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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Still hot off the release of her newest album Lights Out, Ingrid 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.”
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.
American metal/ prog-rock band Mastadon will bring their crushing sound and screaming vocals to the Electric Factory tonight. With a new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, due out June 24 via Reprise Records, there should be plenty of new material for the show. Get tickets to the event here. Watch “High Road” below.
If Elbow’s goal is to take over the United States and blow out whatever competition they might get from Coldplay, to whom they’re often compared, then they still have a ways to go. They are, however, taking mighty and affirming strides.
Taking any memory of their stale and poorly-received set at 2011’s POPPED! Festival – the last time the Manchester five-piece played in Philadelphia – and throwing into the fire, Elbow rewrote their legacy at last night’s near-sold-out show at the Electric Factory. In between perfectly-executed songs spanning their six-album career (including most of 2014’s acclaimed The Takeoff and Landing of Everything, lead singer Guy Garvey played troubadour and master-of-ceremonies to the hilt. Throughout the set, he cracked jokes at his bandmates’ expense, singled out audience members, celebrated one couple’s recent marriage, and taunted the crowd with allegations of poor sing-along volume (“Washington was pretty good…I think Boston was the best one so far”). During those songs, he was a grandiose pied piper, raising his hand to the audience with every acrobatic vocal run and compelling ongoing attention from a rapt audience. If this gig was any indication, they’re on a course for even greater success.
Joining them was American-born, Iceland-based singer-songwriter John Grant, who rivaled Elbow for heart-on-sleeve intensity and cheeky self-deprecation . Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.
British musical exports tend not to make the same impressions as American ones. For as long as the cross-Atlantic musical conversation has involved mutual influence and spawned massive crossover successes (Radiohead, Coldplay, The Strokes, the Dandy Warhols, etc.), there have been artists on both sides whose fame has been largely confined to one side or another.
Elbow (sometimes stylized “elbow”) have spent much of their seventeen-year career in the same category as acts like Kate Bush and the Stone Roses – critically acclaimed on both sides of the pond, but only truly popular in the UK. Chalk it up to whatever you want – the thick Manchester accents, the sometimes-twee references to localities that escape even the staunchest Anglophiles – but they never quite hit here. Their last Philly gig, at 2011’s POPPED! Festival, was met mainly with stares and boredom by an audience rabidly awaiting Cage the Elephant.
Now, this epically-oriented quintet looks to be reversing their fortunes with this year’s The Takeoff and Landing of Everything (Fiction/Concord). Released in mid-March and immediately entering #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, the band’s sixth full-length album marks their evolution from prog-inspired alt-rockers (in the vein of contemporaries and supporters like Radiohead and Coldplay) to anthem-churning arena act. The album’s lead-off single, “New York Morning”, illuminates their capacity for shimmering beauty on a broad scale (as well as its applicability for an increasingly-rabid American market). With tonight’s gig at the Electric Factory (one of the few stops on their North American tour to still not sell out), they just might prove themselves capable of finally bridging the cross-pond gap.
Elbow plays the Electric Factory tonight with opener John Grant. Click here to purchase tickets and find more information.