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Lily Allen brings charm and giant baby bottles to the E-Factory

Lily Allen | Photo by Kate Bracaglia | underwaterexplosions.blogspot.com
Lily Allen | Photo by Kate Bracaglia | underwaterexplosions.blogspot.com

In some ways, British singer Lily Allen is your typical pop star: she’s sold millions of records worldwide and attracted tons of media attention thanks to her wild partying and antics; if you didn’t know any better you might compare her to Miley Cyrus (in fact, she opened for Cyrus on her 2014 Bangerz tour).

But look at it another way and she’s totally different: where much of pop music is based on artifice and least-common-denominator lyrics, Allen is real and quirky; where most pop stage shows are carefully choreographed extravaganzas, Allen is spontaneous and down-to-earth, her strong personality a large part of what makes her so magnetic. Friday night, Allen brought her unique view and vision to life at the Electric Factory, dazzling fans with witty lyrics and candid commentary. Continue reading →

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Gogol Bordello will headline The Electric Factory on New Years Eve

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Things we know about Gogol Bordello: over the past 15 years, the New York-based troupe has blended Eastern European folk with punk rock energy kind of the same way The Pogues (to whom they’re oft compared) did with traditional Irish music. They know how to bring the party: their live shows are high-energy and sweaty, as we saw at the sold-out XPoNential Music Festival afterparty in 2013 that they headlined. And now we know what they’re doing on New Years’ Eve: headlining the Electric Factory in Philly. Continue reading →

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Julian Casablancas + the Voidz playing Electric Factory October 16th

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz | photo via spin.com
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz | photo via spin.com

Last year The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas introduced his new project with The Voidz backing him up. The Voidz are made up of Jeff Kite on keys (previously part of Casablancas’ Sick Six live band), Alex Carapetis on drums and percussion (also a former Sick Six member), Jeramy “Beardo” Gritter on guitar, Jake Bercovici on bass and synthesizers, Amir Yahgmai on guitar, and Shawn Everett handling production. After announcing that their debut album Tyranny will drop September 23rd, the act has released a slew of new tour dates, one of which is a show at the Electric Factory on October 16th. Information about the show is available on our concert calendar here; below, check out a video of the band previewing material from the upcoming album.

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Disco Biscuits announce an expanded three day City Bisco: A weekend filled with music and dance parties in September

City-Bisco
Philly’s favorite jam band, The Disco Biscuits, recently announced their 3-day City Bisco from September 25-27. Their first stop will be the Trocadero on the 25th, the Electric Factory on the 26th, and the Mann on the 27th. A limited amount 3-day passes will go on sale today at NOON. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, get into the groove with the Biscuits.

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WXPN Welcomes London Grammar back to Philly, playing the Electric Factory on November 8

London Grammar | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
London Grammar | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

British trip-hop London Grammar is making a stop in Philly at the Electric Factory on Saturday, November 8th. The trio released its debut album, If You Wait, in September 2013, and played a sold-out show at Underground Arts. Tickets go on sale July 11 at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the XPN Concert Calendar.

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A pop-punk night to remember with Say Anything, The Front Bottoms and more

Say Anything | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Say Anything | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Thursday night the Electric Factory brought out pop punk fans of a new and old generation – “old” meaning the early aughts.

Supporting acts included You Blew It!The So So Glos and indie punk faves The Front Bottoms. You Blew It! and The So So Glos played uplifting sets, gearing up for the madness that was going to ensue for The Front Bottoms.

The Jersey four-piece rocked out singing numbers off their brand new EP, Rose. Lead singer Brian Sella told the teeming and enthusiastic audience “I can already tell this is going to be one of those shows that I’m going to remember the rest of my life.” He does a great job making a personal connection with the audience, taking selfies with them and making sure to look and smile at every person in his field of view. The band fired off its custom-made wacky waving inflatable flailing-arm man for the last couple of songs, and members of You Blew It! joined them onstage too, thrashing around and jumping on top of one another, picking up cymbal stands and banging them on the floor. And the crowd relished in all of it.

Following the craziness of TFB, headliners Say Anything took the stage. The band is touring is support of their new album Hebrews, out this month on Equal Vision Records. As a big Say Anything fan spiraling back to their album Is a Real Boy, I was hoping to hear all the hits from that record, and was only somewhat satisfied with a few majors fell short. Stand outs from the set included “Spider”, “Wow I can Get Sexual Too” as well as “Do Better” from their self-titled album. During the song “Cemetery”, lead singer Max Bemis’s wife, Sherri Dupree of the pop band Eisley came out to contribute guest vocals along with their adorable daughter, a rock star in the making for sure. Say Anything continued to rock out, led by Bemis’s powerful frontman vibrato. During the encore, he even pulled out an acoustic solo cover of ‘Ol Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money”. The evening ended on a high note with every band from the night joining Say Anything on stage to belt out the song, “Belt”. With a lot of friendship, a lot of sweat, and a whole lot of screaming, all of the performing bands put on a rad show that gave everyone in attendance – in the crowd and onstage – an evening to remember.

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James Mercer and Danger Mouse bring Broken Bells to The Electric Factory in September

Broken Bells | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Broken Bells | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

After a set at this weekend’s Firefly Music Festival, Broken Bells – the collaboration of The Shins’ James Mercer and DJ / producer Danger Mouse – announced they are returning to Philadelphia this fall, headlining the Electric Factory on September 27th. Tickets for the all ages show go on sale this Friday, June 27th, at 10 a.m. Watch their Live on Letterman performance below.

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Atmosphere brings its storytelling hip-hop to the Electric Factory

Atmosphere | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Atmosphere | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

On the heels of their seventh album, Southsiders, Atmosphere made a stop at the Electric Factory, warming up the show for Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. While the duo of rapper  Sean Daley, AKA Slug, and producer / DJ Anthony Davis, AKA Ant, might not be household names in the same way Kanye is, if you have heard of them you will know how long they have been around. Since 1989, to be exact, and these Minneapolis heroes make hip hop sound like telling a bedtime story.

Slug comanded the fairly small audience, interacting with crowd members and turning regular stories into songs. His rhymes have always had well-defined lyrics; he focuses on real life situations like love and death and loneliness and last night he told the audience to “raise your hands if you’re happy to be alive.” I was definitely a happy camper when one of the final songs he performed was “Yesterday” from the 2008 record When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold. He ended by thanking the audience for “puttin’ up with our shit.”

Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.

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Ingrid Michaelson shatters expectations at the Electric Factory

Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Still hot off the release of her newest album Lights OutIngrid Michaelson stunned a sold-out Electric Factory crowd on Friday night. I had just gone to Ingrid’s Free @ Noon concert at World Café Live that afternoon, and upon entering the Electric Factory, I expected more of the same: great songwriting and vocal talent, impassioned lyrics from her entire songwriting career, and one of the tightest backing bands in the business. Within the first hour of the show, before Ingrid herself had even taken the stage, my expectations were shattered, and by the end, I was cheering as loud as the people in the very front.

Opening up the night was self-proclaimed vintage duo Sugar & The Hi-Lows, comprised of songwriters Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup. In an effort to bring back the feel-good sounds of the early 20th century, Dabbs and Stroup serenaded the audience with bluesy, stomp box driven harmonies, and relied on audience participation throughout the entire set. Every song echoed the sounds of the 50’s and 60’s, from the overdriven guitar to Dabbs’ own hair and outfit.

Coming up to the stage second was powerhouse Irish duo Storyman, made up of Kevin May and Mick Lynch. Echoing the songwriting style of Kodaline, Passenger and bands of the same vein, the duo transfixed the audience with vast guitar, synth and stomp box instrumentations, even calling upon the crowd to turn their cell phones and iPod’s into “digital fireflies” during a song, in an effort to recreate Kevin May’s first experience of seeing fireflies upon coming to America. By the end of the set, the audience was begging for more, but the quality of the music that night would only improve from there.

Just before 10 o’clock Ingrid finally took the stage, but it was by no means the same Ingrid that played the Free @ Noon earlier that day; this Ingrid was revitalized, charismatic, and energetic through the final chorus. This Ingrid had undeniable electricity that carried her through belters like “Time Machine” and “You Got Me” (written by and featuring Storyman), and crooners like smash-hit “The Way I Am,” “Breakable,” and “Ready To Lose” (with Trent Dabbs).

Michaelson built her relationship with the crowd from the ground up, relying on them consistently for clapping and (startlingly) excellent backing harmonies. She showcased her relationship with every member of her ever-impressive band, introducing them by making them do character walks as they were introduced, with characters including Ellen Degeneres, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Monroe, The Incredible Hulk, and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker battling to the death (done by one person!). Other highlights from Ingrid’s set included hit single “Girls Chase Boys,” “Chain” (featuring Amy Stroup), and “You And I” (redone as a polka, complete with accordion!).

By the encore, the crowd grew to absurd volumes, and Ingrid and her band astounded the audience with anthemic renditions of “Maybe/Everybody,” and “Afterlife,” a feel-good song for the ages focused on finally becoming involved in the present moment, and every member of the crowd, myself included, was fully immersed and singing along. Post-show, Ingrid tweeted “Philly let’s get married.” to 184,000 followers. If the ever increasing volume of the crowd was any indication, the response is a resounding “Yes.”

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Mastodon rages on for a capacity crowd at The Electric Factory

Mastodon | photo by Pete Troshak | flickr.com/photos/petryfrompa
Mastodon | photo by Pete Troshak | flickr.com/photos/petryfrompa
The best metal band of their generation blasted a capacity crowd at The Electric Factory with an impressive seventeen song career-spanning set on Saturday night. Over the course of fourteen years and five albums Mastodon has unleashed their musical ragings against the dying light and the general frustration of everyday human existence to an ever-increasing audience. Don’t let the “metal” classification scare you off though, theirs is thinking person’s music with complex, constantly shifting song structures and probing, literary lyrics usually provided by drummer Brann Dailor. Mastodon’s albums have frequently been thematic, with subjects like wormholes and being a soul inhabiting the body of the “mad monk” Grigori Rasputin (2009’s Crack The Skye) and Moby Dick (2004’s Leviathan.) Mastodon is on tour leading up to their much anticipated next album Once More Around The Sun that is due out June 24th.

The group took the stage with no fanfare and immediately launched into “Hearts Alive,” a thirteen minute-plus snake-like guitar opus from their breakthrough, Leviathan. Clouds of smoke billowed out from behind the stage, the band was bathed in an eerie grey/green light and the packed floor of the Electric Factory was immediately turned into a bobbing, horn-gesture-throwing, sweaty sea of bodies. At the back of the stage under a huge psychedelic painted backdrop and sandwiched between two huge stacks of amps, Dailor thunderously pounded his drums. Singer/Bassist Troy Saunders bounded around pumping out thudding bass notes and wailing into a mic at center stage. (By the way – Saunders has a Rasputin-like beard, which has it’s own Facebook page.) Guitarist Bill Kelliher and guitarist/singer Brent Hinds anchored the right and left sides of the stage respectively. Kelliher sports an impressive handlebar mustache and an even more impressive array of riffs that he spent ninety minutes dropping on the audience. Hinds is a bearded, burly menacing figure who facially resembles an angry Zeus on stage. He hurled forth lightning bolts from a battered Gibson SG all night long, unleashing blistering volleys of notes and hammering riffs to the crowd’s delight.

As the band played they were constantly bathed in aquatic green and blue lights or sinister red lights. Behind them, three light cannons alternated between blasting out grids of laser lights that segmented the air above the crowd and spewing forth shimmering holographic, 3-D, upside down pyramids of green light. One early musical highlight was “Capillarian Crest” with Dailor constantly leading the shifting gears of the song with his drumming and tight, spiralling interlocked guitar parts from Hinds and Kelliher. Mid-set came two highlights in the form of thrashing speed metal riffs of “Megalodon” and some amazing dark harmonies from Hinds, Saunders and Dailor on the cosmic stoner rock of “Oblivion.” Soon after the fans received a preview of their new album and maybe one of Mastodon’s best songs ever in “High Road,” a chugging rocker with a soaring chorus that manages to sound like something that might be blasting out of radios all this summer while simultaneously still sounding distinctly like Mastodon. They closed with a loud/soft combo of songs. First up was a thrashing rendition of “Aqua Dementia” that whipped the crowd into a moshing frenzy one last time. Mastodon followed it up with the almost prayerful dark beauty of “The Sparrow” which they dedicated to a lost friend before leaving the stage for the night, hopefully to return soon.

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