Tonight’s Concert Picks: Johnny Showcase at World Cafe Live, Lee Mazin at The TLA, Sister City at Kung Fu Necktie and more…

Johnny Showcase
Johnny Showcase | photo via Facebook

Johnny Showcase brings his Lefty Lucy Cabaret to World Cafe Live upstairs tonight. The absurdist funk-pop-disco eight-piece will release its new record The Octopus this spring after hosting a successful Kickstarter campaign. The LP comes three years after the groups debut Love Is the Message, which they revisited last summer for the video “Hit It From the Back.” Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Timur and the Dime Museum can be found here. Watch the band perform “The Octopus” live at Johnny Brenda’s below.

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Johnny Showcase takes to the streets of South Philly in his new video for “Hit it From the Back”

Johnny Showcase | photo courtesy of the artist
Johnny Showcase | photo courtesy of the artist
Johnny Showcase is back with a new video for “Hit it From the Back,” taken from the local group’s Love is the Message album.  The “funk, absurdist psychedelic soul” outfit sticks to the smooth soul line in this track as Showcase croons cheesy, faux-romantic lyrics. Think Ron Burgundy meets Flight of the Conchords meet Marvin Gaye and you’ve got the mood.

Filmed in South Philly in the Italian Market and outside of local food joints, the video captures Johnny Showcase and his Lefty Lucy Cabaret’s colorful personality perfectly.  Check it out below and catch the band’s final pre-album-recording show at Underground Arts tomorrow night with West Philadelphia Orchestra.  More information can be found here.


For the Kids: Psych and funk combine for Yes!…And Collaborative Arts’ first benefit concerts

Johnny Showcase | Photo via

This summer, Yes!…And Collaborative Arts launches its summer camp season, bringing elementary and high school students together to learn theater skills, expand their imaginations and develop their creativity. But tonight, you can see some of the counselors (and campers) in a bit of a different setting.

Guitar chords and heavy drums will replace jazz hands and script reads at a benefit concert for the group featuring Johnny Showcase and the Lefty Lucy Cabaret, an eight-piece psychedelic, funk band, folk rock artist Birdie Busch and singer/songwriter Chris Kasper at Connie’s Ric Rac.

“I know a lot of the kids,” said David Sweeny, the brainchild behind Johnny Showcase. “I think it’s a really special thing that kids are being allowed into a club in South Philly.”

Sweeny moved to Philly in 2000 and became involved with Yes!…And Collaborative Arts immediately. Years later, he developed an idea for a band that doubled as a sort of theatrical experience, and with the help of thespians and non-thespians alike, he started Johnny Showcase.

“What we do is definitely an extension of the stuff that [Yes!…And the Collaborative Arts] is teaching in the programs,” Sweeny said. “My thing is that I fool people who are just trying to see a rock ‘n’ roll show to see theater. I also fool people who are there to see a theatrical performance.”

Michael Brix, executive director of Yes!…And the Collaborative Arts, is also one of the founders of the organization and has known Sweeny since he joined. When Brix and other members of the nonprofit decided to organize a benefit concert, he said it was only obvious to ask Sweeny and his band to perform.

From there, he and other members chose the rest of the lineup. However, Johnny Showcase is known best for its racy and colorful performances – something not so suitable for a younger audience. But Sweeny said he “knows his audience” and is prepared to change his usual performance to something a little more family-friendly, though he’s not going “to dumb it down.”

“I guess it’s my mission to bring silliness back to the landscape to modern music,” Sweeny said.

Tonight’s show will start at 8 p.m. and the $15 tickets can be purchased here. All proceeds will go toward what Brix calls “camperships” – scholarships for kids to go to the summer camps.


Oldermost, Levee Drivers, Khari Mateen, Johnny Showcase and more head up the Art Star Craft Bazaar

Khari Mateen | Photo by Abi Reimold

The annual Art Star Craft Bazaar comes to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on the weekend of May 10th and May 11th, and as usual, it’s chock-full of free performances from local musicians. Our friends at Philebrity curated the lineup, which features a set from editor Joey Sweeney and his band The Long Hair Arkestra; also on tap are atmosphericana rockers Oldermost, outlaw country rabble-rousers Levee Drivers, classical / jazz inspired troupe Liz and the Lost Boys, beat-driven one-man-dance-party Khari Mateen, and more. And that’s just the first day (we’re psyched to see Johnny Showcase on Sunday). Check out the full lineup and set times here, and check out music from the artists on the show below.

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Johnny Showcase takes a mystical journey in the video for “Rubber Glove”


Johnny Showcase | photo courtesy of the artist
Johnny Showcase | photo courtesy of the artist

Funky frontman Johnny Showcase has shared a new video for “Rubber Glove” off of his Mystic Ticket I: The Pump Fake EP.  Using animated footage from a 1926 German film called Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, the video pairs Showcase’s sensual, trippy electro-soul song with colored silhouettes of the prince as he embarks on a journey filled with mystical creatures and devious beings.

(See More – Watch this ridiculous music video for Johnny Showcase’s “Sensual, Parts 1 & 2″)

Johnny Showcase will join Nicos Gun at Johnny Brenda’s on February 13th for a night of psychedelic theatrics.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Check out “Rubber Glove” below.


Lushlife to play next Red Bull Sound Select event on 9/17 with Cuddle Magic, Heliotropes and Johnny Showcase

redbullsoundselect The next Philly Red Bull Sound Select show will be held on Tuesday, September 17th at a secret location TBA. Curated by Tayyib Smith of Little Giant Media, the showcase will feature Cuddle Magic, Heliotropes, Johnny Showcase and Lushlife. Tonight is the August edition of Red Bull Sound Select at The Blockley with Kilo Kish, Nico’s Gun, Mic Stewart & Joie. Go here for more information about tonight’s show, curated by Veteran Freshman. Below, listen to some tunes from Lushlife, Cuddle Magic and Johnny Showcase.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Johnny Showcase at Connie’s Ric Rac, The Districts at Fergies, Frog Holler at Union Jack’s and like a billion other things

Wait, what’s that? You thought you were off the hook that easily? Like it’s been so many days of holiday cheer that the plan was just a quiet night at home with board games and DVDs? No no no, my friend – there is fun to be had and live music to be seen. Let’s start with a couple accidental omissions from our New Year’s Eve roundup post from the other week. Johnny Showcase and The Lefty Lucy Cabaret – the funky campy ultra-catchy ensemble of Philly dudes and ladies rallying around one central crooner’s aspirations of Tom Jones (or Midnite Vultures-era Beck) – joins forces with West Philadelphia Orchestra at Connie’s Ric Rac for a New Year’s dancing extravaganza. More information can be found here; below, check out Showcase’s video for the ultra-addictive “Sensual, Parts 1 & 2.”

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Find out about the music events on the fringe of Fringe (feat. Johnny Showcase, T.J. Kong and more)

The 16th annual Live Arts / Fringe Festival is largely known as an interdisciplinary performing arts showcase – and lest we forget, music falls under the umbrella of “performing arts.” To just note a few happenings: Philadelphia electronic duo Gemini Wolf will perform a live accompaniment to the dance-based production WAMB, while versatile local harpist Mary Lattimore scored the documentary Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, which screens on September 19 at The International House. This weekend, The Key will run a review of 27, a surreal performance piece about the infamous “dead rock stars’ club”, and next week we’ll talk to Australian avant-jazz group The Necks about their involvement in the festival showcase performance Food Court.

Speaking of showcases, one Johnny Showcase, and his Lefty Lucy Cabaret (pictured), performs a Fringe Festival Opening Dance Party at South Philadelphia club Connie’s Ric Rac. Get your sensual swerve on beginning at 10 p.m. with DJ Carl Sexton; the cabaret brings the funk at 11:30; it’s free to hang for the 21-and-over.

And throughout the festival, the folks at Underground Arts will be hosting the annual after-hours festival hang, Late Nite Cabaret, for the first time.  They’ve got a stacked schedule for the next two weeks, including raucous folksters T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb on Saturday the 8th, noisemakers The Absinthe Drinkers on Sunday the 16th, and a Brat Productions interpretation of The White Stripes’ album Get Behind Me, Satan to close out the festival on Saturday the 22nd. Full schedule is available here – get ready to get weird.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: My Morning Jacket w/ Band of Horses at the Mann, Ape School LP release show at Johnny Brenda’s, MilkBoy Anniversary w/ GANG and Chill Moody at Milkboy, and Algeron Cadwallader w/ Kite Party at First Unitarian

Tonight XPN welcomes My Morning Jacket with special guests Band of Horses to the Mann Center for a rockin’ all-ages event. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $29.50 to $48.50 and can be purchased here.

Philly musician Michael Johnson’s solo project, Ape School, is celebrating the release of their new LP, Junior Violence, tonight with a show at Johnny Brenda’s. The 21+ event features performance by Norwegian Arms, Jeff Zeigler & Mary Lattimore, Laser Background, and Adam & Dave of The War on Drugs will be DJing throughout the night. Doors for the 21+ show open at 8PM and the show starts at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are available here for $10.

Looking to hear some free music tonight? Head on over to MilkBoy for their One-Year Anniversary Show featuring GANG, Johnny Showcase, The Lawsuits and Chill Moody. Doors for the 21+ show open at 8:30PM and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. Watch the video for GANG’s song “Why Can’t You Just Be” below.

Algernon Cadwallader are playing First Unitarian Church tonight with Joyce Manor, Tigers Jaw, and Kite Party for a night of sweaty pop-punk. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here for $10. Below, check out Algernon Cadwallader’s song “Springing Leaks” from the album Parrot Flies.