Tonight’s Concert Picks: Noah and the Whale at the TLA, Birdie Busch at Ortlieb’s, Islands at Johnny Brenda’s and more

English rockers Noah and the Whale will rock the TLA stage tonight. The band released its fourth album, Heart of Nowhere, last month via Caroline Records (it came out in the UK back in May). Their melodic alt-rock anthems are memorable and easy to enjoy. Get a taste of what to expect at tonight’s show below and get tickets here.

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Watch Birdie Busch perform “Honey Jar Junkies” on an open top bus care of ubiquitous Philly videographer Bob Sweeney

Photo by Scott Troyan |

Philly singer-songwriter Birdie Busch has always been one to gravitate towards unique venues and settings for performing, but her show last week arguably raised the bar. On October 1st, she played the inaugural Double Decker Music Series show, put on by Philly tour guide Sebastian Petsu, a long time fixture on the local music scene. Along with experimental jazz / electronic virtuoso Charles Cohen, Busch played a short set in the open top roof of the bus – which due to transmission problems (or some sort of mechanical issue), had to be vacated and re-boarded. But we did get a sweet video of “Honey Jar Junkies” out of it, shot by ubiquitous local videographer Bob Sweeney. Check out the video below, and see a fuller documentary-style video of the tour on Sweeney’s tumblr.


Charlie Hall and Patrick Berkery of The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society pick their favorite Fleetwood Mac songs (TLBAS playing Saturday 9/21 at Johnny Brenda’s)

tusk_photoshop This Saturday night, September 21st, The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society – crew of musicians and Fleetwood Mac’s enthusiasts from Philly and New York – will will reunite to perform the classic Tusk in its entirety at Johnny Brenda’s. They’ll also play some other Mac classics. The current TLBS lineup includes co-founders of the band Charlie Hall (vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with Jens Lekman and The War on Drugs, and leader of the Philadelphia-based male choral ensemble The Silver Ages) and Patrick Berkery (who has played drums with The War on Drugs, Pernice Brothers and more) along with Tony Goddess, Birdie Busch, Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs, Nightlands, and writer of The Key’s Top of The Key basketball column), and Eliza Hardy Jones of Buried Beds. We asked Charlie Hall (CB) and Patrick Berkery (PB) to put a handful of their favorite Fleetwood Mac songs and to reflect on their greatness. Here’s five of their favorites.

“Sentimental Lady” from Bare Trees (1972)

PB: From the Bob Welch-era. Quite possibly ground zero for “yacht rock.” (Can I just tell you how much I despise that term?) It’s surprising they didn’t have a major hit with this – such a beautiful song. Bob DID have a hit with it on his 1977 solo album “French Kiss,” an album the uninitiated are strongly urged to check out. It also has “Ebony Eyes,” an EPIC moment in soft rock history.

CH: An absolutely gorgeous lyric. I love Mick’s drumming on this one, and how the pre-chorus really starts to chug-a-lug into that exquisite chorus. I do think Bob improved upon it on the ‘French Kiss’ version five years later, featuring not only Mick and Christine again but also Lindsey helping shape it with guitars and production. There’s complete sweetness wrapped up with a tinge of sadness, which pretty much encapsulate Bob Welch. I, too, cannot stand the term “yacht rock” and I wish it would go away, along with those stupid videos.

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See Birdie Busch and Charles Cohen perform on top of a double-decker bus on 9/12

Birdie Busch

Folksy singer-songwriter Birdie Busch is teaming up with jazz/electronic virtuoso Charles Cohen to perform a show across Philly on an open-top double decker bus on September 12th. In January, Busch released her last record, Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, and it was XPN’s February CD of the Month. Charles Cohen, another long-time local musician, has been making jazz and experimental electronic music on his famous vintage Buchla Music Easel for decades. The two will play sets on the bus from 8 to 10 p.m. Boarding begins at 7:45 p.m. on the corner of 5th and Market Streets. Go here for more information on the event. Meanwhile, check out the stellar track “supermoon” from Birdie Busch’s new album and watch Charles Cohen mastering the music easel below.



Liberty Bell Sessions takes Philly artists outside of city limits (kicking off at Studio 34 tonight)

So many times, great song writers get stuck in their hometown or the city where they started performing. Many times, it’s because they don’t have the funds or support needed to showcase anywhere else. Some have day jobs. Others have families to support. But you always notice them when they open for a band you like, or catch them at your favorite venue. These artists always have dedication, animation, and passion to pull off a great performance with carefully crafted talents.

Liberty Bell Sessions is a project created to get Philadelphia artists out of their locality and in front of a wider audience. “I am constantly amazed by the quality and power of songs that come out of Philadelphia. I think it’s something in the water,” says creator of the project, Ross Bellenoit. “Even when I moved to Philadelphia back in 2003, I was in awe of how many great songwriters there were in this fair city of ours.”

The idea came naturally through a conversation with Club Passim’s (in Cambridge, MA) owner, Matt Smith. Originally Bellenoit was being asked to come back and play a set after being featured on one of Peter Mulvey’s Lamplighter Sessions last November. It was his suggestion to get other Philadelphia artists on the bill with him that got the wheels turning. “After being on the road for several years, I was always pining to bring these great contemporary songs out to the rest of the world.” Bellenoit ran with the idea after Smith coined the term “Liberty Bell Sessions”.

“We want to present each other’s songs in ways that are new to each of us. Since we all have our own projects and people that we play with, this new environment lends to more spontaneous and fresh collaborative ideas for each other’s songs.” Continue reading →


Photos: Junip and Birdie Busch played Union Transfer

Junip | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Junip | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

All photos by Rachel Barrish |

Last night at Union Transfer, the Jose Gonzalez-fronted Junip brought its folk-infused, majestically arranged indie rock to Philly, on tour in support of its self-titled latest LP. Opening the show was Philadelphia songwriter and singer Birdie Busch and her band, who released the equally folky / vibey Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night earlier this year. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Junip with Birdie Busch at Union Transfer, Alessi’s Ark at Johnny Brenda’s, Jackie Paper at Ortlieb’s Lounge

Led by Swedish songwriter Jose Gonzales, the band Junip, is sharing the stage with Philadelphia singer Birdie Busch tonight at Union Transfer. Known for their soft, but invigorating sound, both musicians take their own spin on folk by mixing blues progressions with atmospheric, psychedelic breaths, soft rock riffs, and delicate lyrics. Find more information and tickets for tonight’s show here. Watch Birdie Busch’s “These Banks” from her PledgeMusic-funded album, The Greatest Night, below.

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The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. The Districts, Mavis Staples, Birdie Busch and more)


Miles Davis would have celebrated his 87th birthday on Sunday.  Check out some live footage of the legendary trumpet player’s 1970 show at the old Electric Factory [link]

Diplo curated a summer playlist featuring James Blake, Daft Punk, Laura Mvula and more for Vulture [link]

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week is Mavis Staples‘ cover of the Funkadelic track “Can You Get to That” [link]

Singer-songwriter / fiddler Sara Watkins recorded a session for Folkadelphia [link]

Birdie Busch will be releasing her recent PledgeMusic-funded album on vinyl and donating proceeds to the IHM Literacy Center in West Philadelphia [link]

Dock Street Beer Run announces the line-up for their June 9th 5k / music festival event, including On the Water, Norwegian Arms and Post Sun Times [link]

Sonja Sofia is profiled in the latest installment of Kettle Pot Tracks’ On the Hill series [link]

Local power rockers Lantern unveiled a new song called “Evil Eye” and the cover art for their upcoming LP Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach [link]

Watch a video of The Districts performing at The Porch at 30th Street Station yesterday for XPN’s Philly Local Busker series [link]

Folk duo Arborea shared a new video for their song “Pale Horse Phantasm”; they’ll be at the Highwire Gallery on June 9th for a Folkadelphia Presents show [link]

The Photon Band is back with a new album and a show at Johnny Brenda’s on July 6th [link]

Newish Philly outfit Divers were the subject of this week’s Key Studio Session [link]


Tickets to The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society’s performance of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk at Johnny Brenda’s on 9/21 now on sale

Several weeks ago we announced the next series of shows from The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciate Society, performing the Mac’s Tusk in its entirety at Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, September 21st. We just found out that tickets to the show are on sale now. The current TLBAS members features founding members Charlie Hall (vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with Jens Lekman, The War on Drugs, Windsor for the Derby, Tommy Guerrero and leader of the Philadelphia-based male choral ensemble The Silver Ages) and Patrick Berkery (who has played drums with The War on Drugs, Pernice Brothers, Danielson, John Wesley Harding, Mazarin and others) joined by past TLBAS co-conspirators Tony Goddess (Papas Fritas, Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents), Birdie Busch (a Philadelphia-based singer and songwriter), Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs, Nightlands), and Eliza Hardy Jones (Buried Beds). Go here for more information and tickets.