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Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile and Amos Lee are on the initial lineup for The Met Philly

Bob Dylan | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Kurt Vile | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN // Amos Lee | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Singer-songwriter icon Bob Dylan will be the first artist to take the stage at the newly renovated venue The Met Philly, which opens on December 3rd. The initial lineup was announced this afternoon in a press conference from promoters Live Nation, and it also features Philly son Kurt Vile playing his hometown album release for his new Bottle It In LP on December 29th, and fellow hometown hero Amos Lee headlining on April 6, 2019.

The initial run of shows also includes Toto tribute band Weezer headlining on December 12th, cerebral Bucks County alt-popsters Ween on December 13th, violinist Lindsey Stirling on December 18th, and Germantown rapper PnB Rock on December 28th. Continue reading →

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The Met Philadelphia reveals new interior renderings

The Met Philly, concert setup | image courtesy of LiveNation

The long-vacant Metropolitan Opera House on Broad and Poplar is inching towards reopening and rebranding as Philly’s latest and largest non-arena venue. This week, The Met Philadelphia shared new artistic renderings of the venue’s multi-use grand hall, the lobby, and bars outside the hall. Continue reading →

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The Met Philadelphia announces December opening, gets action-packed trailer of renovation footage

via twitter.com/themetphilly

There’s a new venue coming to town. Once called the Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, and now rebranded simply as The Met Philadelphia, the rebirth of a long-dormant Philly venue was announced back in November of 2016, and a is starting to generate some buzz thanks to a new teaser video released earlier this week. The minute-long video details our city’s passion for art, culture, and history, while intertwining shots of Rocky, Jason Kelce (in full Mummer regalia), and footage of the venue mid-rehab.

The Met, boasting National Register of Historic Places-status since ’72, is located at 858 N. Broad St., close to the intersection of Broad and Poplar. The massive 39,200-square-foot building was built in 1908, and now, (*cue dramatic narrator voice*) nearly 110 years later, its doors will reopen once again and fill Philadelphia with world-class live music (*end dramatic voice*). Continue reading →

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Daud El Bakara, Candice Hoyes and Ted Nash to play Jazz at the Met concert this weekend

Daud El Bakara | still from video
Daud El Bakara | still from video

Philadelphia’s historic Metropolitan Opera House is experiencing a rebirth this fall, with word that the promoters behind Union Transfer are Four Corners Management is looking to renovate it into a 3,500 cap room and a gig from Jazz Lives Philadelphia set to take place this weekend. (CORRECTION: It was previously reported that the promoters behind Union Transfer are involved at The Met. This is incorrect — Four Corners Management is no longer involved with Union Transfer, and Union Transfer is not connected to The Met. The Key regrets the error.)

Today, we have news of the artists behind that show, taking place Saturday, November 26th at 6 p.m.  Continue reading →

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Download a live concert from Arches (recorded at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore)

The members of Arches have released a live recording from a concert performance at The Metro Gallery in Baltimore in September. It is being released on cassette, which you can pre-order here. Below, stream or download the performance for free. In case you missed it, you can also listen to the session Arches recorded for Daytrotter here.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hermetically Sealed: Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Dawes at the Wells Fargo Center

Jeff Lynne’s ELO | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

In a perfect world…. well, that’s it, isn’t it? A perfect world when it comes to tightly-strung, genius Anglo pop maestro Jeff Lynne and his airless-yet-wildly accessible ELO – itself, a differentiation in name and roll call from what 70s fans knows as Electric Light Orchestra, and the intentions of co-founders Roy Wood (who left after the first album in 1972) and Bev Bevan (who left, rejoined, left, then formed Electric Light Orchestra Part II).

When you entered Wells Fargo Center on Friday for Lynne’s ELO with opening act Dawes, you stepped into a world (literally, as dark universes, epic myth, spinning planets, and spiraling-out-of-control earth drama made metaphorically intimate are crucial to their live landscape) apart from the tonic usual, especially any sound relatable to the present. For Lynne’s songs – despite their lonely boy lost sci-fi-lite touch and future-forward sleekness – is singularly, melodically, rooted in the past: Lennon and McCartney, Mercury and May, Shostakovich and Beethoven, Chuck Berry and George Harrison and Barry Gibb. ELO may have released albums such as ZOOM and Alone in the Universe in the 21st Century, but the glory and grandeur of Friday night’s long-sold-out show was a love affair with the 70s and 80s, his and his audience’s. Continue reading →

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Espers Everywhere Now: Beloved Philly psych-folks reflect on life ahead of their hometown reunion

Espers
Espers | photo by Alissa Anderson | courtesy of the artist

Family. Work. Relationships. Relocation. Life.

These are things that closed a chapter on Philadelphia’s Espers in 2010, not long after the release of its final album, III, in 2009. “It might have been 2010, maybe sooner, like toward the release of the album, I’m not certain,” said Meg Baird, the one-time singing Epser(s) of how the band dissolved.

And that is it: Espers gently faded out just as they faded in, on a billowing, beautiful, undoubtedly dark and cumulous cloud of psilocybin-laced folk touched by occasional thunderbolts of electricity. Now, with the looming possibility of reissues of its brief catalog — four woodsy, gauzy, tactile albums and EPs — co-Epsers Baird, Greg Weeks, Brooke Sietinsons, Helena Espvall and Otto Hauser return to their rural, ancient-to-the-future roots tied (and unmoored from) folk’s traditions.

Maybe it’s just for one night (August 24 at Union Transfer), but the pairing with the like-minded Andy Cabic and his band Vetiver is perfect. Cabic’s handcrafted, shapeshifting, urbane folk was introduced to the world in 2004, the same year as Espers initial album, and the two in the birth of the modern folk movement, unified by the (then) further adventures of newbies Devendra Banhart, Ólöf Arnalds, Animal Collective and Faun Fables, as well as the return of alternative folk elders such as Clive Palmer, Bert Jansch and Vashti Bunyan.

Calling from San Francisco, where she’s lived for six years, it is odd speaking with Baird about Espers presently, as we have discussed her solo work (albums such as 2011’s Seasons on Earth and 2015’s Don’t Weigh Down the Light) without ever discussing Espers’ slip into darkness.

“It’s strange talking about Espers now, but not in a negative way,” said Baird, days before leaving for Philadelphia and rehearsals with her old band. “More of it is surprising that we’re here. It has been good, nice, that we’re revisiting the old material, and I’m glad we are able to play music together again.” Continue reading →

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The Skeleton Key: Multitudes of new music for July, a First Time’s The Charm recap, and gigs from black metal to beatmakers to punk wrestlers

First Time’s The Charm | photo by Yoni Kroll for WXPN

This is a special Skeleton Key and not just because I’m checking in with you a bit later than usual. Don’t worry, my neighbors are still shooting off fireworks all day every day so it’s basically still the 4th and will probably stay that way at least until August. For this column I want to talk about all the new music coming out this month because there’s seriously just so much of it. And check this out: last weekend was First Time’s the Charm which was the debut of eight bands playing their very first sets ever. So much new music! Let’s start with a list because you should always start with a list: Dark Thoughts, Smarthearts, Rosali, Lester, Dark Web, Rabbits to Riches, Empath, and Fleabite. Oh, and a just-announced split between Jenna & The Pups – the solo pop punk band from HIRS frontwoman Jenna Pup – and, well, herself. The PUP/HIRS album will be out in August. Continue reading →

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Local metal band Parius announces third release, The Eldritch Realm, with teaser video

Parius | via parius.bandcamp.com

Local metal band Parius will return with its latest project The Eldritch Realm, on July 20th. Falling somewhere between EP and LP, it is their first recorded work since January 2017’s Let There Be Light. Something cool: Metal Injection named LTBL one of 2017’s best metal releases of the year. Though always secretive about their process, the Bucks County natives have shared that they worked at CKP Studio in Northampton, PA with Chris Kelly, a producer who is just as elusive as the band themselves, and that they have a release show booked for July 19th at Century in South Philly. Continue reading →