Just when you thought The Shining couldn’t get anymore classically creepy, it does. Tonight at PhilaMOCA as part of the Cinedelphia Film Festival, the 1980 horror classic will be projected forwards and backwards simultaneously on one screen creating an even more chilling experience for the audience. This idea originally comes from John Fell Ryan’s work with Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater and later from a 2012 documentary Room 237. To top things off, Philly goth punks Psychic Teens will perform a live score to accompany the film. Watch their video for “LESS” below and get tickets here.
The third Annual Center City Jazzfest was held on Saturday afternoon, pleasing a sellout crowd with sixteen genre-spanning jazz performances spread out over four locations in Center City Philadelphia. The four venues were Fergie’s Pub, MilkBoy,Chris’ Jazz Cafe and Time – all within a few blocks of each other and three of them on Samson Street.
The festival offered remarkable value at $15 per ticket if you bought them ahead of time, so you were paying less than a dollar per artist. Your ticket purchase earned you a wristband that allowed you access to any of the four venues whenever you wanted. Events were running at each venue simultaneously, so like any festival, you had to pick and choose what you wanted to see and hear. I kept on the move and was able to catch partial sets and photograph ten artists on the bill, and at times I definitely wished I could clone myself and see more than one set at once. It was an afternoon full of memorable performances that reminded both the attendees and musicians of the togetherness and pure joy that music can create.
The opening act of the fest, vocalist Rhenda Fearrington set the tone for the day. She and her four piece backing band gave a spirited and powerful performance that rocked the tiny upstairs at Fergie’s Pub. Another highlight of the sets at Fergie’s were the Jazz guitar stylings of Mike Kennedy, who was backed by a tight three piece keys, upright bass and drum trio. Of all the locations used for Jazzfest, Fergie’s best recreated the intimate, packed clubs that many Jazz greats cut their teeth in. The small upstairs room got more and more full as the day went along, and many fans seemed to set up shop there for the afternoon.
The events held upstairs at Milkboy also got more and more crowded as the afternoon went on. This venue hosted impressive sets by Giovana Robinson and Justin Faulkner. Panama’s Robinson and her group pleased the mid-afternoon crowd with a set featuring her passionate vocals and distinctive style of music – a mix of pop, world music and Jazz elements.
Late in the day Philadelphia native Faulkner’s thunderous drumming led a trio through an hour of groovy, prog-like space jazz to a packed and rapturous audience that included many of the other musicians from other bands on the bill.
Chris’ Jazz Cafe’s dinner theater-like set up and large stage area were a perfect fit for the musicians who played there on Saturday. Early in the day the Cafe hosted a fourteen piece Jazz orchestra of youths from The Kimmel Center Creative Music Program for Jazz. Despite being young they proved to be old souls with a swinging, powerful ensemble performance that showed that Jazz has a bright future in Philly. Later in the day the stage was owned by Joanna Pascale and her band. Pascale delivered an well received set of torch songs and included a meditative and memorable Jazzy take on Carole King’s classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
The Time restaurant hosted some of the best shows of the day in it’s large mirror and clock filled bar area. The bar area featured a lot of open standing room space, natural light and two large sliding windows behind the stage area that were usually open. The open windows allowed passersby and fans who couldn’t fit into the frequently packed venue to hear some of the music outside. Early on, trumpeter Charles Washington led a five piece backing band through an excellent set that evoked the spirit of the early Miles Davis combos.
After them brassy Brooklyner Miss Ida Blue drew one of the largest, most enthusiastic crowds of the day. Her look was eye-catching: she aptly described herself as a “vamping dame” in one of her songs. Miss Blue and her clarinet/trombone/banjo and tuba backing band delivered a raucous set of her innuendo-laced Jazz that had the crowd roaring with laughter and appreciation for her singing and the group’s talent.
Next up was Stacy Dillard who had the crowd smiling, bobbing their heads and exchanging “did you hear that” glances as he blasted out complicated runs of notes on his sax while leading his trio through an impressive and powerful hour of music. Last up at Time was Trio Up, composed of virtuoso performers Rick Tate on Sax, Ronnie Burrage on drums and Nimrod Speaks on bass. They showed their mastery of their instruments and their ability to create beautiful music together during a highlight-filled hour of muscular and complex Jazz that thrilled the packed restaurant.
Electro-pop singer Kate Faust is no longer bound by the chains of inhibitions and freely expresses it in her new video for “Matter of Trust”. Lifted from her latest EP Crucial Companion, the video shows Faust happily going about her day with a new-found sense of self and independence. The electronic overtones drive the melody and color the song’s structure as she sings: “If you gotta believe in someone, know yourself”. Watch it below and see Faust play live tomorrow at Milkboy with special guests Elegant Animals who recently joined us for their Key Studio Session. Get tickets here.
Self-proclaimed “acid gospel power trio” St. James and the Apostles continue their residency (which takes place every Wednesday of this month) at Ortlieb’s tonight. The band plans to release the follow-up to 2012′s Baphomet in September. With religious undertones, the band’s garage rock sound takes the listener to church and back. Listen to “Kiss & Tell” below, hear frontman Jamie Mahon’s appearance on the Going to Hell podcast here and come out to see the band for free.
Saturday XPN welcomed Doylestown’s intrinsic and frolicking Commonwealth Choir to MilkBoy, along with local three piece Big Tusk, with who Commonwealth Choir recently collaborated on a limited edition cassette tape. They only made 50 tapes and sold them all out by the end of the evening; maybe we’ll get lucky and the new “Big Choir” will release more music together.
The evening started out with Brooklynites Vintage Villain making their Philly debut. The crowd responded well, grooving their keyboard sounds and deep vocals reminiscent of Phantogram and Deerhunter.
Next up was new Big Tusk, who performed songs off their most recent EP, Flood. They brought the energy forward with trickling pop guitar riffs, banging drums, and zinging keyboards. Drummer, Howe Pearson got so jazzed up and that he ripped his shirt off and began swinging it around, sort of a nod to Commonwealth Choir, who last year released an EP called Shirtless. For their final song, Big Tusk brought up a bassist and a second percussionist who played the washboard, a tin can, and a tambourine.
South Jersey natives Pine Barons hit the stage next, and they brought out an extremely excited and enthusiastic crowd of folks who were amped up from seeing their debut music video, “Don’t Believe What They Told You,” earlier in the day. The band played a selection of tracks from their self-titled EP, released last March; they’re currently recording a follow-up with Kyle Pulley at Headroom Studios in Fishtown.
Last but certainly not least, Commonwealth Choir took to the stage feeding off the crowd’s good spirit and eagerness, jumping right into jangling bells and rockin’ rhythms singing cuts from Shirtless. Frontman Davis Howley howled the melodies of tunes like “Rest” and “Movie Song,” jangling out sweet grooves on his guitar and bringing up buds from Big Tusk up during “Palace,” riling up an already feverish audience.
Philly folk outfit The Hundred Acre Woods recently joined us for their stellar Key Studio Session and tonight they play at Kung Fu Necktie. A folksy take on pop-rock, their sound is lively and fresh as heard on their latest 7″ Cold In The Morning. Check out a video of the band performing “All I Love” at their session and get $5 tickets tonight at the door before the show kicks off at 8:00 p.m.
Milkboy welcomes Commonwealth Choir to its stage tonight. The Doylestown natives released their Shirtless EP with a rock-based pop sound reminiscent of The Smiths and The Replacements. Watch a performance of “Pacers” below from their recent Key Studio Session and get tickets here.
Fresh off the release of her new album July which Stereogum calls “an ethereal spine-tingler”, Marissa Nadler brings her folksy dream pop to Johnny Brenda’s stage tonight. With underlying gothic themes, Nadler’s music is haunting and pretty all at once. Watch the video for “Dead City Emily” below and get tickets here.
Having released three energetic cuts from their upcoming debut album, The Sixties are stirring up lots of buzz around the release and tonight it peaks with their show at Milkboy. Listing Queens of the Stone Age and The Whigs among their influences, the Lansdale four-piece deliver modern alt-rock with elements of classic rock n’roll. Listen to “Warning Label” below and get tickets to the 21+ show here.
John the Conqueror celebrate the release of The Good Life at Milkboy tonight. Formed in 2010 by Mississippi natives Pierre Moore and Mike Gardner with Philadelphian Ryan Lynn, the trio has spent its short career creating a sound that keeps the true blues of the south alive. Working in affinities for punk and vivid narratives, John the Conqueror’s new record is a study in traditional music storytelling with an energy that is hard to match. Tickets and information for the hometown record release show with Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore and Thee, Idea Men can be found here. Stream and download “Waking Up to You” from The Good Life below.
Toronto-based rock four-piece July Talk makes it’s Philly debut tonight at MilkBoy. Channeling the gravel-voiced aggression of Tom Waits and the haunting tones of Denali, front-duo Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay lead a dynamic band that is equal parts raw and mystical. Watch a World Cafe performance of “Don’t Call Home” below. Get tickets and and info on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Reunited Philly new wave-era rockers The A’s cross over county lines tonight to play a show tonight at Ardmore Music Hall. The five-piece force behind pop hits “A Woman’s Got The Power” and “After Last Night” staged a successful comeback last January at Underground Arts, where they reportedly played almost every single song in their catalog in a show they billed “Last Dance.” After a extremely positive fan response, The A’s decided to make the Last Dance a regular thing. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch a video from the Underground Arts show below.