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Tash Sultana lives in the moment at The Met Philly

When Tash Sultana told The Met Philly that the world “is a pretty messed up place right now,” they didn’t specify what they felt was making it that way. Sure, we could venture a guess, but last Friday night, the Melbourne singer-guitarist could have been referring to any number of things that flashed across our news feed all week. For Sultana (who is nonbinary and uses they/their pronouns) it was more crucial to focus on uniting rather than dividing — something, they observed, their gigs tend to do.

“It is so nice when you look into a crowd of people and see every single age, every single race, every single sexuality and gender,” they said. “There’s people in the world who want to tear that simplicity apart, but not in here montherfucker! Things are changing, and it’s beautiful to be a part of.” Continue reading →

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The wave-riding GRiZ fills The Met Philly with stimulating energy

GRiZ | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN

Since breaking out all the way back in 2013, GRiZ has continued to raise the bar for combining electronic, jazz, dubstep, and funk sounds. This is surely not a combination that most take on the task of creating, but he’s made it work at festivals like Electric Forest, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo. His headlining tours are the best exemplification of his distinct talent, though, and we saw that when his Ride Waves tour came to The Met on Saturday.

Starting the show off with an dazzling set of strobing white lights, GRiZ’s silhouette appeared on stage with an intensity like no other. His presence on stage ignited the electricity in the audience, filling the room with stimulating energy. Continue reading →

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Patti Smith holds court with covers and classics at The Met Philly

Patti Smith | photo by Ben Wong for WXPN | brotherlylost.com

“It better be alright because that’s what’s happening.”

This is the response Patti Smith offered to a gracious fan after having to restart a song midway through her Monday night performance at Philly’s Metropolitan Opera House. It was delivered in good humor but also succinctly summed up Smith’s performance, and her iconoclastic role in music in general. The indomitable “punk poet laureate” has always embodied a no-frills, no-fucks spirit and sincerity that the genre represents at its best. Over a two-hour, sixteen song set that blended classics, covers, and banter, that spirit of spontaneity filled the venue to render it, and the crowd inside it, electric. Continue reading →

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Cheers for the Freakin’ Meekend: A triumphant Meek Mill headlines The Met Philly

Meek Mill | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

The King has returned, and he did so with much fanfare. March 15 was the start of the Meekend, and Philly’s favorite rapper, Meek Mill, kicked it off with his first sold-out headlining concert at The Met Philadelphia, his first hometown show since his release from prison last year.

Meek’s welcome home was a rather grandiose experience. Social media was plastered with images of Meek exiting SCI Chester, hopping on a helicopter heading to the Well Fargo Center to catch a Sixers game court-side with his son.

With the support of part-owner of the Sixers, Michael Rubin, as well as District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Jay Z, Meek has become the celebrity face of prison reform. This new role is an interesting juxtaposition for an artist who has been very vocal about his involvement in illegal street activity, though the two are not mutually exclusive. The reason for Meek’s latest incarceration stint was arguably low stakes — a probation violation that stemmed from a guns and drug case that he acquired when he was 19 years old.

For a while, Meek was going through a seemingly never-ending series of L’s, of course significantly less consequential than his incarceration. These losses included a highly publicized beef with Drake, where the Canadian rapper released to back-to-back dis songs, before our local fav could even get a word in edgewise. Meek also found himself single after he and his long-term girlfriend Nicki Minaj broke up. Funny enough, Philly folk did not hesitate to bump any of Drake’s diss tracks. Despite all this Philly still loves them some Meek and it showed during the Meekend. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Jenny Lewis will headline The Met Philly in October

Jenny Lewis | photo by Autumn DeWilde | courtesy of the artist

Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis returns this spring with On The Line, her much-anticipated first album in five years. Her first single from it, “Red Bull & Hennessy,” was revealed last month, along with an initial offering of tour dates. Today, Lewis returns with the smoking rock and roll ballad “Heads Gonna Roll,” as well as an additional run of east coast performances that finds her coming to The Met Philly on Saturday, October 26th.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Billie Eilish will play The Met Philly with Denzel Curry this June

Billie Eilish | photo by Isaiah Spicer for WXPN | iospicer.com

After a couple years of dazzling listeners, crowds, and YouTube subscribers with a gripping fusion of pop melody and macabre presentation, ominous R&B singer Billie Eilish will make her full-length debut this March with the Interscope Records release When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. With last week’s news of the album comes this week’s news of a tour, featuring acclaimed rapper Denzel Curry, whose Loma Vista LP TA1300 was one of our 20 Albums Not To Overlook in 2018; their Philadelphia date is set for June 15th at The Met Philly, more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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John Legend brings Yuletide cheer, camp, and stately soul to The Met Philly

John Legend | photo by Senia Lopez | senialopez.photography

John Legend is corrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrny. That’s a compliment when it comes to doing Christmas right. At least in the manner in which he — the one-time University of Pennsylvania student/singer — has this season: giving modern R&B heft, humor and sensuality to a Nat King Cole sense of savoir faire for everything from last week’s NBC TV special, A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy (Teigen, his model/actress/author wife), to a holiday album of newly-penned and classic carols with A Legendary Christmas, to this Christmas-themed gig at The Met Philly.

The Tuesday evening concert, in the bitter chill, no less, was part of the opening week of Live Nation and North Broad Street’s newest, most dramatic entrée into the venue scene: an old one, all 110-years and $56 million dollars’ worth of rejuvenated proscenium arches, gold leaf rosettes, mezzanines and large scale stages and sightlines. Continue reading →

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Casual Splendor: The Met Philly makes its debut with Bob Dylan in the driver’s seat

A sold-out crowd awaits Bob Dylan at opening night of The Met Philly | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A chilly breeze cut up Poplar Street yesterday morning, blowing broken caution tape and discarded Wawa bags above the heads of dignitaries gathered for the ribbon cutting of The Met Philly. Out on the building’s North Broad Street face, a team of carpenters scrambled to reinforce windows and hammer out other down-to-the-wire touch ups.

“Did you bring your checkbook?” developer Eric Blumenfeld asked his colleagues from the podium. “We still have some work to do.”

The crowd chuckled at his quip, but it seems that The Met will be well into its inaugural season before work on the building is completely finished; and not for nothing, either, since renovating a century-old music venue is a delicate task. Not that the casual concertgoer will really notice the ongoing work. The parts of the venue that matter the most — the concert hall, the bars and other hospitality centers — were mostly in full swing last night for the opening concert with Bob Dylan and his band. And from there, the calendar only gets more exciting: John Legend tonight, Lindsey Stirling in a couple weeks, Kurt Vile near year’s end. As Live Nation’s regional president Geoff Gordon said upon taking the mic, “We don’t want to be pigeonholed into one genre, whether it be Tyler Perry or Charlie Wilson, whether it be PnB Rock, Mariah Carey, or Bob Dylan. We’re going to do it all.”

Returning to the venue just ahead of showtime, the disarray of the morning — confetti strewn around the streets, construction gear lining the sidewalks — had all been swept away for the glitz and glamour of a searchlight casting a radiant golden glow on the building’s white brick facade and arched windows. Once inside, though, the mood of the night became remarkably more casual. This didn’t feel weighed down by the formality of, say, seeing a show at the Kimmel Center or Academy of Music, where you’re likely to be surrounded by concertgoers wearing button-up shirt / tie combos or and cocktail dresses, sipping wine out of plastic cups. Some of that was going on at The Met, sure, but for the most part the vibe was a rock show audience in a venue filled with grandeur.  Continue reading →