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Purest Moods: Brand New & Modest Mouse at the Mann

Brand New | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com
Brand New | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | jeremy-zim.com

 

If you would have told me five years ago that Modest Mouse and Brand New would not only tour together in 2016, but co-headline, I would have shrugged said “Eh, I’d probably go see Modest Mouse.” Unlike many of my peers, I didn’t get into Brand New in my formative years, so Modest Mouse became the impetus for me making the pilgrimage out to the Mann Center Saturday night to see the most head-scratching double-header of 2016 summer touring season. While Modest Mouse’s brand of post-shoegaze certainly isn’t anything close to what I’d call “lighthearted,” it’s a far cry from the wallowing, starkly emotional crushers from Long Island’s Brand New. While a lineup like that might provoke confusion, it doesn’t trip on it’s way to the bank — the Mann’s entire 14,000 capacity was entirely sold out mere days after tickets were on sale. The tour proved a big truth: While either band would likely struggle to sell out the amphitheater, the sum is greater than it’s constituent parts. The same could be said about each band’s distinctly divergent career. Continue reading →

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Where the Hipster Meets the Hippie: Wilco wows a devout Mann Center audience

Wilco| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Wilco| Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

How do you write about your favorite band? Do you tell your readers to take everything you are about to say with a grain (or heap, more like) of salt because you’ve been a Wilco fan since before you were born (literally)? Or do you decide to embrace your innermost fanboy and scrawl out a review brimming with those adjectives we music critics employ when we like what we hear? And when it’s your first time seeing Wilco in your home city of Philadelphia since their show at the Tower Theater in 2008? It all seems a nightmare for any modicum of journalistic integrity to me. Continue reading →

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Cage the Elephant give it their all at the Mann Center

Cage the Elephant | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Cage the Elephant | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

It was over before it even began. Cage the Elephant‘s Matt Schultz didn’t even have to move a muscle to have the screaming crowd at the Mann Center leap into the palm of his hand. Anyone who’s ever seen the band perform live before knows that Schultz is anything but a slacker, so sing for his supper he very well did. Extreme hype for the band is more than well-deserved, as they seem to perform without limits to their energy. Thursday night at the Mann’s Skyline Stage, however, they showed a hand both same and different. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard at Underground Arts, The Burgeoning at Kung Fu Necktie, The 1975 at the Mann and more…

king gizzard and the lizard wizard
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard | photo by Lee Vincent Grub | courtesy of the artist

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard return to Underground Arts tonight. The Australian garage / psych rockers released their eighth studio recored this year with the critically acclaimed Nonagon Infinity. To emphasize the Infinity part, the LP is apparently recorded as a loop, with the final notes matching up with the opening notes for endless Gizzard fun. Check out “People-Vultures” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

Continue reading →

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Paul Simon swears like a sailor on his latest single and it’s kind of awesome.

Paul Simon | Photo courtesy of artist
Paul Simon | Photo courtesy of artist

Folk legend Paul Simon is prepping his newest solo album, Stranger To Stranger, and he recently shared the album’s newest single, “Cool Papa Bell.”

The song, which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the classic Graceland, channels island beats, chimey guitars, and a thumping tuba bassline. But there’s also an unexpected lyrical side to it. Continue reading →

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XPN welcomes longtime faves The Avett Brothers to the Mann Center in May

The Avett Brothers | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
The Avett Brothers | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

We are about to enter the thrall of winter here in Philadelphia but that does not mean we cannot begin to look longingly toward a time when spring will be in full bloom and one of our longtime favorite bands, The Avett Brothers will take the Mann Center stage by storm. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Woven In at Kung Fu Necktie, Diana Ross at The Mann, Darla at Ardmore Music Hall and more

Woven In | Photo  by Matthew Moyer
Woven In | Photo by Matthew Moyer | via facebook.com/wovenin

Philly’s Mariah Johnson makes moody, jagged lo-fi pop under the name Woven In, and tonight she’s on a gig upstairs at Fishtown’s Kung Fu Necktie. Earlier this year, Woven In released the Feel LP, which you can listen to below; get more information on tonight’s show with Coin Purse and Straw Hats at its Facebook event page. Continue reading →

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Alabama Shakes amaze the Mann Center with rock and soul

Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese
Alabama Shakes | Photo by John Vettese

“GODDAMN!” was the word a man behind me exclaimed throughout last night’s Drive-By Truckers and Alabama Shakes show at the Mann Center. I would concur with his sentiment, as both bands amazed with all-out rock and soul sets.

Kicking off the night, Drive-By Truckers ebbed and flowed with scorchers like “Let There Be Rock,” and political songs such as the new “What It Means.”

It was a co-headlining show, with the Truckers stretching out to 75 minutes, but the true stars of the show were Alabama Shakes, whose performance evoked soul, rock, and gospel with fluidity. Continue reading →

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Of Monsters and Men captivated the crowd at The Mann’s Skyline Stage

Of Monsters and Men | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Of Monsters and Men | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Icelandic folk-pop band Of Monsters and Men brought a dynamic performance to a packed crowd at the Skyline Stage at The Mann on Tuesday night. Complete with heavy fog, an impressive light show, and the addition of touring band members, Of Monsters and Men gave the audience a highly produced and exciting performance. With nine musicians on stage, the band was able to create a complex and textured soundscape that included guitars, keyboards, percussion, brass, and accordion. Continue reading →