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Celebrate 10 years of Johnny Brenda’s with Bardo Pond, Birds of Maya, Hurry, Frances Quinlan from Hop Along and more

Hop Along | Photo by John Vettese
Hop Along onstage at Johnny Brenda’s | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

There are definitely times when I love being wrong about things. Like the first time I went to Johnny Brenda’s: in fall of 2006, right after I first began as a volunteer with WXPN. It was a Silversun Pickups show, if you can believe that – Viva Voce opened. The Fishtown pub had recently re-invented itself as a 200-cap venue and, waiting for the show to start, I went to the bar to order a beer.

This was coming off of a half dozen years of living and breathing The Khyber, mind you, so I asked for a Yeungling. “We don’t have Yeungling,” the bartender sniffed. “Um, okay, PBR?” The bartender silently pointed to a chalkboard listing the all-local craft beer venue, which I simply could not wrap my brain around. No PBR? No Yeungling? I grabbed the cheapest thing (something called Kenzinger) and went back to my friends. “Dude, no Yeungling,” I said. “This place is gonna FAIL.”

Oh, young John, you had so much to learn.

Not only did JBs not fail – and thank the gods for that – it’s thrived for the past decade at the corner of Frankford and Girard, weathering rough years in the national music industry and seismic ripples in the local concertgoing landscape. It withstood the opening of the much-heralded and exactly-the-same-size’d Boot and Saddle; both clubs do their respective things in tandem with reliably strong calendars. It’s been dogged by the change in Fishtown and persists in the face of broverflow – though, seriously, if you’re grabbing food after 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, prepare yourself a very different world than it was at the start.

Most importantly, Johnny Brenda’s has been a welcoming home for the Philadelphia music community – the “made it” stage that upstart bands of all stripes aspire to, from Meg Baird to The Bul Bey to Abi Reimold and more. It’s the scene of secret celebrations for big hometown names like The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile; it’s held memorable New Years’ Eve throwdowns with A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Hop Along. And appropriately, to mark its 10 years on the Philly scene, it’s celebrating with two nights of all local music. Continue reading →

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Hop Along will play Project Pabst Philly with Animal Collective, Mac DeMarco and more

Hop Along | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Hop Along | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

After blowing our minds at the Make The World Better Foundation benefit gig this spring, Hop Along returns to the stage in their hometown this fall for the Philly edition of the Project Pabst concert series.

The show takes place at the Electric Factory on October 8th, and will also feature aughties freak-psychedelic dudes Animal Collective and indie crooner Mac DeMarco. Continue reading →

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Eagle In The Streets: Connor Barwin’s 3rd Annual Make the World Better benefit returns to Union Transfer

Connor Barwin | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Connor Barwin | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

No sports jokes in this one, I promise. And even more surprisingly, on Friday night when the 3rd annual Make the World Better benefit show went down at Union Transfer, none there, either. Put on and hosted by “The Street Eagle,” — the Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin — the event brought together music nerds and jocks, uniting them in the name of the greater good.

Unlike last year’s spicy, sporty takes from everyone’s favorite sassy Brooklyners Parquet Courts, this year featured very little mention of the love of the game. In fact, unless you had known previously that Connor plays for the team, you might never have learned at the event. And that’s okay. While last year’s event was radical, it seems lessons learned went into action, making the third incarnation of the event the most music-centric one yet, even while featuring fewer bands. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hop Along at Union Transfer, Marshall Allen at The Fire, Mikey Erg at Kung Fu Necktie and more

Hop Along | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com
Hop Along | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com

Tonight, Philly rockers Hop Along join Waxahatchee and other guests for Connor Barwin’s annual Make the World Better foundation benefit at Union Transfer. In previous years, Barwin and his organization have used money raised at these shows to rehabilitate city parks and playgrounds, and put money towards arts education – so it’s pretty much an amazing cause with amazing music. More information at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Hop Along, Alex G join Built to Spill on tour this fall

hop along
Frances Quinlan (of Hop Along) | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Indie rock heroes Built to Spill have announced a run of dates along the east coast for the fall, and they’ll be taking Hop Along and Alex G along for the ride. Though no Philly date is listed on the schedule, the trio will hit the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on October 8th and this is one bill well worth the return bridge toll.

Continue reading →

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Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin talks about his Make The World Better benefit concert with WXPN’s Dan Reed

Dan Reed (left) with Connor Barwin (right) | Photo via https://twitter.com/WXPNDanReed
Dan Reed (left) with Connor Barwin (right) | Photo by Ann Reed via https://twitter.com/WXPNDanReed

Connor Barwin, the Philadelphia Eagles defensive player, recently stopped by WXPN to talk with XPN’s afternoon host Dan Reed about Barwin’s 3rd annual Make The World Better benefit concert on Friday, June 3rd at Union Transfer. The show is an all-Philly bill including Hop Along, Waxahatchee, and a surprise special guest. Continue reading →

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Stop The Presses: Hop Along and Waxahatchee to headline Connor Barwin’s 3rd annual Make The World Better Benefit at Union Transfer

Hop Along | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com
Hop Along | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com

Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to “enriching the lives of Philadelphia’s youth by providing safe and fun places for artistic and athletic development,” just announced the line-up for their 3rd annual fundraiser…and it’s a fantastic Philly double-hitter of Waxahatchee and Hop Along. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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The Doctor Will See You Now: Dr. Dog take on The Fillmore

Dr. Dog | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com
Dr. Dog | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo racheldelsordophotography.com

It’s not often that a band can achieve a certain cult-status in their own lifetime before fading into either cheesiness or obscurity. A road diverged in the woods for Dr. Dog, and instead of falling by the wayside or chalking the whole thing off, they became living Philadelphia legends. Coming up on a decade and a half of jamming hard, the road warriors returned from a long haul and celebrated in style on Thursday night at The Fillmore—one of the few Philly venues they’d left to conquer, by virtue of its youth. Continue reading →