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XPNFest Recap: Guitar jams and artistry from St. Vincent and My Morning Jacket at SBC

St. Vincent & My Morning Jacket | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
St. Vincent & My Morning Jacket | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

At first glance, last night’s headlining XPNFest pairing was an unusual one. Theatrical, otherworldly indie rock diety St. Vincent played first, followed by a set from jam-intensive roots / Americana faves My Morning Jacket - how was this going to work?

As it turned out, it worked out phenomenally, and the artists has more in common than meets the eye. Both boast some of the best living guitarists in rock – Annie Clark, the woman behind St. Vincent, as well as Jim James and Carl Broemel, the dueling duo at the front of MMJ. Both have a strong artistic sensibility to what they do – St. Vincent’s cerebral pop songs and clever choreography, MMJ’s expressive and expansive jams. And both have songs that totally slay in concert – St. Vincent’s “Actor Out of Work” and “Digital Witness,” MMJ’s “Lay Low” and “One Big Holiday,” just to name a handful. Continue reading →

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Foo Fighters rocked SBC harder on crutches than most bands on their own two feet

Foo Fighters | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com
Foo Fighters | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

The show must go on… For Dave Grohl that means wheeling out on stage in a giant throne of beheaded guitars and flashing lights. He is pretty spry for a guy with a cast on his leg and limited mobility. He’s spry for a guy that’s in his mid-40s and has been doing this for close to 30 years. Foo Fighters have been doing it for 20 already. While I wouldn’t peg them as revolutionaries of rock n’ roll, their cross-generational appeal does put them on a pedestal with legends like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and The Who. They live the rock n roll lifestyle like it’s 2015, however. They’re not burning down hotel rooms or being found in some alley after a three-day binge. In fact, outside of in-your-face enthusiasm, Dave and Taylor Hawkins – who seemingly appears the most alongside Grohl in interviews – seem like a pretty chill group of friends. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Foo Fighters at Susquehanna Bank Center, Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Union Transfer

Foo Fighters | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo | http://www.joedeltufo.com/
Foo Fighters | Firefly | Photo by Joe del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

So Dave Grohl’s cast is reportedly off, but its unclear whether tonight’s Foo Fighters headlining show at Susquehanna Bank Center – their second Philly-area gig of the summer – will be played via throne or or in traditional standing stance. Either way it’s cool, since the previous Camden show reportedly ruled. Below, check out two fan videos of the July 6th SBC show: an acoustic rendition of “My Hero” matched with a driving electric take on “Pretender.” Need more convincing? Here’s a then-and-now comparison of Foo Fighters Philly-area concerts. Tickets and more information on tonight’s encore gig can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Watch vintage footage of Foo Fighters rocking the Electric Factory in 1997

Dave Grohl in simpler times, onstage at the Electric Factory in 1997 | via Pilgrim's Progress
Dave Grohl in simpler times, onstage at the Electric Factory in 1997 | via YouTube

There was a time, many moons ago, when Dave Grohl wasn’t the in-yer-face rocker dude taking the stage at arenas around the globe with a guitar and a broken leg on a somewhat ridiculous throne. When his Sonic Highways HBO series didn’t have devotees trying to convince us that the was the lone savior of a vanishing generation of rock n’ roll (a point up for discussion among the music intelligentsia).

There was a time when Grohl was a goofy, humble former drummer of a colossally successful 90s rock band who was starting over in a solo project and hoping that some fans would be along for the ride. 18 years ago this weekend, Foo Fighters came through Philadelphia on tour in support of their sophomore album The Colour and the Shape. It was a hot July night; Supergrass opened the show. Some people came just for them, left early and are probably kicking themselves today. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Foo Fighters at Susquehanna Bank Center, Modern Baseball at Chameleon Club

foo fighters
Foo Fighters | photo via Facebook

After a massive 4th of July show in D.C. over the weekend, Foo Fighters bring their tour to Susquehanna Bank Center tonight. The fate of the national tour was in question a few weeks ago after lead singer Dave Grohl fell off of a stage in Sweden and broke his leg, but he’s back together and ready to rock out the band’s extensive catalog. Check out the video for “Best of You” below and pick up tickets to the outdoor show here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pattern is Movement at Spruce Street Harbor, Drake at Susquehanna Bank Center, Family Vacation at RUBA

Pattern Is Movement
Pattern Is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

Spruce Street Harbor Park‘s free summer concert series ends tonight with Pattern is Movement.  The duo of Chris Ward and Andrew Thiboldeaux got home from touring with Wye Oak just a couple of weeks ago, supporting their own new self-titled record out on the road.  The album took years to complete and was introduced slowly to fans by way of a listening party mash-up at PhilaMOCA last year, where it was paired with an edited screening of There Will Be Blood.  The electronic / R&B duo will perform alongside Moon Bounce tonight.  More information can be found here.

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Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden brought a nineties revival to the Susquehanna Bank Center

Soundgarden | photo by Joe del Tufo
Soundgarden | photo by Joe del Tufo | http://www.joedeltufo.com/

It was an odd combination of 90s era bands hitting the Susquehanna Bank stage in Camden last night. Soundgarden came out a little rusty, seemingly going through the motions on hits like “Spoonman” and “Outshined” early in their set. Vocalist Chris Cornell seemed to have all of the right moves, they just seemed half-hearted and he looked particularly gaunt framed in front of the large screen. The big drum sound of Matt Cameron was also noticeably missing. They picked it up near the end of the 80 minute set with a searing version of “Rusty Cage” leading into an inspired “Beyond the Wheel.” It all looked and sounded fine, but overall left me wanting.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: People Get Ready at Johnny Brenda’s, Aaron and the Spell at Pastorius Park, Nine Inch Nails at Susquehanna Bank Center

 

People Get Ready | photo by  Catalina Kulczar-Marin
People Get Ready | photo by Catalina Kulczar-Marin

Brooklyn’s People Get Ready bring their Physiques tour to Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  The indie super group, which features members from Yeasayer, A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Lizzie Trulie released the LP in June earning praise from NPR for its blend of rock, dance and performance art.  Watch the video for the title track below and pick up tickets here.

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Revisit Ray LaMontagne’s best Philly moments before seeing him at Susquehanna Bank Center on Saturday

Ray LaMontagne | Photo via facebook.com/raylamontagne

Ray LaMontagne returns to the Philadelphia area this Saturday for a headlining performance at Camden’s Susquehanna Bank Center. The folk-influenced singer/songwriter from New Hampshire is currently on tour promoting his new album, Supernova. However, it’s far from his first stop in the Philly area. LaMontagne has been here several times playing venues from the Tower Theater in 2012, the Mann Center (with The Pariah Dogs) in 2011 and WXPN’s Free at Noon series at World Cafe Live in 2010.

Supernova has garnered great reviews from outlets such as Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and AllMusic. However, this album is a bit different.  Whereas LaMontagne’s previous four albums were pretty much straight up folk, this one – while still maintaining folk routes – is a little bit closer to psychedelic rock or even alt rock in cases such as the albums lead single, also titled “Supernova.”  But don’t worry, this is a good thing.  The A.V. Club’s Chris Mincher praises the genre shift by writing that the new album “is a surprisingly bold, enterprising follow-up from an artist who could have easily ridden out the rest of his career on adult-alternative autopilot.” It’s possible the influence to change things around came from his new producer, Dan Auerbach.  Prominently known as the singer/guitarist of garage-blues band The Black Keys, Auerbach been on a bit of a producing spree as of late, also working on the last albums from Lana Del Ray and singer Nikki Lane.

But going back to LaMontagne – his past shows in Philly have been phenomenal.  And if you don’t believe me, there is audio and video evidence to prove it. Below, listen to LaMontagne’s 2013 appearance on World Cafe with David Dye, and watch a roundup of videos from his past Philly appearances. And get tickets and more information for his Susquehanna Bank Center show on Saturday here.

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Just Announced: Dave Matthews Band playing two nights at the Susquehanna Bank Center this summer

Photo by Rodrigo Simas
Photo by Rodrigo Simas

Dave Matthews Band has announced a packed summer tour, stopping in Camden, NJ for two nights at the Susquehanna Bank Center on June 13th and 14th.  This run of dates is being billed as “A very special evening with Dave Matthews Band,” with the band performing an acoustic set and an electric set each night.  Tickets go on sale Friday, February 7th; and will be available here.  Watch the video for “You & Me” below.