Tonight’s Concert Picks: Phosphorescent at Union Transfer, Swear and Shake at World Cafe Live, and Smoother at PhilaMOCA

by Eric Ashleigh
Photo by Eric Ashleigh

Phosphorescent (aka singer-songwriter Matthew Houck) will play Union Transfer tonight. The indie-rock singer-songwriter released his sixth album Muchacho via Dead Oceans last year which, as he told Pitchfork, was inspired by his experiences on tour. Paste Magazine named the record its #1 Album of 2013. Watch the video for “Ride On / Right On” below and get tickets here.

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The accidental success of Kat Kat Phest, and how founder Daniel Anderson is building on it this year

The Hundred Acre Woods | photo by Ally Newbold Photography
The Hundred Acre Woods will play opening night of Kat Kat Fest on Saturday | photo by Ally Newbold Photography

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 →


Orlando emo four-piece You Blew It! brings Keep Doing What You’re Doing to The Fire 2/9

You Blew It! | via Facebook

Orlando, Florida emo / punk group You Blew It! recently announced their second full length album Keep Doing What You’re Doing will be released January 14th via Topshelf Records. In recent weeks, the band released two songs off the upcoming album, “Award of the Year Award,” and “House Address,” both which you can stream below. Each song is seemingly more mature than what we heard on their debut album Grow Up, Dude, and “House Address” particularly has awesome guitar riffs and truly heartfelt vocals. In addition to the improved song writing quality, the band had the help of producer Evan Weiss (Into it. Over it.) in the making of the record.

You Blew It! joins The Front Bottoms on a full US tour, which stops in Bethlehem at the Blast Furnace Room on 1/31. After that tour, You Blew It! is staying on the road and plays The Fire on 2/9. Pre order Keep Doing What You’re Doing hereGet tickets to the You Blew It! show in Bethlehem with The Front Bottoms here, and get tickets to stacked show at The Fire with Prawn, Marietta, and Smoother here.


PhilaFunkLive brings basement shows above-ground in a new all-ages venue (grand opening tonight with Alex G, Bleeding Fractals and more)

Photo by Teresa Salinas
Bleeding Fractals  |  Photo by Teresa Salinas

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).


Modern Baseball celebrate with friends Marietta and Smoother at The Fire

Photo by Allison Newbold for; view a full photo gallery here

Recent Run For Cover Records signees Modern Baseball celebrated their label-ship with a heck of a party and a red-hot bill on Feb. 17th featuring Smoother, Cayetana, Marietta and Cool Points. They closed out the show with their usual romping, triumphant sing-along, except this time they had something to celebrate. It was an appropriate occasion to see this band tearing up a venue like The Fire in the wake of their buzz-crazy record deal, rather than the usual dusty basement.

What made this show great was that there were no loose ends; every band was at the top of their game. Cool Points kicked things off with a killer set, and Cayetana held it down as Philly’s latest girl-rockers. Smoother’s set was also a lot of fun, and definitely got people warmed up for Modern Baseball’s set. The highlight of the night, however, was the second act, Marietta. I’m quite sure they did not mean to over-shadow their headliner pals, but for me, it was a stellar offering. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tri State Indie Awards at World Cafe Live, Modern Baseball at The Fire, Live WXPN broadcast of Mumford & Sons show at Susquehannah Bank Center

It’s a big night for local music – Tri State Indie will hold their second annual awards show at World Cafe Live, hosted by Toy Soldiers‘ Ron Gallo.  With performances by New Sweden (last year’s Delaware Indie Band of the Year), Cold Fronts and more, the event includes a red carpet walk with professional photographers and gift bag for all attendees.  Check out a list of all the nominees here.  Tickets and information can be found here.  Below,  watch Band of the Year hopefuls Toy Soldiers perform “Tell the Teller” / “Forget How it Used to Be” at World Cafe Live.

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