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Just Announced: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to flock to Merriam Theater this February

Noel Gallagher | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Soon enough, birds will flying home for the winter. And by home, I mean Philly. And by birds, I mean Noel Gallagher’s 2010-started project, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Okay, yes I too cringed at that long stretch of word play, but you get the picture.

Anywho, the past Oasis member will be bringing his crew to Merriam Theater on February 13th. Tickets for the show go on sale this Friday at 10 AM; grab those here, and listen to “Ballad Of The Mighty I” below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jurassic 5 at TLA, Tedeschi Trucks Band at Merriam Theater, Matt Cappy at 2300 Arena

Jurassic 5 | photo via band’s Facebook page

Aughties hip-hop supergroup, Jurassic 5, are bringing their old-school vibes to the TLA tonight. Comprised of DJs Numark and Cut Chemist, and MC’s Chali 2na, Zaakir, Akil and Mark 7even, the group was formed at LA’s The Good Life cafe, and was incredibly influential in the West Coast underground scene. Tickets for the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Listen to their 2002 jam, “What’s Golden,” below. Continue reading →

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Melody Gardot plays a moving homecoming show at the Merriam Theater

Melody Gardot | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Melody Gardot | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Philly jazz singer Melody Gardot emotionally told the crowd “I missed you, Philly” in her headlining show at the Merriam Theater last night. Gardot has been touring the world in support of her latest album, this year’s Currency of Man, and last night she dedicated the song “Our Love is Easy” to the audience. Throughout the night, Gardot and her band encouraged the crowd to clap along and sing along, while the horn players incorporated coordinated movements for visual effect. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Trails and Ways at Kung Fu Necktie, John Mellencamp at Merriam Theater, Hemming at Milkboy

Trails and Ways | Photo by David Wallace
Trails and Ways | Photo by David Wallace

Pop group Trails and Ways have emerged with their first full-length, Pathology, this month, and tonight they headline Kung Fu Necktie. Their music resembles Beach Fossils by way of Passion Pit — certainly the type of sound to spend your summer evening enjoying. Watch video for “Mtn Tune” below, and get tickets to their 21+ show here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: KRS-One at The Trocadero, Tweedy at Merriam Theater, and OutBeat Festival ft. David Coss Quartet at Union Transfer

KRS 1
Photo via The Trocadero

South Bronx hip-hop legend Lawrence “KRS-One” Krisna Parker heads to perform at the Trocadero tonight. Following the death of his DJ in the ’80’s group Boogie Down Productions, KRS-One began effectively developing his solo career and today has over 15 albums under his belt. His most recent album The BDP Revival was dedicated to Boogie Down Productions and included powerful tracks “The Solution,” and “Introducing.” For tickets and more information head over to the XPN Concert Calender. Below, check out the video for “Aztechnical.” Continue reading →

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John Mellencamp will headline the Merriam Theater in June

John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp | Photo by Brad Barket
Heartland rocker John Mellencamp just announced a 2015 tour in support of his latest album, Plain Spoken, and it comes to Philadelphia on June 16th at the Merriam Theater. Tickets go on sale Friday, September 19th, at 10 a.m. The album – out on Tuesday, September 23rd –  is the 22nd studio release for the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame-r and Grammy Award winner, and each ticket comes with a download of the album. Listen to the new “Sometimes There’s God” from the album below, and get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Band of Horses to release new live album and play Merriam Theater 3/1

Artwork via www.facebook.com/bandofhorses
Artwork via www.facebook.com/bandofhorses

Band of Horses’ recently announced acoustic tour will bring them to Merriam Theater on March 1st. The indie rockers are set to release a new live LP, Acoustic at the Ryman – recorded live at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium (longtime home of The Grand Ole Opry) – on February 11th. Regarding the new release, bassist Bill Reynolds told Rolling Stone: “The game plan was to keep it wild and expressive like the show while capturing it with highest resolution available”. Certainly, their fans would approve of this goal. Pre-order the live disc and get tickets for the show at Merriam Theater here. Get a taste of Band of Horses and their embellished folk-rock via “Neighbor” from Acoustic at the Ryman and “The First Song” from their debut album below.

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Fiona Apple and Blake Mills give a moving performance at The Merriam Theater

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.comAll photos by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Raw. Spare. Explosive. Transcendent. These are four words that come to mind when recalling the Fiona Apple and Blake Mills concert on Saturday night at the Merriam Theatre. Apple and her jazz-inflected vocals full of smoke and fire as paired with the guitar virtuoso Mills, who shifted from strains of classical to folk, country and blues, were a lustful symbiosis on stage. This is best exemplified in their new song “I Want You to Love Me,” with Apple tapping away at the piano while declaring her desires and Mills sitting on the other side of the stage, countering her keys with his strings. The song builds layer after layer of discord and harmony with these elements up to a frenzied crescendo. It was electrifying.

This electrical pulse flowed throughout their “Anything We Want” show, which is what they nicknamed the tour in honor of a song they do together and their attitude overall. If anyone hoped to get Apple’s bona fide hits like “Criminal,” they would have been disappointed. At this show, the new was on display — not just in content, but also in sound as the reliance on another voice for duets like the show’s opener, “Tipple.” The very simple staging with Apple and Mills bathed in white light while their accompanying percussionist (Barbara Gruska) and bass player (Sebastian Steinberg) were in the shadows of reds and blues also added a sense of intimacy that was given even more gravitas with the surroundings of a glorious 95-year-old theater in the Merriam.

After 2012’s masterful The Idler Wheel, Apple shows that her emotive palate is blossoming into a voice that is both ageless and inventive. And for a critic like myself, it is awesome to see how she has kept the magic evident on her debut Tidal woven into her recorded and live work. This critic first saw her promoting that album in 1997 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., in a theater steeped in history with herself and her piano at the forefront. Now she has opened up to even greater possibilities, as evidenced with her duets on songs with even a country heart — “Seven.”

The 90-minute show flew by with an audience rapt and full of love, showering her with flowers and reverent claps that echoed throughout the hallowed hall. It began with her unexpectedly writing on a chalkboard “Teach me how to be free, teach me how.” And despite her lack of direct interactions with the audience, beyond asking which of the three merch shirts they had she should don, picking up a bouquet of flowers left for her that she then cradled, and a few words before their finale of “Waltz (Better Than Fine),” she spoke with her music — a voice unlike any other not afraid to use her neck as percussion or her piano as a channel for the emotions that drive humans — love, lust, hate, regret and beyond.

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Just Announced: Elvis Costello will play the Merriam Theater on 11/10

elvis12

Elvis Costello‘s first U.S. solo tour in a decade will bring him through Philly for a show at the Merriam Theater on November 11th.  The bandleader and current Roots collaborator will release Wise Up Ghost with the legendary Philadelphia hip-hop group on September 17th but hasn’t released a solo record since 2010’s National Ransom.  Tickets for the all-ages show go on sale August 9th and will be available here.  Stream Wise Up Ghost‘s first single “Walk Us UPTOWN” below and then check out some classic Elvis Costello tracks.

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Just Announced: Citizen Cope playing the Merriam Theater 10/18

citizen_copeClarence Greenwood, more commonly known by his stage name Citizen Cope, has just announced that he’ll be playing a solo acoustic show at the Merriam Theater on October 18th. The singer/songwriter has been songwriting and touring for over a decade now. His latest full length, One Lovely Day, came out in July of 2012, and is available now. Tickets for this intimate, acoustic performance go on sale this Friday, August 2nd at noon. Get more info here, and revisit the title track of One Lovely Day below.