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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

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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.

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Just Announced: Fiona Apple and Blake Mills playing the Merriam Theater on 10/19

fiona

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills are changing things up a bit with a collaborative fall tour that stops in Philly at the Merriam Theater on October 19th.  Details are few and far between as the exact nature of the show is still in the planning stages, but they were asked to share a few hints:

1) We were sent an assignment to write three or four sentences.

2) These sentences should communicate that we, Fiona Apple & Blake Mills (that’s us), are doing a little tour as a duo.

3) We know it’ll be something special, and we aren’t being coy here — it’s just that we have about 26% of an idea of what the fuck we will be playing for you.


4) It was our understanding that the 4th sentence was optional, but here is something that is true: the uncertainty excites us.

While Fiona Apple continues to tour behind last year’s Idler Wheel…, former Simon Dawes (now Dawes) member and highly-sought-after collaborator Blake Mills will release his as-yet untitled sophomore solo record next year.  Together in concert, Apple and Mills will perform material from their respective catalogs as well as new songs written together.  Tickets for “Anything We Want: An Evening with Fiona Apple & Blake Mills” at the Merriam Theater on October 19th go on sale August 2nd; more information will be available here.  Below, watch Fiona Apple’s video for “Hot Knife” and Blake Mills’ video for “Don’t Tell Your Friends About Me.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Yeasayer at Union Transfer, Permanent Wave Benefit at Cha-cha’razzi, The Miners at Milkboy Philly, John Prine at Merriam Theater, METZ at Kung Fu Necktie


XPN Welcomes electro-pop/rock band Yeasayer to Union Transfer tonight. The group is currently touring in support of their third album, Fragrant World, which was released in August. The band’s psychedelic sound draws a mix of influences from electronic music, folk, and world rhythms, heard best on the 2010 release of Odd Blood, which skyrocketed their reputation, even earning the title of 2010′s most-blogged artist on The Hype Machine. Go here for more information about tonight’s all-ages performance; doors open at 8. Below, watch Yeasayer’s new video for “Longevity” from Fragrant World.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Silencio at World Cafe Live, Aimee Mann and Ted Leo at Union Transfer, Brandi Carlile at the Merriam and Grandchildren at PhilaMOCA

The haunting, surrealist movies by filmmaker David Lynch always have the perfect moody musical accompaniment – and Pittsburgh ensemble Silencio picks up on that big time. The group plays World Cafe Live tonight, performing a selection of musical moments from Erasherhead to Mullholland Drive, from which the group borrowed its name. The giant red curtain at the back up the upstairs stage will probably make more than a few audience members think of Twin Peaks. Tickets to the show are $15 and available here; below, watch Silencio perform Eraserhead‘s “In Heaven.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Neil Halstead at World Cafe Live, Animal Collective at The Mann Center, Nick Waterhouse at Johnny Brenda’s, Polica at Union Transfer, Ben Harper at The Merriam Theater

British singer-songwriter Neil Halstead will be at World Cafe Live tonight.  A founding member of indie-folk group Mojave 3 and shoegazers Slowdive, Halstead has spent the last ten years building a solo career and released his latest record, Palindrome Hunches, in September.   Also playing tonight are Jim Hanft with Samantha Yonack.  Tickets are $15 at the World Cafe Live website; doors open at 6:00 p.m. with music beginning at 7:30 p.m. Watch Neil perform “Tied to You” off of Palindrome Hunches below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Boom Room Studio’s first anniversary party, Zammuto at Johnny Brenda’s, Cheers Elephant and more at Maysie’s Farm Fest, Gotye at The Tower Theatre, Melody Gardot at The Merriam Theatre

Photo by Theresa McCullough | tresmackproductions.tumblr.com

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Fishtown recording studio Boom Room has booked a monster of a show.  Headlined by hip hop group Camp Lo, The W.E. featuring R&B singer Jaguar Wright, psych-jazz trio Grimace Federation and Kuf Knotz, the event will have an outdoor stage, an indoor dance party and an after party.  Complementary food and beverages will be provided by Vitamin Water, Pabst Blue Ribbon and the Local 215 food truck so really, you have no excuse to not dance your feet off.  Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here for the 21+ party, which kicks off at 1:00 p.m.  Below, watch a promo video for Boom Room Studios.

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Amos Lee and The Secret Sisters at Merriam Theater

The good news? Amos Lee is taking a little time away from his busy out-of-town performance schedule to play a show right here in his hometown—and, this time, he’s got The Secret Sisters (whose last area performance was postponed) opening for him. The bad news? The show is sold out. There’s a real surprise! WXPN Welcomes Amos Lee and The Secret Sisters at 8 p.m. at Merriam Theater; tickets to the show are SOLD OUT.

Also playing: Morning Teleportation + Nico’s Gun, Faux Slang at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)