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Soaking up the sounds of Summer and lots of sunshine: Photo recap of Make Music Philly

Photo by Rich McKie
Photo by Rich McKie

The 2nd annual Make Music Philly took place this past Saturday. Under mostly sunny, blue skies, and gorgeous first day of Summer weather, the City of Philadelphia was the stage for several hundred music performances. The day started off at Love Park with a percussion play along with the Philly Drum Project and ended with a harmonica play along led bu John Colgen-Davis of the Dukes of Destiny followed by a concert featuring Ted Leo and Lee Fields & The Expressions.

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Today’s Concert Picks: Make Music Philly, Make Music Philly, Make Music Philly (and a few other cool things)

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There’s no doubt that the big event this Saturday is Make Music Philly. Free concerts all over the city all day — what else could you ask for? Join XPN and kick off the day 10 a.m. at Love Park with A Play Along Percussion Party with Philly Drum Project. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own percussion instrument to join PDP in the party. There are a ton of shows around the city that you can catch from dawn till dusk, but make sure to see XPN Presents Ted Leo, Lee Fields & the Expressions & Play Along Harmonica Event w/ John Colgan-Davis at 6:30 p.m. at Penn’s Landing. Bring along a harmonica to join in on Colgan-Davis’ set. For a full list of events and showtimes today, check out the Make Music Philly website here.

Also playing tonight:

Jolie Holland at Milkboy Philadelphia ($12-$15, 21+, 8:30 p.m.)

Robert Francis at Boot & Saddle ($10, 21+, 8 p.m.)

Real Estate and San Fermin at Verizon Hall ($30, all ages, 8 p.m.)

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Modern Colour

Photo courtesy of the band.
Photo courtesy of the band.

Moody guitar solos and powerhouse vocals are just two facets of Modern Colour‘s rock sound. While the Philly trio, made up of Stephan Sirochman (vocals, guitar), Chris Boyle (bass), and Tom Weir (drums), has been playing together since 2011, the band’s energy this year was driven into their DIY eponymous EP (released in March). The band’s influences, including Jimi Hendrix, The Band, and Jack White, will engage music fans right away, and a first (and second…and third) listen of the album makes it clear the hard work paid off. You can hear the band coming into its own with each of the seven songs embracing their strengths and delivering a punch of the band’s blues rock roots, especially on gritty tracks like “Love To Hate.” You can catch the band performing at Make Music Philly’s festivities at sexton sideshow at riverside hall (details here).

Stream their EP below.

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Derek Walton

Photo courtesy of the artist via Facebook.
Photo courtesy of the artist via Facebook.

Derek Walton is proving to be a rising star in the Philadelphia R&B scene, his vocals boasting the soul and crafted lyrics of an artist much older than eighteen. All the same, Walton, a recent grad of CAPA, has stretched himself across projects including the All-City Choir as well as various school choirs and productions while in the process of making his own full-length debut, White Light Portrayal . Derek will be performing at the Franklin Institute tomorrow at 12:30PM. Go here to the Make Music Philly site for more information. Below, sample songs from his album.

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Make Music Philly: Ryan Crump of the Philly Drum Project on the kick off play along percussion event at Love Park

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Tomorrow is Make Music Philly, a day long of free musical performances all over the city. The kick off event is happening at Love Park in Center City where members of the Philly Drum Project will lead a “play along” improvisational performance by a drum ensemble curated by them that includes noted Philly players Chuck Treece (G. Love, King Britt, McRad), Spanky McCurdy (Lady Gaga, Jill Scott), Josh Aaron (The Lawsuits), Ricardo Lagomasino (Deleted Scenes, Buried Beds, Many Arms), and Keaton Thandi (Ali Wadsworth, Satellite Hearts). Bring a percussion instrument of your choice and join in on the performance. Below, Ryan Crump, the founder and director of the Philly Drum Project, talks about the event.

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Epoch Failure

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Photo | https://epochfailure.bandpage.com/

Epoch Failure is a hip-hop/pop duo from NJ featuring Billy Joe Marrero (“Billy The Kidd”) and Nick Young (“Nickey Knoxx”). Both musicians have unique personal stories.

Marrero, who grew up in Camden, is one of five boys who grew up in a single parent home. In 2007, ABC’s 20/20 came to Camden to profile children growing up under the conditions of extreme poverty. Billy was one of three kids selected by the show’s producers. For nearly a year he was followed by news anchor Diane Sawyer and crew, and after the 20/20 special aired, the positive response to Billy and his family was overwhelming. This led to the family being on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which included a full home recording studio for Billy to pursue his musical passions. A graduate of Camden’s Creative Arts High School, Marrero’s turned a pivotal moment in his life to a path as a full time musician.

Knoxx grew was born in Brooklyn, raised in South Carolina and settled in Trenton. He enlisted in the Army to attend college and he serves full time in the New Jersey Army National Guard as a photographer and broadcast journalist.

Epoch Failure’s debut single, “Where I’m Sposed to Be,” has all the elements of a great summer jam. Watch the video for it below, and listen to their second single, “A New Day.” The band is playing several times on Saturday for Make Music Philly. Go here for more information.

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Portland Senator

Portland Senator / via facebook.com/portlandsenator
Portland Senator / via facebook.com/portlandsenator

With a hint of Avett Brothers’ vocals and instrumentation with touches of Pearl Jam and The Decemberists, Portland Senator has created an honest and unique take on the indie folk-rock genre. The Philly locals have a hypnotizing air about them worthy of repeated listenings. The band’s latest album, The Man I’m Supposed to Be, was recorded on an old reel-to-reel tape machine paralleling the album’s overall theme of nostalgia and gives Portland Senator a lo-fi sound, yet warm sound. You can catch them around Philly this Saturday as part of Make Music Philly. For showtimes and more information, visit the website here.

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Jesse and the Revelator

Photo via makemusicphilly.org
Photo via makemusicphilly.org

If you’ve never heard of Jesse and the Revelator, you have to check out the folk duo, Ivan Dunya and Jesse Belitekamine’s, debut album, Live from the Black Mountain Theatre, in Harlan, KY. It takes an equal amount of nerve and confidence to make your debut album with a concept album, but these two pulled it off with perfect folksy harmony. The album tells the story of people who dwell in the small county of Harlan, Kentucky and the hardships of coal miners. The unpolished, soft-spoken vocals of Dunya and Belitekamine help bring the heartbreaking tales of the characters to life. You can download the album for free on the duo’s official site here. Jesse and the Revelator will are playing Make Music Philly this Saturday, June 21st at the Aporchalypse from 12:30-1 p.m. and  Julian Abele Park from 2:30-3 p.m. For a full list of events and more information about Make Music Philly, go here.

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Edelweiss

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Photo via http://edelweissofficial.bandcamp.com

Edelweiss caught me off guard a little bit. As I opened their bandcamp page and clicked to play their song “Withering Heights,” I was instantly hooked. The song begins on a forceful downbeat followed by a mesmerizing guitar riff that had me nodding my head. It quickly progresses into a faster, more intense guitar bit and then into faded, lo-fi vocals. There is something about Edelweiss that is so established that it makes me wonder why I hadn’t heard of them until recently. Their vibe is punk-pop vibe with an alt-indie edge. I think we can expect a lot from the foursome from Stroudsburg, PA at Make Music Philly.

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Make Music Philly Spotlight: Paul Saint John

via reverbnation.com/paulsaintjohn

Paul Saint John is a Philadelphia based singer/songwriter, who originally hails from Scotland. The dual-citizenship-holding folk artist is scheduled to perform as a part of the Make Music Philly series at noon on June 21st for an intimate performance at the Gloria Dei Church at the corner of Christian Street and Columbus Boulevard. Given the songwriting prowess and quaintness of his music, a 17th century church will make for the perfect environment to listen to Paul Saint John’s Scottish inspired folk music. Take a look at a solo webcam performance of “Back in Aberdeen” below. Go here for a list of events, performance times, and venues for Make Music Philly.