Think of last year’s first Kat Kat Phest as an accident that went almost as smoothly as the organizers could have asked for.
“There were seven or eight different bands that hit one of us up saying, ‘Hey, I need a show,’ in a four-day period, “ says the Philly-based indie label founder Daniel Anderson about what happened around this time last year. “By the end of it, all four days had a show, and we were just like, ‘Whatever, let’s just make it a four-day thing with some after shows.’”
Anderson started Kat Kat Records in order to help out friends’ bands and put out their records, so requests for help booking shows in the area were not uncommon. That’s why his friend Ruben Polo (also his band-mate in the local four-piece Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe) started helping out with promoting events, which he also does for a living.
For a last-minute festival with mostly touring bands on the bill, the two organizers couldn’t have imagined it would go so well, even selling out the show on the final day.
“[Our band] left for an eight-week tour after that, and off and on, we were just talking about, ‘Who should we get next year? We should do this for real,’” Anderson says. “Last year’s was kind of an accident. This year is a test to see if we can make it go as well when we’ve actually meant to do it.”
So this weekend, DIY musicians and local music supporters will once again gather for Phest 2, which will span five days, feature eight all-ages shows and boast about 50 bands. The all-festival passes, a bargain at $22, were sold out by December 20. Saturday night’s show with local heroes Smoother and Marietta, as well as New York-based Lemuria headlining, was moved to the North Star Bar after selling out at The Fire. But tickets are still available for all eight shows, a la carte style, at the show’s Facebook event page, and they range from $3 to $10…so it’s still a lot of bang for your buck.
Several bands associated with Kat Kat Records will also play this year’s Phest, including By Surprise, Hightide Hotel and Tyler Daniel Bean. But Anderson and Polo don’t make it a priority to put their own bands on the bill.
“If bands deserve to play cool shows and work really hard and are good people, then they play what they should play,” Anderson says. Continue reading →
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have announced a special New Year’s Eve show at the North Star Bar. The local rock outfit released a new EP this year called Little Moments, following up 2011′s Hysterical LP. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with special guests can be found here. Watch the band play “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” below.
Folk singer Vikesh Kapoor has released a video for “Bottom of the Ladder” in support of his recent debut LP The Ballad of Willy Robbins. As a sort of overture to the record, “Bottom of the Ladder” introduces us to a narrator who is weary of the obstacles of life but, at the same time, determined to overcome them. The shadowy black and white video shows Kapoor climbing an endless ladder, edited in a surreal, fever dream style that contrasts the song’s realist narrative. Tickets and information for Vikesh Kapoor’s December 5th show at North Star Bar and January 31st show at World Cafe Live can be found here.
Glasgow-based pop-rock trio Paws will play The Barbary tonight on their third US tour this year. The trek comes amidst the band’s recording of their follow-up to last year’s Cokefloat!; its lo-fi sound is enhanced by their catchy melodies and introspective lyrics. Watch “Sore Tummy” below and get tickets here.
U.K. singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn has announced a North American solo tour scheduled for January of next year, bringing him to the North Star Bar on the 18th. Flynn released his third LP Country Mile in late September. The record followed up the critically acclaimed 2010 full-length Been Listening, which World Cafe’s David Dye discussed with the musician and actor during a session that year. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, November 8th and will be available here. Below, watch Flynn perform “The Lady is Risen” off of the new record at Rough Trade in London during Record Store Day last year.
XPN welcomes The Dismemberment Plan to Union Transfer tonight. The D.C. indie rock band’s latest record Uncanney Valley dropped in October, ending a twelve year recording break that allowed band members to explore other interests. The broadened horizons are audible on the record, which stretches it’s influences from Jackson Browne to R&B. Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Yellow Ostrich can be found here. Below, watch The Dismemberment Plan perform “The City” live in D.C.
XPN welcomes Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside to the North Star Bar. Ford and her band of retro rockers have been in town a few times lately, performing a late night set at May’s Non-COMMvention and making a stop at Milkboy in July. During her last stay in Philly, Ford recorded a video of “Roll Around” with Out of Town Films on Quince Street. Watch the video below. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Mount Moriah and Pine Barons can be found here.
Big Freedia at Underground Arts (8:00 p.m., 21+, $14)
Tom Rush at World Cafe Live (6:00 p.m., all ages, $30)
Alt-rock super-group The Company We Keep is streaming their new album Sound/No Sound exclusively here on Property of Zack. The band includes songwriter Justin Pierre (Motion City Soundtrack), Brian Southall (The Receiving End of Sirens) on strings, drummer Branden Morgan (Misery Signals), and vocalist Haden Brightwell. A hybrid of Evanescence and early Paramore, their sound is carried by Brightwell’s dominant vocals. The band’s tour kicks off in Michigan in a few weeks before landing in Philly on November 20th at North Star Bar. Get tickets here and watch them perform an acoustic version of “Right/Wrong” below.
Season 7 American Idol champion David Cook will rock World Cafe Live tonight. Cook plans to release a new EP early next year as a follow up to 2011′s This Loud Morning. In an interview with Billboard, he says the eclectic sound of his new material was inspired by his recent move to Nashville and says: “I’m tuning in a bit more to telling a story…I really want every song to have its own identity”. This feat shouldn’t be hard to accomplish for Cook who is known for his gritty, passionate vocal delivery. Watch the official lyric video for his latest single “Laying Me Low” below and get tickets to the show here.