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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Rick Astley at Electric Factory, Soraia at Milkboy, Erykah Badu at Boardwalk Hall and more…

rick astley
Rick Astley, circa 1987

Rick Astley rolls into town tonight for a show at the Electric Factory. The 80s popstar is touring in support of 50, his 2016 return to recording and first number-one album since the release of his 1987 debut. The Key’s Maureen Walsh previewed Astley’s visit earlier this week, highlighting a few songs she hope’s the “Never Gonna Give You Up” singer will play. Check that out here, pick up tickets here, and watch “Angels On My Side” from 50 below.

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This Is Not a Rickroll: Five songs to get you excited for Rick Astley’s Electric Factory gig

Rick Astley, circa 1987

This Saturday, UK crooner Rick Astley will bring his classic 80’s pop stylings to the Electric Factory. At the time of his rise, many saw his songs as bubblegum fluff, another product of the Stock / Aitken / Waterman production team that also worked with Bananarama and Kylie Minogue. And true, all three acts suffered from stylistic similarities of some form or another during their time with SAW. However, like Kylie, Mr. Astley has got the goods and is the real deal.

Many of the kids out there reading this might know him best as the reason “Rickrolling” is a thing. “Never Gonna Give You Up,” and its resurgence in popularity has been very very good to Rick. He has a sense of humor about it and even personally Rickrolled a Macy’s Day Parade performance in 2008. But there’s more to this artist than a meme.

His voice sounds better than ever and his new album, 50, is a collection of gospel pop tunes that should bring comfort and positivity in these troubling times. Don’t think though that Rick Astley has gotten self-righteous and ultra serious, though. He also plays in a cover band with his mates and the catalogue includes The Sex Pistols and The Smiths. Recent YouTube tour clips show that this Saturday’s show is going to be a lot of fun.

Here is a list of five songs I’m really hoping he sings on Saturday. The Rickrolling is cute and all, but let’s get down to business. Continue reading →

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Wednesdays in the Danger Room: Run The Jewels at the Electric Factory

Run The Jewels | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | <a href=http://cameronpollack.com/ target="_blank">cameronpollack.com</a>
Run The Jewels | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollack.com

Run The Jewels inspires confidence. They exude it in their records, flaunt it in their interviews, and as they proved last night, on the first night of this tour, they embody it in their live shows too. Killer Mike and El-P, two middle aged rappers at the top of their game, walked out to thunderous applause from a crowd that sold the room out in five minutes, singing along to the chorus of “We Are The Champions.” Their smiles could trick you into thinking, just for a while, that the world isnʼt all that bad. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Run the Jewels at the Electric Factory, Cabbage at Kung Fu Necktie

Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2014 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com
Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2013 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Run the Jewels kick off two months of touring tonight at the Electric Factory, a show that comes just couple days before the highly anticipated release of RTJ3. Leading up to this week rappers / producers Killer Mike and El P shared album single “Talk To Me” as well as a comedic trailer clip that sees the duo visiting Portlandia for some promotional strategy brainstorming. Check out that video here and pick up tickets for the all-ages show here.

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Just Announced: Get ready to rage with Mastodon at the Electric Factory

Mastodon | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Mastodon | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

On May 6th a slew of metal / rock bands will descend on the outdoor stage of the Electric Factory for a day-long, international mini-fest. Originally a co-headlining gig for Sweden’s Opeth and France’s Gojira, the one-off event line-up now also features Atlanta heavyweights Mastodon, California’s Eagles of Death Metal, Canada’s Devin Townsend Project, and Chicago’s post-rock/metal duo Russian Circles.

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Remember that time My Morning Jacket played the Electric Factory and it was broadcast on XPN?

My Morning Jacket at the Electric Factory | photo via Sweet Oblivion | meanether.blogspot.com

I remember the night vividly. It was a chilly Philadelphia night in December of 2006, back when December nights used to be chilly. It was my first My Morning Jacket show. It was one of my first shows as a volunteer for WXPN, and the entire gig was broadcast live on the air. It went crazy late, and none of us minded. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hardwork Movement at Johnny Brenda’s, Sorority Noise at First Unitarian Church, Daughter at The Electric Factory and more

Hardwork Movement
Hardwork Movement | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philadelphia hip-hop collective Hardwork Movement is playing a record release show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The group’s music boasts intricate jazz-tinged instrumental arrangements and a fierce pride of their deep roots in The City of Brotherly Love. 2016 was a fantastic year for the nine-member group: earlier this year they released their debut LP Good Problems, and a few months later they signed to Chill Moody’s #nicethingsMUSIC imprint. Come help Hardwork Movement celebrate and get a taste of their mixtape Draft Night at their last show of 2016 in Fishtown. Brooklyn-bred Tacuma Bradley’s Unity Band and Philadelphia singer-songwriter Julia Rainer are also on tonight’s bill. Check out the WXPN Concert Calendar for more information on this 21+ show, and check out Hardwork Movement’s performance of “City Bars” during a session with Philadelphia-collective Out of Town Films. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Run The Jewels will kick off its U.S. tour at the Electric Factory

Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2014 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | <a href="http://www.brightloud.com/" target="_blank">brightloud.com</a>
Run The Jewels perform at Union Transfer in 2014 | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

With their hotly anticipated RTJ3 on the horizon for a 2017 (?) release, hip-hop dynamic duo Run The Jewels — aka veteran wordsmiths Killer Mike and El P — just announced a North American tour that kicks off here in Philadelphia at the Electric Factory on Wednesday, January 11th. The two-month run also features The Gaslamp Killa, Spark Master Tape and Cuz, and wraps all across the U.S., concluding with a Terminal 5 show on February 25th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, November 4th, at 10 a.m., more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; full dates can be found in the poster below.

The band is a combination of brutally clever lyrical craft, hard-hitting beats, socially conscious activism and a sense of humor — last year’s whole Meow the Jewels project, which is all sorts of awesome. Run the Jewels teased the new record in the recent single “Talk To Me”; they also appeared in “Nobody Speak” from DJ Shadow’s latest record The Mountain Will Fall. Check both out below, particularly the brilliant, Sam Pilling-directed video for “Nobody Speak,” which pretty well gets me in the election season feels.  Continue reading →