It’s a relief to write about !!!, since talking about the band has been a source of stress since it formed in 1996. Of course, that wouldn’t be a problem in the first place if !!! didn’t give fans so much to talk about. The band has released an album every three years since its self-titled debut in 2001 and filled intervening time with EPs, covers and mixtapes. The eight-member group is typically associated with dance punk, but its sound is harder to peg down than the band is to Google. That said, !!! has clarified its pronunciation since originally claiming it was called “any sound repeated three times.” The proper pronounciation is “chk chk chk,” though the band members themselves argue about it in the beginning of 2010’s video for “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass.” If the band name didn’t say it, maybe the title of that particular track will: !!! is a goofy, clever bunch. !!! performs with Shabazz Palaces and King Britt at 8 p.m. at The Blockley; tickets to the 21+ show are $17. —Naomi Shavin
The Blockley Pourhouse
Earlier today, we mentioned that the local Fox News affiliate had run a story about a Liquor Control Board raid at The Blockley last night. (According to the story, close to 40 students were issued citations for underage drinking, and four bartenders were arrested.) Not too long after we posted about the story, we heard from Chris Perella, who handles booking and promotions at venue. Perella asked if we’d be willing to run the venue’s response, and we told him we’d be happy to oblige. You can read the venue’s response to last night’s raid below.
The Blockley, as many may have heard by now, was raided by the Liquor Control Board last evening. This incident has made it to several news sources, blogs, etc., and the details that have been released are limited in scope and fail to even make mention of the bigger problem, fake IDs.
The Blockley sits between two college campuses. We host concerts five nights each week, often with nationally touring artists. Thursday night is the only night of the week that is geared towards a younger college crowd. We are keenly aware of the risk that underage students pose to bars, clubs and venues. Our policy is to scrupulously check identification for every person that walks through the door. The only acceptable forms of ID are a driver’s license or a passport, with no exceptions. This is our policy every single night, regardless of the show or the event. Our security guards who check IDs at the door are trained professionals and they are consistent in their performance. No one is allowed into the Blockley without a valid form of identification. Period.
A quick search of the internet will reveal major issues, nationwide, with regards to the sophistication and ease of acquiring fake identification cards, primarily from China. These IDs are sophisticated to the point where they even include a perfect hologram representation and scan properly. They are affordable, easy to obtain and nearly impossible to detect, even to a trained eye. In a recent study, it is estimated that 50% of underage college students have fake IDs. Every single person in the building last night had presented an acceptable ID at the door. We had over 500 patrons at the time of the raid and approximately 32 were found to have fake IDs. Prior to this, our security turned away more than 100 students attempting to enter with no ID or a detected fake ID.
Other bars within blocks were raided at the same time as The Blockley. However, Fox News and other outlets failed to report these incidents, instead focusing on only the Blockley. We invite Fox to attend tonight’s Tommy Conwell concert, or Tim Reynolds, Beth Hart, or any other nationally renowned artist that comes through on a weekly basis. We will let them decide whether or not we are doing our job properly instead of simply providing footage of bartenders being led away in handcuffs.
We do an excellent job checking identification at the door and will learn from this experience and hopefully get even better at detecting fake IDs. We are proud of the cooperation that we have shown, and will continue to show, at all times to the local police, University of Pennsylvania Police, and all other relevant authorities. It is unfortunate that in spite of our rigorous efforts to combat the rampant use of fake identification, we are still treated as the villain and face severe fines, temporary closing or even a revocation of our liquor license.
As the response mentions, tonight’s show with Tommy Conwell is still on.
Tonight at the Blockley in West Philadelphia, Schoolly D is hosting Ropeadope Presents: What Is Jazz? What Is Hip-Hop?, a genre-blending showcase featuring Philly MC’s MH The Verb, Apuat, Chess, Ty Ward and Poole from WyldLyfe, Noesis from Philadelphia Slick, the Denton, Texas band Snarky Puppy and others. DJ Stoupe from Jedi Mind Tricks will be spinning. Below, a musical sampler of some of the artists performing.
<a href=”http://apuat.bandcamp.com/track/love-can-only” mce_href=”http://apuat.bandcamp.com/track/love-can-only”>Love Can Only by Apuat</a>
Ropeadope Presents:: What Is Jazz (What Is Hip-Hop)? featuring Snarky Puppy & hosted by Schoolly D at 9PM at The Blockley. Tickets to the 21 + show are $12–$15.
The first time I caught By Surprise, it was at the North Star Bar in 2007 for one of those ill-programmed, poorly-attended shows that are as lonely and demoralizing for the audience as they are for the artist. My presence was very much at the urging of guitarist Rob Wilcox, who was at the time my co-DJ at Y-Rock, and I was curious to see what dude’s band could do. I definitely picked up what it was throwing down: digable nods to the late-’90s/early-’00s emo underground (the references I made in my Philly Phile last week). But something—blame the night, blame the lineup—didn’t seem quite there. Certainly not like the By Surprise I saw perform with a renewed energy two years later at The Blockley—and certainly not like the By Surprise that stormed our studio last week armed with a setlist of new songs, a lot of caffineation, some vegan pizza, and the rock-and-roll willingness to slam out their stuff, screw the small mistakes, and leave a pint of blood on the studio floor. (Note to XPN engineering: no blood was actually left on the studio floor and I don’t know what those stains are.)
Guest engineer Maddie Lesperance mixed the feisty Douglas Adams ref-ing “So Long And Thanks For All The Shark Jaws” and the heartbreaking “Direct Loans” while I snapped photos of the band in action. I mixed the rest (particularly loved the guitar interplay on “$600 Exorcism”) and came to a realization: so many groups hit hard and burn out fast. By Surprise has, over time, worked its way up to this point: having such an impactful presence in performance; playing with the confidence that comes with doing what you love because you love it; releasing a full-length album that’s as sonically rich and enjoyable as Mountain Smashers. Yesterday, Wilcox made a similar “slow and steady” observation in a heartfelt post on his Tumblr: “When your only desire is to make something as simple as ‘an album’ with your buddies, and hope someone gives a damn, the end result is far more rewarding. We’ve always gone about things at our own pace, and hoped that someone along the way would take a moment to enjoy it for its simplicity.” Mountain Smashers came out yesterday, the session tracks are below. I enjoy them and hope you do too.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10
Beardo-musician-dude-has-the-blues is a common theme among angst-ridden indie-folk albums written by solo artists from the warm comfort of their own bedroom. But Strand Of Oaks‘ Timothy Showalter has straight-up lived it the experience. By now, the story of Showalter losing most of his earthly possessions in a house fire—right around the same time his fiancée left him, no less—forcing him into homelessness is the stuff of, uh, indie-rock mini-legend. That situation provided much of the inspiration for his intimate debut album, Leave Ruin. But Showalter’s latest, Pope Killdragon, forgoes Ruin‘s confessional tone, opting instead for a storytelling approach that is every bit as fantastical as the album’s title suggests. You won’t find Showalter’s innermost feelings here: however, you will find creepy monsters and Dan Aykroyd. Strand Of Oaks performs with Crooked Fingers and Cotton Jones at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $12.
Also playing: Jukebox The Ghost + The Meligrove Band, Dynamite Walls at First Unitarian Church (7:30 p.m., all ages, $10-$12)
SATURDAY, DECECMBER 11
Old 97s + Hayes Carll at Theatre Of Living Arts (9 p.m. $32.25); The Armchairs + Illinois, Da Comrade!, Arrah And The Ferns at The Blockley Pourhouse (8 p.m., 21+, $6); The Punk Rock Flea Market at The Punk Rock Flea Market Dome (10 a.m.-5 p.m., all ages, $3)
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12
The Yule Ball 2010 w/Harry And The Potters + The Whomping Willows, Justin Finch-Fletchley And The Sugar Quills, MC Kreacher, The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt!, Rich Aucion at First Unitarian Church (5 p.m., all ages, $15); Dangerous Ponies + The Sidekicks, Brick Mower, Dirt Farmer, Ah Horse Hockey at The Fire (7 p.m., all ages, $7)
Philadelphia natives Sonni Shine & The Underwater Sounds combine funk, rock, and reggae. The band’s next show is Wednesday, October 20, at the Blockley Pourhouse; the show is part of a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research and will also feature The Movement, Joosed, and 10-20. (For more information about the event click here.)
Well, would you look at that: we’re just so pleased with ourselves about this whole starting-a-local-music-blog thing that we’ve decided to throw a party in our own honor. Saturday, September 25, The Key will host a local showcase at The Blockley Pourhouse in conjunction with the Philadelphia Film And Music Festival, featuring performances by Adam And Dave’s Bloodline, Busses, New Motels, and The Sky Drops. Tickets are $10; the performances begin at 9 p.m.
Feel like helping us pat ourselves on the back a little bit? Want to tell us why your lo-fi, garage-punk, psyche-rock, jazz-fusion, space-jam band is, like, totally the best band in Philly right now and should be plastered all over our main page? Or just want to talk local music with some nerdy blogger types? Meet us at The Blockley on the 25th—we’ll happily let you buy us a beer.