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Despite the thin turnout, an energized Atoms for Peace kicked off a U.S. tour at Liacouras Center

atoms17Thom Yorke, Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco waltzed into Temple University’s Liacouras Center last night to begin the North American Atoms for Peace tour. It was no ordinary night for rock: you had members of the three “R’s” – Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R.E.M. – joining forces. It was also not ordinary since Philadelphia failed to show these music luminaries the respect they deserved.

The venue was far from capacity – and only half of the University’s basketball arena was used in the first place – with the general admission floor not sold out and the top sections being a semi-barren wasteland. And the clientele who did come did not seem to understand an encore break – scores left after the first encore when it should have been quite obvious Yorke and company were about to return and lay down some more serious alternative beats. Despite the negatives, Atoms for Peace played a solid and impressive set, drawing on their album, Yorke’s solo album The Eraser, and a few other choice cuts, like Radiohead’s “Paperbag Writer” and UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights.”

Yorke and Flea bounced about the stage with their childlike abandon aided by the one-two percussive punch of Waronker and Refosco and the keys and strings of Godrich. And with it being a Yorke-led band, the lighting was bound to amaze with its rich reds, blues, and greens bathing the electronica and rock amalgam with a touch of otherworldliness. And as the show came to a close with a stunning combo of “Atoms for Peace” and “Black Swan,” during which Flea brandished a Temple basketball jersey to cover his skirt/kilt apparel from earlier, the power of the message implied in the band’s title comes into clear focus: amongst the turmoil and din of the everyday, one will find a unifying beat of peace. The future cities to be visited will hopefully be more open and understanding for this experience than our own Philadelphia.

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Firefly Festival Day One Roundup: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avett Brothers, Public Enemy and more

Red Hot Chili Peppers | Photo by John Vettese
Red Hot Chili Peppers | Photo by John Vettese

Given the sheer volume of East Coast music fans descending upon Dover International Speedway for the Firefly Festival yesterday, it seems from chatting with other concertgoers that our experience was about par for the course. A few hours stuck in traffic along Route 1 and the DuPont Highway while the strains of Dr. Dog and Ellie Goulding piped up from the festival grounds, followed by an ultimate arrival and immediate ushering into an engrossing musical environment.

North Carolinian Brooklynites The Avett Brothers had just kicked off a stellar set at the Main Stage. This is their first local-ish appearance since The Carpenter came out last summer, and it was great to hear so much of the new album live. A set highlight was easily Chad Smith of Friday headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers joining the band on drums for “Paul Newman Vs. the Demons” (watch a video here), but it all sounded great, from “Live and Die” to “Gimmieakiss.” So excited for their Mann Center show in September.

Over at the Backyard Stage, Public Enemy delivered a raging performance of most of their 25-year-old landmark album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back. Frontman Chuck D and hype man Flava Flav were ever charismatic, stopping the set at one point for Flav to hop behind the drumkit and play while Chuck tore up a harmonica solo. A hike across the festival grounds to the Lawn Stage and EDM kingpin Calvin Harris had a jam packed crowd swaying and dancing. Or not even dancing, so much – there wasn’t much room to move – but more of a mass of people bobbing up and down in bass-dropping musical ecstacy.

Classic Alternative headliners the Chili Peppers wrapped up the night with an impressive performance drawing mostly from the more recent end of the catalog. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who joined the group before 2011′s I’m With You, is a tremendous addition to the band, since his energy matches and compliments legendary bassist Flea’s own spastic antics. It’s like having two Fleas onstage – which is great – and singer Anthony Kiedes (who TMZ addicts will note was reportedly fresh off a rumble with security in Philly) sounded energized for most of the set, or at least until his voice started to go right around “Under the Bridge.” Still, the crowd singalong vibes were amazing on that and on “Otherside”; their iconic cover of “Higher Ground” was a rager; and an extended encore jam of “Sir Psycho Sexy” was delightfully tripped out. Check out photos after the jump, and look for more tomorrow. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: XPN Welcomes Firefly Festival to Dover International Speedway, featuring Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Lumineers, MGMT, Kendrick Lamar and more

Photo by Clara Balzary
XPN welcomes the return of Firefly Festival to The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway on June 21st-23rd.  The line-up is huge this year, with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and Foster the People headlining the multi-day festival and over sixty of the biggest established and rising acts in the country filling out the bill.  Firefly’s diverse bill includes Vampire Weekend, rapper Kendrick Lamar, Public Enemy, Philly’s Dr. Dog, The Walkmen and the Spinto Band, Ellie Goulding, The Avett Brothers, Passion Pit, Calvin Harris, Grizzly Bear, Toro Y Moi, ZZ Ward, Matt and Kim, Dispatch, and new favorites HAIM, Wild Belle and Foxygen. Check out videos of some of the bands we’re most excited to see this summer and go here to view the full line-up.  Tickets go on sale this Thursday, February 21st at noon; more information will be available here.

The Lumineers

Kendrick Lamar

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Listen to Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, R.E.M., Fleet Foxes, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more on a new charity album for climate change awareness


Artists Project Earth (APE) is an international organization that, according to their website, “has funded over 300 projects and awareness-raising initiatives around the world that combat climate change and develop local resilience and solutions to climate injustice – and gives emergency funding for natural disaster relief.” Some of APE’s projects have been collaborations with musicians resulting in three fundraising albums to date including Rhythms Del Mundo Cuba, Rhythms Del Mundo Classics and Rhythms Del Mundo Revival. Next Tuesday Rhythms Del Mundo Africa is being released. It includes contributions from Coldplay, R.E.M., Fleet Foxes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mumford & Sons, Aloe Blacc, Beyonce, Eminem, and others, along with African musicians including Toumani Diabaté, Ali Farka Touré Band and Rokia Traoré. Listen to the album below. Go here for more information.