to have experienced the grandaddy of all festivals, Woodstock — though I’m sure there’s a lot fiction and myth and revisionist history surrounding that concert’s supposed transcendence.

Compared to the current circuit of gigs in brutal-summer-sun-on-asphalt settings, however, the ones taking the let’s-cram-everybody-in-a-municipal-park approach, the ones making even the strongest lineup more daunting than it needs to be — Firefly is clearly a festival designed with the fans in mind. This is my third year covering it, and each year, incremental improvements are made, reacting to the previous year’s challenges while keeping an eye towards growth. In 2016, spending a long weekend in the Woodlands amidst a throng of 100,000 fans felt remarkably…comfortable. Water stations were plentiful, opportunities for cooler air and shade were at (most) every turn, music was never far – nor was it in your face either. Getting from the Lawn Stage at the festival’s south gate to the main Firefly Stage on the north side took maybe 20 minutes in the rockiest of conditions; in the past, it required over a half hour  to traverse the festival grounds.

In any number of ways — the forest setting and ubiquity of nature surrounding the show, the super upbeat signage, the way corporate branding was (for the most part) downplayed — Firefly shared experiential commonalities with homespun, hyper-local hippie-oriented musical gatherings dotting the map. The differences being, of course, the colossal pop stars (The 1975, Mumford and Sons, Ludacris, CHVRCHES) and soon-to-be pop stars (Pell, Kaneholler, Quilt, Son Little, Civil Twilight) filling out the lineup. This is, after all, an event where music industry mechanizations move the gears. It’s just refreshing to see that this can be done while still providing a positive experience for the fans.

For this year’s Firefly, I documented it with a mix of digital photography and a roll of 35 mm film on a Canon AE-1. The film is back just recently from the lab, and today I present its highlights to you, with some running commentary. See my digital pictures from Friday here, from Saturday here and Sunday over here. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 – Part One

firefly
Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Over the past few years, the United States and Canada have finally made their mark in a tradition that’s been a longstanding one in Europe: Music festivals. This is happened to such a degree that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Wouldn’t it be great if someone singled out all your favorite XPN artists and which festivals they’re playing in one spot on the internet?!?!?!

Guess what! That’s exactly what we did here. But there’s a catch: There’s a lot of festivals that haven’t revealed lineups yet, so were only going to give you festivals for the first half of summer for now. A little later on we’ll give you the second half. (Okay, I guess that means the list is in two spots on the internet, but still. You get the point.) Without further adieu, here’s the first part of The Key’s 2016 Guide to Summer Music Festivals. Continue reading →

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OutKast, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Arctic Monkeys top Firefly 2014 lineup

OutKast
OutKast | Photo courtesy of the artist via outkast.com

The third edition of Dover, Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival announced its initial lineup today with reunited Southern rap groundbreakers OutKast leading the weekend’s headliners along with alt-rock heroes Foo Fighters and mellow singer-songwriter-surfer Jack Johnson.

Also on tap are veteran brit-rockers Arctic Monkeys, Newark-based electro-pop duo Mean Lady and Wilmington folkies New Sweden, soulful Philly singer-songwriter Amos Lee, folkies The Lumineers – making up for their cancelled appearance on 2013’s Firefly lineup – orchestral Americana Iron and Wine, as well as Band of Horses, Jake Bugg, Tegan and Sara, Chance the Rapper, Sleigh Bells and more.

The festival takes place from June 19th to June 22nd at The Woodlands, an expanse of field and forest alongside the Dover International Speedway. The grounds have been expanded this year to accommodate an anticipated 80,000 attendees, and the addition of a larger stage called The Forest Stage, and a smaller one The Big Break stage, a showcase for unsigned musicians (read more). Check out the full lineup of 100+ bands after the jump. Continue reading →