Tonight’s Concert Picks: Toy Soldiers at Johnny Brenda’s, Marco Benevento at Blockley, Suicidal Tendencies at Electric Factory, Andrew Gray at Kennett Flash

toysoldiers.croppedPhiladelphia’s Toy Soldiers will be bringing their roots rock-inspired music to Johnny Brenda’s tonight as a debut for the band’s documentary The Maybe Trails. The documentary, shot by Seth Klinger, follows the band as they travel across the U.S.  The film’s soundtrack was done entirely by Toy Soldiers, and as the event page on Johnny Brenda’s says, will have glimpses of songs that will be on their upcoming album.  Beginning their band as a two-piece, since then, Toy Soldiers has expanded and reduced in size to its current status as a five-piece, while at its most having ten members. They have six releases on their bandcamp as of now, more than enough to have a great time listening to their medley of blaring, heartfelt, and upbeat tunes. Tickets and information for the show with Holy Ghost Tent Revival and the showing of the documentary The Maybe Trails can be found here. Below, watch the trailer for Toy Soldiers’ documentary, as well as a HotBox Session for their song “Throw Me Down”.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Andrew Gray, The Bad Doctors, World Cafe Live Jazz Jam

When Andrew Gray played with West Philly bootstomp folk revivalists Hoots and Hellmouth, he was known for his wild, unhinged stage presence and distinctive howl. But he also provided the band with its initial sensitive side, singing sentimental songs in warm tones with fingerpicked acoustic guitar patterns. He exited the band in 2010 to focus on his teaching career, but couldn’t stay away from music for too long – last summer he put out an EP of meditative, introspective songwriting in the vein of Tim Hardin, Jackson Browne and Red House Painters. And earlier this year, he began performing shows in support of it, quietly opening for Baltimore trio We’re About Nine at the Lansdowne Folk Club, appearing at the Kennett Flash in Kennett Square and playing at World Cafe Live at the Queen. Tonight is – we believe – his first appearance in Philadelphia proper as a solo artist; Gray will be performing the North Star Bar’s Victorian Dining Room concert series, a recurring free show in the Fairmount venue’s rarely-seen upstairs eating and drinking (and singing) space. Joining him will be Vice Royal; the 21+ show starts at 8 p.m. Listen to Gray’s Three Songs EP below.

Another free show is happening across town at Kung Fu Necktie of the more angular, voluminous, post-punk variety. Philly noisemakers The Bad Doctors are opening up for scuzzy San Francisco disco-beat distortion pedal dudes Rank / Xerox and Rat Columns; the 21+ show starts at 8, and get there early, since the Docs go on first. Download “Sisyphus and the Gate” from their Key Studio Session below.

Looking for something else entirely? World Cafe Live’s weekly Jazz Jam, hosted by Jeff Torchon (of Conjunto Philly), is always a place to catch emerging talent and unexpected collaborations – especially the weeks when Tom Moon and his saxophone turn up. The jam is free and begins at 5:30 p.m.


Listen to three new songs by Andrew Gray (ex-Hoots And Hellmouth)

Andrew Gray (ex-Hellmouth of Hoots And Hellmouth) has a new name-your-price, three-song EP which you can download here. Just about a year ago Andrew made this announcement that he was leaving Hoots And Hellmouth to pursue his work as a teacher. Don’t expect any hootin’ or hollering on these new songs from Gray. The songs have a stripped-down, pensive and hymnal quality to them that brings to mind the work of Tim Hardin and Red House Painters.