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Love of My Life: The 8th Annual Roots Picnic celebrates a generation of innovative music

The Roots | Photo by John Vettese
The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

Every year, the Roots Picnic inches closer to Philly musical utopia. The pre-summer day fest is curated by local hip-hop heroes The Roots, the self-proclaimed hardest working band in America. True to their own innovative and barrier-breaking approach, the lineup is always a unique, eclectic and interesting trip. The setting and its vibe has historically been a bit rockier, beset by exponentially swelling crowds and typically sweltering heat beating down on the minimally shaded asphalt of Festival Pier.

But the eighth annual installment of the Picnic yesterday, while not perfect, was a tremendously positive event, with major improvements in the layout and organization of the festival and a trimming of the musical fat (for the most part). Continue reading →

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DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist celebrate Afrika Bambaata and the art of turntablism at The TLA

DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

In the most basic description of the term ‘DJ’ it is possible to narrow down the term to 3 categories. There is the DJ that just plays music, only presses play or plugs in the iPod or hits shuffle on the laptop. This, unfortunately, is by and large the view of the DJ in far too many circles. Second is the DJ that works the crowd, they have an understanding of music that runs deep and knows how to play to their target audience, and in turn deepen that appreciation, and build relationships. Thirdly, there is the DJ that can play an audience not the music they came to hear, but the music the DJ wants to play, and present it in such a way as to give said audience an appreciation of something that might otherwise be outside of their comfort zone. Continue reading →