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Review: Luscious Jackson played its first concert in 14 years to an energized Union Transfer crowd

Luscious Jackson | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Luscious Jackson | Photo by Chris SIkich | countfeed.tumblr.com

On Saturday night, time machines were proven to exist. And, no, I am not talking about our timelord from across the pond. The 1990s were alive and well at Union Transfer, with Luscious Jackson pumping out their dance and hip-hop-infused alterna-rock in their first concert in 14 years. Though they may be older and leaner as they return with three original members — Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser and Kate Schellenbach (Vivian Trimble hasn’t returned) — they have not lost sense of how to energize a crowd to dance and sing along. Philadelphia may have seemed an odd place for the New York-based band to relaunch, but Cunniff noted early on that Philly was chosen because it rocks and the city’s fans are so great. (And it doesn’t hurt that the band’s namesake is a ’60s- and ’70s-era 76ers player.)

For 19 songs and nearly 90 minutes, they certainly looked like they were at home as they played tracks from almost all of their releases, from 1993’s debut EP In Search of Manny to 2013’s Magic Hour. (They didn’t play anything from their kiddie-rock album Baby DJ, released earlier this month, despite the presence of children in the crowd.) Cunniff with her bass, Glaser with her guitar, and Schellenbach with her drums brought forth their unique rock concoction with such ease and grace that 20-year-old songs like “Daughters of the Kaos” have retained their electric eclecticism. With backing keys, guitar and percussion, as well as a DJ providing interstitial sounds, Luscious Jackson showed off how their new parts enhance the quality of the past. At no point was this more evident than when they invited a few male fans to dance on stage as they performed one of their best new tracks, “#1 Bum.” “City Song” and a mostly female on-stage dance party followed, bringing their opening set to a close.

And as the crowd chanted for Jill Cunniff to join her bandmates for the encore, which brought three more treats (including a welcome performance of 1993’s “Satellite”), the bond between band and audience was solidified as one that hasn’t lost any bounce in the aughts. Let’s hope Luscious Jackson continue to bring music to our ears, since Magic Hour and this concert prove they have a lot left to give us musically and aerobically.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kopecky Family Band at TLA, Jose James at World Cafe Live, Luscious Jackson at Union Transfer, and more

Kopecky Family Band | via Facebook

The Nashville natives of Kopecky Family Band will be headlining the TLA tonight, just one stop on a tour that is taking them around North America for the remainder of the year. Their full indie sound is created with the use of keyboards, horns, and cello in addition to the basic band set up. Their somewhat recent releaseKids Raising Kids, opens with the spunky lyrics “Oh! my wandering eyes / nothing’s gonna take me by surprise!” that are delivered in harmony over bluesy riffs and slowly marching drums. Sure to be an upbeat performance, get out to see Kopecky Family band, especially since they’ll be supported by California-bound locals Cheers Elephant. Find tickets to the show here, and pick up their album here.

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Luscious Jackson in their own words (playing Union Transfer 11/23)

The original DIY cover for the demo tape that became Luscious Jackson’s 1992 debut EP, In Search of Manny - Pictured L to R: Gabby Glaser and Jill Cunniff.
The original DIY cover for the demo tape that became
Luscious Jackson’s 1992 debut EP, In Search of Manny – Pictured L to R:
Gabby Glaser and Jill Cunniff.

Following a 14 year recording hiatus, three of the original members of Luscious Jackson are back and stronger than ever with the savvy samples, funky beats, and streetwise raps that made them a pop culture fixture in the ‘90s. This time around, they’re recording and self-producing music on their own label, City Song, and they’ve just just released two new albums: Magic Hour and Baby DJ, a kids album.

XPN Welcomes the band to Union Transfer this Saturday night, November 23rd. As they prepared for its reunion show the band met with producer Allyson McCabe to reflect on where they’ve been and where they hope to go. Listen to the interview below; tickets for Saturday night’s Luscious Jackson show can be purchased here.

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Stream the new Luscious Jackson album Magic Hour (XPN Welcomes to Union Transfer on November 23rd)

Photo by Doug Seymour
Photo by Doug Seymour
Luscious Jackson are back in action and rocking the beats! They are releasing their first new album in 14 years, Magic Hour, on November 5th. Listen to the full album here.

Ann Powers, writing about the album for NPR Music says:

The best dance music is the kind that reminds you to move through life with your body rocking. It’s one thing, a necessary thing, to get on the dance floor; but it’s also supremely beneficial to carry that funky sway onto the streets and into daily routine. Luscious Jackson, the Manhattan-born, now bicoastal band of rhythm gluttons whose hits (remember “Naked Eye”?) were among the most pleasurable alternative rock produced in the ’90s, demonstrates exactly how to do that. On Magic Hour, its first album in fourteen years, the group gives instructions in fun, love, loyalty and self-appreciation with ten songs that go down as easy as drummer Kate Schellenbach’s backbeats.

Listen to Magic Hour here.

WXPN Welcomes Luscious Jackson to Union Transfer on Saturday, November 23rd. Tickets and more information here.

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Luscious Jackson share new song, “So Rock On” (playing Union Transfer on Novermber 24th)

Photo by Doug Seymour
Photo by Doug Seymour

Luscious Jackson have shared another new song, “So Rock On,” from their forthcoming album out on November 5th called Magic Hour. The band’s first new album in 14 years, they have also announced several reunion shows including one at Union Transfer on Saturday, November 23rd.

In the short yet, brilliant history of music videos that feature stereo speakers, check out Luscious Jackson’s new one for “So Rock On” below.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week – “Are You Ready” by Luscious Jackson

Photo by Doug Seymour
Photo by Doug Seymour

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week is a new song by Luscious Jackson, “Are You Ready,” from their new album coming out on November 5th called Magic Hour. The band’s first new album in 14 years, they have also announced a few reunion shows including one at Union Transfer on Saturday, November 23rd. Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser, and Kate Schellenbach used Pledge Music, a crowd funding platform that allows fans to financially contribute directly to musical projects, to raise money for the new album, coming out on their own City Song label. From the opening beats, “Are Your Ready” signifies a funky welcome return for the ladies. Their harmonies soar on top of the wah-wah guitars, the beats are tight, and the colorful synth sounds bubble under a memorable melody. “Are You Ready” is classic Luscious Jackson. Download the song below.

Go here to purchase tickets to the show at Union Transfer.

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Just announced: Luscious Jackson playing reunion show at Union Transfer on November 23rd

Photo by Doug Seymour
Photo by Doug Seymour
Luscious Jackson are returning with a new album on November 5th called Magic Hour. It’s the band’s first new album in 14 years. They’re playing a reunion show at Union Transfer on Saturday, November 23rd. The lovely ladies of Luscious Jackson – Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser, and Kate Schellenbach used Pledge Music, a crowd funding platform that allows fans to financially contribute directly to musical projects, to raise money for the new album, coming out on their own City Song label. Funky, and as on point as ever, watch the video for a new song, “Show Us What You Got,” directed by Josephine Wiggs of The Breeders, below.

Go here to purchase tickets to the show.

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My Morning Download: “Are You Ready?” by Luscious Jackson

lusciousjackson Back in the Nineties the New York band Luscious Jackson – Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser, Vivian Trimble, and Kate Schellenbach – had more than their 15 minutes of fame. Signed by the Beastie Boys as the first band to their label, Grand Royal, the ladies released several albums and their debut In Search of Manny EP and had several well known songs including “Ladyfingers,” “Naked Eye,” and “CitySong.” Their music reflected the hip-hop and rock sounds of the New York City, and the all-girl band quite remarkably stood their ground in the Nineties mostly male rap-rock-grunge environment. The band broke up in 2000 and since then Cunniff and Glaser both released solo albums. Without Vivian Trimble, the rest of band has been working on a new album, via Pledge Music, a crowd funding platform that allows fans to financially contribute directly to musical projects. The band’s new album, Magic Hour, is being released on November 5th on their own City Song imprint. Below, in exchange for your e-mail address, download “Are Your Ready?” and listen to “Show Us What You Got.”

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company