Time is running out for local musicians to enter PHL Live, the city’s inaugural music competition in a wide array of genres from classical to rock to hiphop, gospel and more. Today, Philly rapper Chill Moody – PHL Live’s ambassador to the music community – joined Bob Bumbera on the XPN morning show to talk about the competition and why it is important for musicians to get their names in the running for the “battle of the bands meets Coachella” competition that happens this fall. Listen to the interview, and if you’re a musician interested in entering the competition, you can do that at the PHL Live website until Tuesday, September 30th. Continue reading →
There’s something about old-school hip-hop that just oozes summer in the city—whether it’s DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince celebrating chicks at Fairmount Park or Snoop paying tribute to his favorite bev—and the videos, with their beach chairs, bbqs, and wild block parties—only drive this home. Summer in the city is not like the other seasons: people go wild and indulge, as if their inhibitions melt under the summer sun.
Every year to celebrate summer, Chill hosts a #nicethings Weekend (#nicethings is his catch-all catchphrase), complete with bbq, bowling, and a pool party at a mystery location. This year’s #nicethings event runs August 22 through 24. Curious about the event—and his summer go-tos in general—I met up with Chill at one of his fave Center City bars, Time, to talk Will Smith, cocktails, and how he’d spend his ultimate summer in Philly. Continue reading →
Kurt Vile returns to his hometown tonight to play a benefit show for Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better foundation, with the proceeds going to revitalize the Ralph Brooks Parks in South Philly. Kurt & The Violators will be at Union Transfer along with The Districts and The Tontons. All proceeds from the concert will be matched by the Make the World Better foundation and all will be donated to the cause. For more information and tickets, visit the XPN Concert Calendar.
Blending together Brazilian and American roots, Minas cover a wide range of genres that are defined by the countries’ cultures. Formed by Orlando Haddad and Patricia King, Minas has been playing its Brazilian jazz-style for over two decades for audiences around the world. Minas will be playing tonight at World Cafe Live. Tickets and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.
XPN welcomes Australian roots and jam band John Butler Trio tonight with Allen Stone at River Stage at Great Plaza. The band is currently on tour to promote its latest album, Flesh and Blood. Check out the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information.
Hip-hop artist Chill Moody will perform tonight at Hard Rock Cafe with fellow artist Aaron Camper. Philly is the first stop on the pair’s “Camp Moody” Summer Tour, which includes three other stops along the East Coast. Go to the XPN Concert Calendar for tickets and more information about the show.
The anticipation behind this year’s Roots Picnic could have easily evolved into a self-fulfilling letdown of high expectations gone unfulfilled. Fortunately for the sold-out crowd of over 6,000, the day met every benchmark for a phenomenal musical experience.
With the newly-renovated and sand-strewn Festival Pier as its home base, the all-day festival boasted an eclectic line-up of both upstart and established acts of various genres. All acts shared the Questlove seal of approval, bearing a heavy emphasis on rhythm and sunny-day vibes.
Although every act of the day put on a frenzy-whipping set (the strongest of them being, arguably, a sunset-backed and pitch-perfect Janelle Monáe), there were a few noteworthy highlights:
- An inspiring group of sets in the first half of the festival (prior to most attendees’ arrival) with particularly strong ones from New Zealand RnB group Electric Wire Hustle, hip-hop/classical sequence-loops master Emily Wells, blues-rock guitarist and singer Roman Gianarthur (including soulful covers of Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” and Radiohead’s “High and Dry”), West Philly’s own Chill Moody, and British drum-and-bass act Rudimental (during which this reporter felt bass shocks that almost stopped his heartbeat)
- Guest appearances from Philly’s own Freeway and Harlem’s Jim Jones during a DJ set from legendary producer Just Blaze, with Freeway performing State Property hits like “Roc da Mic”
- A searing performance from WXPN favorites The War on Drugs, during which frontman Adam Granduciel gave Program Director Bruce Warren a heartwarming shoutout (referring to him as “The Other Boss”)
- The aforementioned strongest set of the day, starting with The Electric Lady herself being wheeled out on a stretcher in a straitjacket before tearing through most of her hits with uncompromising intensity
- The Roots (post-Snoop Dogg) bringing out Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, and former member Rahzel for an epic rendition of several popular songs showcasing all three of their legendary beatboxing.
Check out photos from the day’s festivities, taken by local musician and photographer Mark Schaffer, in the gallery below.
Stories of old gigs from The Roots are the stuff of legend around Philadelphia. Throw a stone and you’re bound to hit a Gen-X music lover with memories (perhaps false ones) of surprise shows at now-defunct Old City venues and happenstance Questlove sightings at Northern Liberties brunch spots. These stories might be all that is left of a bygone era in which The Roots helped shape the sonic and ideological imprint of left-of-center hip-hop culture, all the while centering it in a series of extinct local hot spots.
Well, not all that’s left. They may have abandoned a rigorous touring regimen for late night glory, but Quest and co. remain committed to creating awesome moments of cross-genre delight and enlightenment for Philadelphians of all stripes. The clearest definition of this mission statement – one which has followed them into numerous genre-bending albums and collaborations – is the annual Roots Picnic, the 7th installment of which goes down at Festival Pier this Saturday. Few festivals pack such an eclectic and kinetic punch in a small, relatively inexpensive experience. While this year’s lineup is one of its strongest yet, we here at The Key have our eye on a few artists (including some lesser-known ones) who have had especially fascinating years and promise tremendous sets on Saturday.
At the risk of sounding obvious, we’ll say that any set from The Roots is bound to set the mood for a day of gleeful head-nodding. Their reputation as a live act, honed through nearly two decades of constant touring and five years of sequence-scoring for Jimmy Fallon, is well-established. With the recent release of the excellent …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, the band also promises to deliver some searing live renditions of their epic new material.
The first Made in America festival got a lot of mixed reviews from local concertgoers who were mired in large-scale and largely acceptable skepticism about how a festival of that scale would play out on the Parkway. Unanimous praise was saved, however, for Janelle Monáe’s classic soul-rooted, futuristically-oriented brand of music. After near-unanimous praise for her latest album, 2013’s The Electric Lady, the aptly named Electric Lady promises a solid set of fanciful festivity.
The War on Drugs
At least one prominent Roots Picnic slot is reserved for a buzzworthy indie act who, like The Roots, looks to bridge aesthetic boundaries instead of reinforcing them. Philly’s own The War on Drugs, riding on the success of this year’s acclaimed and dreamscape-y Lost in the Dream, fill big shoes left by genre benders like Vampire Weekend and TV on the Radio. But if their unique take on shoegaze-meets-Americana has a perfect home anywhere, it’s at an open air concert along their hometown’s emblematic waterfront.
With his appearance at this year’s Roots Picnic just a few weeks away, it’s only right for Chill Moody to drop some fresh new fire. His new single “Concrete Jungle” features R&B singer/actor Mack Wilds on the chorus and it’s the perfect centerpiece that compliments Chill’s hard-hitting rhymes over the pulsating beat. You have to believe him when he raps: “I’m from the concrete you’ll find me right where talent and grind meet, ahead of the class with no assigned seats.” His work ethic, flow, and lyrical dexterity set him apart from the crowd on one of his best showings to date. Check it out below (see if you can catch the Freeway reference) and get tickets to Roots Picnic here.
The rickety van piloted by Philly psych-thrash outfit Ruby the Hatchet rolled into Austin just a few hours before its first South By Southwest gig last week. Cutting it close, for sure, but the band was just happy to arrive.
“We broke down,” guitarist John Scarperia explained as he set up for the End Records showcase at LIT Lounge. “We were stuck in Tennessee for two days.”
Talk about a setback. I ask if they missed any tour shows on the trip down. Scarperia laughs, then says “We didn’t play any. But it was fun, all part of the adventure, right?
The band dished a raucous set of its heady, heavy rock to a modest but appreciative crowd – which included singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins, a longtime friend of Hatchet frontwoman Jillian Taylor. The next day, it rocked Thrasher Mag’s unofficial Deathmatch showcase, and spent the rest of the weekend mingling with the music-devouring masses. Overall, it was a positive experience, and even culminated in Taylor getting a new tattoo (a hatchet, of course).
Ruby the Hatchet was one of dozens of locals that made the trek to Austin this year. Musicians of all styles and degrees of renown represented Philly at SXSW. There were known names like rapper Spank Rock, who played an energized set to a buck wild crowd at the Boyz Noize showcase at The Majestic on Thursday, and alt-bluesman G. Love who played the 18th Floor of the Hilton Garden Inn the same night. There were emerging artists, like folk singer Vikesh Kapoor and punk power trio Amanda X, or SXSW vets like rapper Lushlife, heavy psych heads Creepoid, and dream punks Nothing, who played a 2 a.m. set on a pedestrian footbridge.
“I feel like SXSW serves as a hub for discovery,” says Philly rapper Chill Moody, who I caught during his showcase at the Amped Austin lounge on Saturday afternoon. “I met a bunch of musicians and professionals in the music industry in just one week. Built some strong connections that will hopefully help me with the next steps in my career.”
For Moody, who is used to feeding off the love of the hometown fan base he’s cultivated over the past few years – he headlines venues like The TLA and Union Transfer locally – it was an opportunity to perform to complete strangers in smaller rooms, and win them over. The Amped show featured his right hand man Beano, a charismatic and occasionally comedic R&B singer, hopping offstage and dancing in the midst of the crowd, to the delight of many Instagram-snappers.
“It was a good chance to show a different audience exactly what you can do,” said Moody.
Downstairs at the same venue, electronic rock duo City Rain debuted songs from their new Songs From a High School Dance LP, due out in late April. Again, the crowd was (with the exception of myself) strangers, but people fed off singer / songwriter Ben Runyuan’s relentless energy, particularly on the driving anthem “Waiting on a Dream.”
“This is our last showcase,” Runyan said. “So I’m just throwing everything I got into this.” Continue reading →
Following Wednesday night’s car accident at the South By Southwest music festival that killed two people in a crowd and injured 23, many events are being moved and cancelled – including Visit Philly’s scheduled Homesick Philly event this afternoon.
The showcase, featuring Chill Moody, Bleeding Rainbow and Pattern Is Movement, was intended to be a central gathering place for Philly locals attending the festival as well as a spotlight on the city’s music scene; while there have been Philly-centric showcases on the past several SXSW’s, they have been in far-flung ares that most festival goers don’t typically venture. Homesick Philly was to be the first in the thick of the festival, but was located at Cheer Up Charlie’s, the venue next door to The Mowhawk, where the crash occurred.
According to news reports, the accident occurred after Austin police attempted to engage a drunk driver in his vehicle who sped down 9th Street in downtown Austin, then proceeded to drive through SXSW street barricades and into a crowd. The person was apprehended by the police. At the time, Philly’s Kurt Vile was playing a set from the outdoor stage at Cheer Up Charlie’s. All the shows at the two venues were immediately cancelled, including a later performance by Tyler The Creator.
This afternoon Visit Philly tweeted:
The #HomesickPhilly event at Cheer Up Charlie’s today is cancelled out of respect to the victims of last night’s accident in the area.
My prayers go out to everyone affected by that terrible car accident last night. The entire block where my 1pm #HomesickPhilly event has been canceled. We are looking into other activation possibilities and I will keep you all posted. My next show today is at 2:30pm at the nicekicks store rooftop. Hope to see you there. #SXSW #ChillXSW
While you may not be heading to Austin, Texas next week for the SXSW Music Conference, Visit Philly is, and offering some musical refuge to Philadelphians who will be down there.
The Homesick Philly party will happen on Thursday, March 13 at Cheer Up Charlie’s, and it’s a terrific lineup of some of our Philly musical favorites: Chill Moody, Beano, DJ Ricochet, and Bleeding Rainbow, and Pattern Is Movement. There will be a beer garden serving Victory Brewing Company beer and a chance for festival-goers to win a trip to The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia.
Homesick Philly is a concept created by Chill Moody to help spread the love for Philadelphians for when they’re away from the City of Brotherly Love, including local foods, beer and music. Moody plans to take this experience, the first of which is sponsored by Visit Philadelphia, on the road to other concerts and festivals throughout the year. Below, listen to Chill’s take on a classic from The Roots.
Now in its 7th year, The Roots Picinic will bring an eclectic array of music to Festival Pier on May 31, and the band today revealed everything you need to know about this year’s installment.
The year the legendary hip-hop crew will share the stage with Snoop Dogg (backed by The Roots), as well as Janelle Monáe, Action Bronson, A$AP Ferg, araabMUZIK, The War On Drugs, Rudimental, Jhené Aiko, Biz Markie (DJ Set), Bad Rabbits, Electric Wire Hustle, Chill Moody, Emily Wells, Roman GianArthur & more.
Get tickets when they go onsale this Friday at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster and watch a few of the latest clips from acts on this year’s incredible lineup below.