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 Mavis 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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.