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The Key Studio Sessions: Ode To Omni

“The only thing that helped me was Jesus,” says drummer Marcus Meyers as he introduces the song “Anchors.” “And I know when you bring that name up, it can kind of get weird today. Maybe it’s the perception or the lens that we’re looking at him with.”

While spirituality is an undeniable undercurrent of his genre-spanning ensemble Ode to Omni, which returns to the stage at World Cafe Live tonight, Meyers is admittedly not self-righteous about his faith — acknowledging through that description that, perhaps, the idea of confrontational Christianity (which is a thing that definitely exists in the world of 2018) is part of that aforementioned lens.

But that’s not what he is all about; Meyers is more apt to use his songs meditate on mental health and self-care, acknowledging our weaknesses and finding sources of strength where we are able. His beliefs inform his life, his life informs his music, and as they perform pieces about self-improvement and empowerment for The Key Studio Sessions, he and his collaborators proved to be anything but one-dimensional. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ode to Omni Roots Tribute at World Cafe Live, Quilt at The Foundry, Digable Planets at Ardmore Music Hall and more…

Ode to Omni
Ode to Omni | photo courtesy of the artist

Local ensemble Ode to Omni is putting on a Roots tribute show at World Cafe Live tonight. The show is kicking off the group’s new Homegrown Series, which will spotlight local artists in a live setting. Omni’s Marcus Myers exchanged emails with The Key’s John Vettese just last week to explain the genesis of the tribute show, his vision for the Homegrown Series and how the group connected with emcee Mic Stew, who will be joining the band tonight. Read that interview here and pick up tickets for the all-ages show here. Watch The Roots’ video for 1996 track “What They Do” below.

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Why are Ode to Omni and Mic Stew covering The Roots at World Cafe Live?

Ode to Omni
Ode to Omni | photo courtesy of the artist

Boundary-pushing Philly nine-piece ensemble Ode to Omni blurs the lines between rock, funk, big band brass and soul, and next week the crew pays tribute to one of its very similar-minded Philly influences: The Roots. The band sets up shop at World Cafe Live on Friday, July 29th for their new Homegrown Series paying tribute to Black Thought, Questlove and crew. They’ll be joined by locally-rooted MC Mic Stew, who’s in town from Texas for the show. I swapped emails with Ode to Omni drummer Marcus Myers to get a vibe on the show, the series and what it is that they love about The Roots. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dice Raw at Silk City, Ode to Omni’s Stevie Wonder Tribute at World Cafe Live, Seinabo Sey at Underground Arts

Dice Raw | via diceraw.net

As a sort of warm-up to this weekend’s Roots Picnic, Roots crew affiliate Dice Raw plays a set tonight at Silk City. If you’ve never seen him live, Dice cuts a charismatic figure and we can expect to hear songs from his records Jimmy’s Back and The Greatest Rapper Never, some of his Roots tracks and other collabs. Tickets and more information on the show can be found here. Continue reading →

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Download a live set from Modern Inventors via NYCTaper (playing Steel City Coffeehouse on 12/07, Johnny Brenda’s on 12/28)

Philly rock outfit Modern Inventors traveled up 95 in October to participate in Brooklyn’s Backyard Brunch Sessions.  With a format similar to Philly’s own Bands in the Backyard, BBS host Dave Chaitt invites bands into his backyard for an afternoon of music and home-cooked food (though this particular session appears to have occurred inside).  Several Philadelphia area bands have been featured in past sessions, including XVSK, Family Band and The Spinning Leaves.

Modern Inventors, preparing for the release of their debut album Trains and Aeroplanes, played a mix of old and new songs at the final BBS session of the season.  Omnipresent New York concert archivists NYCTaper were on the scene with their professional recording equipment, which means you can now download Modern Inventors’ entire session for free here.  View the setlist below and stream the live version of the rock band’s new single “Hello”; they a have a few dates coming up including a show with Suzie Brown and Scot Sax at Steel City Coffeehouse on December 7th and a headlining gig at Johnny Brenda’s on December 28th.  Tickets and information can be found here.

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Eric Bazilian’s “One Of Us” to be featured on tonight’s episode of Glee

GleeIf God were one of us, would He/She watch Glee? Probably not. But only because, as the Supreme Being—and Seer Of All Things That Have Ever Happened, Are Happening, And Will Happen—it’s not as if God has to tune in to Fox on Tuesday nights in order to find out what crisis the kids in New Directions are dealing with at William McKinley High School each week. (And—if His Holy Holiness is too busy watching mankind commit various atrocities against each other in His name to plop His Omnipresent Butt down on His couch and watch a little television—He can probably afford to get a DVR from Comcast.) Either way, we’re definitely looking forward to the cast of Glee performing Joan Osborne‘s 1995 hit single, which The Hooters founding member Eric Bazilian wrote for her album Relish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSllQ02kg_o&feature=related

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Ten things we loved at Center City Jazz Fest 2019

THREEZUS at Center City Jazz Fest | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

If you’ve missed the Center City Jazz Fest these past eight years, you’re truly missing out. The annual event packs five venues on either side of South Broad Street with full-day lineups showcasing the spectrum of jazz: seasoned vets and up-and-comers, some so new to the craft that they’re still in school; traditional-leaning swing as much as futuristic, boundary-expanding cosmic compositions. This year, we got to see ten of the 20 artists playing, and went to four of the five venues participating, and it was an incredible day all around. Here’s a rundown of highlights, beginning with the photo you see at the top of the page. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Peter Bjorn & John, Girlpool, Center City Jazz Fest, Joan Osborne, and more

Jeff Bradshaw performs at Center City Jazz Fest 2018 | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The annual Center City Jazz Fest is always one of our favorite days of the year, and if that’s all Philly had going on this week, we’d still be over the moon excited. But there are, as always, a variety of options, from heartfelt singer-songwriters to the Detroit band that arguably invented punk in the U.S. Here are 15 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia.
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19 Philly concerts we’re looking forward to in spring of 2019

Natalie Prass | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN / The National | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN / Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

Sunnier days and warmer temperatures have arrived, and we are collectively at the point of the year where Philly concertgoers have more options than we’ve seen in months. Gone are the days of getting to the gigs to keep the doldrums at bay; now we’re out and about because it’s one of the best things you can do with your time in the 215. From DIY punk gigs to jazz festivals, to some of the biggest pop stars in the world, here are 19 concerts we can’t wait to see in spring of 2019. Continue reading →