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Roots Picnic was bigger and better than ever at Festival Pier

roots picnic
Ibeyi @ The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle

It’s hard to believe another Roots Picnic has come and gone. The feeling is particularly bittersweet this year, in post-Nutter Philadelphia, knowing that The Roots won’t be back next month, as they have for the past eight years, to headline the Welcome America Festival. But the Philly crew-turned-America’s house band certainly made the most of their annual homecoming. Here are some highlights of the day.

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Five artists playing the Roots Picnic you shouldn’t miss

roots picnic
Ibeyi | photo courtesy of the artist

The annual Roots Picnic is the unofficial start of summer here in Philadelphia, a Saturday spent along the Delaware River listening to a line-up of eclectic music handpicked by the legendary crew. This year’s picnic, next Saturday, June 4th, boasts a seriously great bill of acts, including Future, Usher, Leon Bridges, Blood Orange, Willow Smith, and Gogo Morrow. But we want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, so check out five other artists you definitely do not want to miss.

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The 7 best things I saw at SXSW

Jack Garratt | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
Jack Garratt | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

As with the past twenty plus SXSW music festivals I’ve attended, coordinating seeing all the bands I’ve want to see each year I go is a function of timing and serendipity. And it’s nearly impossible to see everything I have on my wish list. At any time, there are both official and unofficial showcases all around the city, and there are literally hundreds of them. SXSW is a sprawling, crowded event where you can see a random band rocking out in a vacant parking lot, or see an emerging buzz band, or if you’re willing to wait in a long line to get into the Spotify house, or the Pandora stage or the Hype Hotel, you might be able to see some big name rock bands or rappers along with bands your industry friends have declared the next big thing. It can get very complex very quickly.

Going into SXSW this year I had a list of 23 artists I wanted to see, and given I was at the festival for less time than usual, I knew a list of that size was over reaching. I managed to see about a dozen shows over the three days I was in Austin. Here’s some of the best things I saw. Continue reading →

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Watch Roots Picnic artist Anderson .Paak’s TV debut on Colbert

Artwork and Design for @anderson._paak – Malibu LP | Creative Direction by @cory_gomberg

A photo posted by Dewey Bryan Saunders (@deweysaunders) on

Every once in a while you accidentally stumble on late night television performance that blows you away. This was my case last night watching Stephen Colbert’s Late Show last night when Anderson .Paak showed up on the screen.

The California-based R&B singer began with “Silicon Valley”: a jazzy “To Pimp A Butterfly”-influenced track adorned with electric guitars and smooth synths. After transitioning to the funky “The Season/Carry Me”, the performance really exploded once Paak got behind the drum kit to spit some bars and bust out a solo showing how multi-talented he really is. Continue reading →