It’s opening night at PhilaFunkLive (PFL), a new all-ages venue in West Philadelphia that will bring stability and consistency to the city’s underground / house-show scene. As PFL’s booking manager Mark Harper knows all too well (he fronts Roof Doctor and is a former resident of North Philly show space Maggot House), it can be hard for bands to get legitimate shows in this city.
“I’d like PFL to be a mainstay for touring and basement bands in a city where DIY spaces are constantly opening and closing,” Harper says. “I want to be able to help touring bands who need a hand as well as put on events that showcase Philly’s underground bands.”
Helping out-of-state and local bands play shows in Philadelphia is something Harper has great experience with – until recently he co-managed the events at the much-loved Maggot House and has booked both high-profile projects (Cold Fronts, Avery Rosewater) and basement favorites (Stinky Smelly, The Hundred Acre Woods). With a mission to “be a proponent of DIY culture,” PFL is ready to take the aesthetic and camaraderie of this underground scene to a new level.
Conveniently located right off of Market St. near the 40th St. El stop, PFL is re-fitting the historic Bell Telephone Exchange Building as a multi-purpose and affordable place to host concerts. The building also includes a recording studio, gallery room, coffee shop and office space and upholds a no-drinking policy, ensuring that fans of all ages can enjoy shows that would otherwise likely be booked at one of the cities many 21+ spots.
To kick-off the summer season, Harper has called in bands that are well-known throughout the basement scene: emo-y garage punks SMOOTHER, Alex G (prolific leader of The Skin Cells) and rowdy math-punks Bleeding Fractals will play alongside Virginia’s Trust Fall. More information for tonight’s inaugural show can be found on the Facebook event page here. The fun continues at 8 N. Preston St. tomorrow night with Chet Williams, Brown Rainbow and I Wish I Could Sing Beautiful Words (information here).