Philly Music 101 is our regular series guiding you through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving participants, from artists to venues to studios and more.
Life as an independent artist in Philadelphia can be rough, especially when it comes to booking shows. When you approach a venue, what exactly are they looking for? Will your music appeal to them or turn them off? Where does social media presence lie on the spectrum? What will get your band a coveted spot on their calendar? Where is the damn instruction manual for booking a show?
We hear it from Philly artists all the time – they want to play out more often, but they haven’t had any luck getting promoters’ attention. Well, The Key is here for you! In an effort to provide some transparency in the live music world, we decided to hit up talent buyers for a handful of venues throughout Philadelphia to get an idea of what they expect, why they expect it, what will wow them and some general pointers on how to book a show. Continue reading →
As the room responsible for launching the Philly career of any number of musicians – Arcade Fire, Mates of State, Sufjan Stevens, Aesop Rock, The Menzingers, and so on – as well as the career of R5 Productions itself – it’s a space they’ve booked since 1996 – there’s a lingering sadness with today’s email announcement that the promoters are pulling out (for the most part) of booking basement shows at center city’s First Unitarian Church.
The run of concerts through late December – including King Tuff on October 7th, Dads on October 23rd and Restorations’ album release party on November 15th – will be their last hurrah in this room, though they will continue to present unique intimate performances in the Sanctuary and Side Chapel. In addition, the basement may be used here and there for weekend shows only. Continue reading →
Morgan’s Pier has started to roll out its summer lineup of live music, including the first free shows presented by R5 Productions on Wednesday nights throughout the summer. Live shows under the stars at the Pier have become a summer highlight in Philly, and from DJ sets to punk bands, there’s something for everyone.
As far as the free shows go (with an RSVP), R5 has already booked post punk band Merchandise (6/26) and psychedelic rockers Temples (8/6), with more bands expected to be added to the lineup later in the spring.
The Morgan’s Pier live music season commences Thursday, May 1 with a free show featuring Greg D. of Risky Disko, followed by Broadzilla on Friday, May 2 and DJs Dave P. and Sammy Slice on May 3. See the full lineup of DJs and bands, as well as tickets and info for all of the shows here. Watch videos of bands playing free shows below.
R5 Productions‘ bi-annual Punk Rock Flea Market will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this Saturday and Sunday, with over 500 vendors selling new and old records, vintage clothes, art, music, junk, stereo equipment, automobiles, skateboards, and anything else you can think of that falls into the world of punk or hipster. Some of the strangest/best finds could include Nintendo or Genesis games, Amish Christmas attire, jewelry, or that one record you could never get your hands on. There will also be food trucks and vendors selling vegan baked goods and other non-traditional food stuffs.
In addition to the merchants, R5 Productions will be selling passes for any ten R5 shows of your choosing in 2014 and $3 off tickets to any one show. Definitely check out the Punk Rock Flea Market this weekend, whether its for fun or to do some Holiday shopping.
The flea market has a $3 cover charge which is good for both days. Normally all proceeds go to R5 Productions’ operating costs and helping keep their shows all ages; definitely a good cause, seeing as R5 has been putting on all ages shows for years. However, this year R5 decided to donate the majority of the proceeds to Skateistan, a non profit organization that uses skateboarding as a means to help educate young people, particularly young girls, in Afghanistan and Cambodia. Watch the video below to see how Skateistan is connecting education and skateboarding.
Some advice for visiting the Punk Rock Flea Market: bring cash, a bag for all the awesome stuff you’ll buy, and your punk rock self. Get more information on the event on the Facebook page.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Punk Rock Flea Market Dome (the old Fed Ex Building) at 461 N. 9th Street.
For nearly 20 years now, Boot & Saddle—the abandoned country-western bar on Broad Street at Ellsworth—has remained vacant, its iconic boot sign the sole reminder of a once vibrant past. This Monday, however, all that will change. The venue will reopen, thanks to nightlife guru Avram Hornik (Four Corners Management), who together with FCM’s Mark Fichera, R5 Productions’ Sean Agnew, and The Bowery Presents, will transform the shuttered eyesore into a thriving concert venue, complete with a 60-seat bar and 150-person capacity performance space.
New places to catch shows are always exciting—yet in the case of B&S, what’s even more exciting is continuing the space’s long musical history, which will pick up after a 17-year hiatus. In celebration of Boot & Saddle’s new chapter, we hunted down patrons and employees of the old Boot—to talk line-dancing, brews, and their favorite memories from back in the day.
“My memories of The Boot (as many people called it) are a bit fuzzy,” says Robert Drake, WXPN DJ and longtime supporter of the local scene. “I would make it a stop every New Year’s Day as part of my stroll up Broad Street during the Mummers Parade—it was PACKED but friendly, with lots of regulars.”
“My first time there was 1980—and I would go every New Year’s Day until the bar closed up,” he continues. “I remember the only draft beer they had was ‘Miller Draft—in bottles’ … which is exactly what the bartender would say to anyone who dared ask.”
The bar was owned by Pete DelBorrello, a Navy man and well-respected South Phladelphian, who also owned several other businesses on the block, including a check cashing spot and a Laundromat. “Pete and his family were really good people—respected by the neighborhood,” says Drake. “I remember there being TONS of Navy memorabilia throughout the bar—which led to the bar being a spot for sailors who docked in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.”
Military personnel were regularly on hand at The Boot, yet there was also a contingent of locals, who came for the cheap drinks and vibes. Frank Blank Moriarty, of famed punk band Informed Sources, remembers a younger group gracing the Boot as well:
“What would strike you was the diversity of the crowd,” he says. “One segment of the younger element was people into bands like The Blasters, Jason and the Scorchers, X, Lone Justice, and other roots- and country influenced music being produced at the time. The other segment consisted of homesick young members of the military. Surprisingly, I don’t ever recall there being a fight—I remember more of a ‘live and let live’ vibe,” he says. Continue reading →
It’s a first for R5 Productions and a last for Jeff Mangum: the Neutral Milk Hotel musician will be making a stop during his final tour at The DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, DE on Tuesday, February 5th. It’s R5 Productions’ first show across the Delaware-Pennsylvania border. Mangum, the leader of perhaps indie music’s most esteemed band, will be performing an acoustic show. He had this to say about the tour:
hello friends in a flock of finches unfolding from the face of a foam horse on the phone to inform you that jeff is heading out for one last u.s. acoustic tour, giving him the chance to play to all the silver citizens dwelling in citys that he has yet to sing in.
Tickets are $30 and will go on sale this Thursday, November 15th. Below, watch a live video of Mangum performing “Oh Comely” at Penn’s Irvine Auditorium from this past January.
R5 Productions have called in local artists to contribute to a new poster series for their events. The Philadelphia Posters Guild will feature at least one new poster each month created by an artist for selected concerts.
The list of currently confirmed artist/concert match-ups includes Thom Lessner for The Dead Milkmen show on Halloween at Union Transfer; Ralph Stollenwerk for Sword’s show at Union Transfer on November 13th; Bonnie Brenda Scott for Dan Deacon’s show at Union Transfer on November 15th; Neil Burke for Om/Dan Higgs at Johnny Brenda’s on November 23rd; and JP Flexner for The Hold Steady’s show at Union Transfer on December 29th, with more to be announced.
From the Guild’s website:
Philadelphia Poster Guild project is an effort to merge local artists, musicians, & venues to create quality, affordable art for the masses. With a little luck, one or more posters will be released each month. These posters will be available at selected R5 shows for a fair price. They will also be available online for a reasonable price as well, shipped in a sturdy tube. Proceeds from this project will benefit local artists, musicians, and a few select non-profits. Support your local artists…they will reciprocate. More details to follow.
Images of the posters will posted on the Guild’s website, and you check out a full list of involved artists here.
Experimental Los Angeles singer/songwriter Julia Holter released her sophomore album Ekstatis earlier this year after her stunning debut Tragedy came out in 2011. Her contemporary music plays with vocal harmonies and eclectic instrumental sounds; similar to artists such as Regina Spektor or Elizabeth Ziman. Julia toured with Sigur Ros this past year, and is finishing off her North American Tour with a stop at Johnny Brenda’s tonight presented by R5 Productions. The 21+ show begins at 9:30 p.m. with Hundred Waters opening up the evening. Tickets are $12 and you can purchase them here. Below watch her video for “In the Same Room” off Ekstasis.
The Interest Group draws musical and aesthetic inspiration from 1960′s pop culture. Founded by Yohsuke Araki who was previously in the band Blackhawks (and still continues in the project Banana Symphony), The Interest Group exudes mellow energy and psychedelic vibes. They perform tonight at Little Berlin for the Dream Oven Music Series; there is a $5-7 requested donation for touring bands. The show kicks off at 7:30, go to the facebook event for more information. You can also listen to The Interest Group’s awesomely crafted song “The Passenger” below.
Even though the summer will soon come to an end, don’t feel down – R5 Productions just announced five brand new shows for this upcoming fall season. And let me tell you, folks, they’re going to be chock full of cozy musical performances.
First up will be OFF! on October 19th at First Unitarian Church. The super troupe of punk rockers is made up of members of Black Flag, Burning Brides and Hot Snakes. Opening bands include The Spits and Double Negative. Gear up your vocal chords and get stoked for one raging performance.
This Saturday’s edition of the R5 Productions free summer concert series at Morgan’s Pier brings indie-dance rockers Nicos Gun to the Delaware waterfront. The Philadelphia quartet released its debut album Plushlast year and have since been featured at the Roots Picnic, played 4th of July on the Parkway, toured and released even more new music. Their new song “Universal Drug” showcases a mellower side to the band; watch its official music video below:
An early version of the song was recorded for the Key Studio Sessions when the band visited WXPN studios last year; check that out below:
When they’re not spacing out, the funky punk foursome brings a wave of energy to their audience, inviting the crowd to feel engaged in their music. Nicos Gun play at 6 p.m. at Morgan’s Pier this Saturday, August 11th. This show is 21+ and awesomely enough, free!