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Pushing Boundaries: Walla Fest breaks out of the suburbs with focus on art of all shapes and sizes

Walla Fest
Clique, one of the bands performing at this year’s Walla Fest | photo by Sabrina Jacot

“We actually never really call it a ‘festival.’ It’s in the name, but I think the word ‘fest’ is more about the vibe of many things happening at once over a longer period of time.”

That statement from co-founder Keba Robinson pinpoints the underlying motivation of annual music, art and film event Walla Fest.

“We prefer calling it something along the lines of a ‘gathering.’ It’s a gathering of people but also a gathering of art and experiences.”

Now in its third year, Walla Fest is breaking away from its suburban roots in Norristown to take up residence at PhilaMOCA on August 8th and 9th. And with that venue’s alternative approach to showcasing art, this seems like a match made in heaven.

Continue reading →

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PhilaMOCA to co-present the entertainment stage at 6/18 Night Market

Night Market | via http://thefoodtrust.org/night-market
Night Market | via thefoodtrust.org/night-market

Night Market, Philadelphia’s favorite street food festival, returns this year in the Callowhill district of Philadelphia (aka The Eraserhood) on June 18. The festival celebrates the city’s restaurants, gourmet food trucks, and coolest neighborhoods. There will be street eats abound, plenty of art galleries, and what we care most about at The Key – live music!

This year, beloved art space / venue PhilaMOCA - recently named one of the “21 ways Philadelphia is the coolest city in America” by the Huffington Post – will be co-presenting the musical acts performing at Night Market. Continue reading →

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Spraynard release new single “Applebee’s Bar” off upcoming album Mable, gear up for summer tour

Spraynard | via spraynardband.tumblr.com
Spraynard | via spraynardband.tumblr.com

After a brief three-or-so year hiatus, West Chester pop-punk/emo act Spraynard is firing on all cylinders once more.

Drummer Patrick “Dos” Ware’s stint with NONA, as well as guitarist/vocalist Pat Graham’s projects Adult Braces and Martin, have come to an end for the foreseeable future. That means all three members are back full time, and they’re releasing their third album Mable on July 10 via Jade Tree. The album is now up for pre-order.

One thing Spraynard has perfected is never taking life too seriously. Not even their hiatus could change this attitude, as the new single proves. Continue reading →

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Awesome summer shows continue to pile up with The Front Bottoms and LVL UP playing PhilaMOCA

The Front Bottoms | Photo by John Vettese
The Front Bottoms | Photo by John Vettese

The summer concert calendar keeps getting better. Most recently, Philly has added The Front Bottoms to the agenda on a show featuring special guests LVL UP. The two quirky punk rock crews will play PhilaMOCA this summer on June 5th and we’re pumped. Find more information on the show by heading over to their Facebook event page and be sure to check out some of their music below. Continue reading →

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Mitski is returning to Philly in July to play PhilaMOCA with Elvis Depressedly

Mitski |via facebook.com/MitskiLeaks
Mitski | via facebook.com/MitskiLeaks

Displaying serious songwriting talent, Brooklyn-based Mitski released the critically-acclaimed Bury Me at Makeout Creek last November.

The lyrics proved as intricate and hard-hitting as the sound, with Mitski crooning, “And did you know the liberty bell is a replica/Silently housed in its original walls / And while its dreams played music in the night / Quietly / It was told to believe,” on the haunting closing track, “Last Words of a Shooting Star.” Continue reading →

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Breaking Down the Boys’ Club: Why PhilaMOCA’s She Shreds showcase is so necessary

Marisa Dabice of Mannequin Pussy performs at Hazzard Hall | Photo by John Vettese
Marisa Dabice of Mannequin Pussy performs at Hazzard Hall | Photo by John Vettese

There’s a musical revolution going on in Philadelphia, hidden away in the corners of makeshift venues peppered throughout the city. It’s a revolution unbeknownst to many but a revolution that is, to borrow a phrase, hidden in plain sight. It’s a revolution against your parents’ rock music, a revolution against the historically prevailing notion of rock and roll as a boys club, a revolution against the idea that rock and roll should look and behave a certain way.

On April 4 at PhilaMOCA, this revolution will be on stage in full force, as Portland, Oregon’s She Shreds magazine hosts a celebration of musical women in Philadelphia. On the bill are rock stalwarts Swearin’ and Amanda X, punk heavies Mannequin Pussy, and power poppers Anomie (a solo project of Field Mouse’s Rachel Browne), along with DJ sounds by DJ SAD 13 (Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz).  [Girls Rock Philly band Jane Doe was scheduled but unfortunately had to drop out.]

It’s an event that will highlight a Philadelphia scene that excels in its acceptance, support, and diversity, one that can be held up as a model for the musical landscape at large. Continue reading →

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Five Years of Philly DIY: A musician’s perspective

Party Photographers at The Ox in 2010 | Photo by John Vettese
Party Photographers at The Ox in 2010 | Photo by John Vettese

In the wake of West Philly’s celebrated Golden Tea House closing its doors this winter, I’m torn between nostalgia and the hope that it’s not some trend of unconventional, all-ages venues throwing in the towel. In my heart of hearts I know that every time a DIY venue shuts down a demon gets it’s bat-wings or something, and there will be five more to take its place in a year or so. I hope so, anyway.

An intense show at the dearly departed Terrordome | photo via myspace.com/terrordomepa

This article will reminisce about the show houses that, in my opinion as a lowly musician, have dominated the Philly DIY “scene” the past four or five years. May this also be a rallying call to any person out there thinking about doing something similar: do it!

Get a PA, book a few bands to play in your kitchen or basement, make a rad flyer, invite everyone you know. You’ll be so happy you did, and if you just keep at it, this city will support you and you can eventually become as awesome (or more so) than the places in this article. GO! Continue reading →