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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Man Man at Underground Arts, Cold Fronts at Hard Rock Cafe, Everyone Orchestra at the Blockley and more

man man
Photo via facebook.com/wearemanman

Experimental rock outfit Man Man will take the stage at Underground Arts tonight. The band released its most recent album On Oni Pond back in September, mixing quirky yet intelligent lyricism with huge hooks and a wide range of instrumentation. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show here. Watch the video for “Born Tight” below.

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The Blockley announces final run of shows, featuring Splintered Sunlight, Schoolly D and more (happening 12/26-12/29)

The Blockley | photo via www.facebook.com/theblockley
The Blockley | photo via www.facebook.com/theblockley

By now the disappointing news of The Blockley‘s closing has made its way around town.  The West Philadelphia venue will be shutting its doors for good next week after January 1st, but that still gives the legendary space a few days to throw some big shows.

The Blockley’s final run will begin on this Thursday, December 26th with a top-notch local hip-hop showcase featuring Schoolly D, Reef the Lost Cauze, Cee Knowledge, Mic Stew, Beano and Chase Allen.

On December 27th, Splintered Sunlight, a staple of The Blockley’s bookings, will be making its final 38th & Chestnut appearance with Sakima.

Local reggae jammers Long Miles will headline on the 28th with support by Spiritual Rez, priming the stage for the Funky Farewell featuring The Everyone Orchestra on the 29th.  Tickets and information for all shows are available here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lee Fields & The Expressions at Union Transfer, Washed Out at the Electric Factory, Bilal at The Blockley and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo via www.facebook.com/leefieldsandtheexpressions

Union Transfer welcomes North Carolina soul singer Lee Fields to its stage tonight. Over his impressive 43-year career, Fields has released multiple albums and inspired generations of R&B singers. His most recent effort Faithful Man was released last year via Truth and Soul Records. Fields recorded the album with the label’s house band The Expressions who also accompany his live sets. Get tickets to the show here and watch his video for “You’re The Kind Of Girl” below.

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Breaking news: The Blockley to close its doors at the end of the month

Shuggie Otis in concert at The Blockley 8/9/13 - Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Shuggie Otis in concert at The Blockley 8/9/13 – Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Sad and disappointing news about the loss of a great live music venue in Philadelphia: The Blockley, the live music venue, bar and restaurant at 38th and Chestnut Streets in West Philadelphia is closing its doors at the end of December. That’s the word from The Blockley’s Chris Perella, who in an e-mail and on The Blockley Facebook page wrote: “It is with tremendous sadness that I tell you The Blockley will be closing its doors after 2013.” The club has lost its liquor license under a move in which the owners were working on a sale of the business.

Perella explains:

The Blockley’s ownership group was working toward completing a sale of the business. That, for me and our humble staff that make the venue go, represented an amazing opportunity to move forward with more resources, staff, and momentum than ever, and take things to a new level. The rug got pulled out on Wednesday. In the process of negotiating a sale agreement, the necessary transfer of our liquor license to a new owner was blocked, irreversibly. We have been negotiating it, but we’re forced to move the license out of the building. We have explored absolutely every option available to try and salvage the situation, and can safely say it’s out of our hands. Without a liquor license, we can’t sell the business- so suddenly, the future fell apart. I can’t begin to express the disappointment on my end.

Perella says he’s working to fulfill the booking commitments they’ve made and is looking for other venues to hold the shows that have been booked at The Blockley. Several shows remain through December including Bilal on December 13th, Junior Marvin (of Bob Marley & the Wailers) on December 21st and a planned big event for the closing. Read the entire message on The Blockley’s Facebook page here. More info as the story unfolds.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Rail Park Benefit at Union Transfer, Erin McKeown Anti-Holiday Spectacular at Ardmore Music Hall, Lupe Fiasco at The Trocadero and more

Photo by Joe Del Tufo
Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Tonight, Union Transfer hosts a star-studded fundraiser concert for The Rail Park – a proposed public green space built along the rail tracks of the abandoned reading viaduct. The concert, which looks to raise money for the first phase of the project, will feature performances by Birdie Busch, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock and more. It also includes what is rumored to be The Walkmen‘s final performance…at least for a long time. All of the event’s proceeds will benefit Friends of the Rail Park; get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Frank Turner at Electric Factory, Slayer at Susquehanna Bank Center, Penrose at Boot & Saddle, and more

Frank Turner | via Facebook

English folk punk favorite Frank Turner headlines The Electric Factory tonight, with backing band The Sleeping Souls. His newest release, Tape Deck Heart, is evidence to just how cheery and creative he can be. With sweet guitar riffs, simple beats, and upbeat singalong lyrics, Turner’s music will take you out of the cold and back to the warm days of summer for a few hours tonight. This diverse show will also feature sets from Australia’s punks The Smith Street Band and Minnesota’s electro pop band Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Find tickets here.

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Recap: Red Baraat fires up the Free at Noon crowd for round two

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Brooklyn-based eight piece ensemble Red Baraat fired up the Philly crowd with their jazzed-up spin on traditional Bhangra music. Even though they brought back the same energy that got you jumping at this year’s Xponential Festival, Friday’s Free At Noon performance was only a sneak peak for their set later that night at The Blockley. Check out which tunes they played from their latest album Shruggy Ji by viewing the setlist and photo gallery below, and listening to their performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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Interview: Red Baraat’s Sunny Jain on throwing down for all walks of life (playing Free at Noon today, The Blockley tonight)

Red Baraat at XPoNential Music Festival | Photo by Eric Ashleigh | showtographe.com

There’s no magic or alchemic wizardry behind Red Baraat’s successful synthesis of East-meets-West. They just know the key to get asses shaking.

The Brooklyn-based band, having melded elements of jazz, funk, go-go, bhangra and Bollywood into an expansive and explosive final product since 2008, works on a simpler, more matter-of-fact level, according to bandleader and dhol drum player Sunny Jain.

“One main reason I would say is the fact that you have five horn players and three drummers and these guys are all playing their hearts out,” he says, referring to Red Baraat’s always-impassioned live performances. It may be as simple as that, really. “They’re serious musicians. They’re not just people screwing around and putting on a show. These guys know their instruments in and out, but they also know how to throw down. They party hard on the stage. I think that brings a lot to the sound, having eight people up there, when there’s just a lot of energy and passion that’s being brought.”

In other words, Jain and company know how to go hard. They demonstrated this at the XPoNential Music Festival and will again today at the Free at Noon concert, and tonight at the Blockley. All eight Red Baraat members come from extensive musical backgrounds, cutting their teeth professionally and methodically through schooling from Berklee College of Music and other programs (trombone whiz Ernest Stuart is a Temple grad). Between Jain, Stewart, saxophonist Mike Bomwell, trumpet players Sonny Singh and MiWi La Lupa, sousaphone player John Altieri and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, Red Baraat possesses the highly refined technical skills necessary to make their unique fusion of cultural sounds and rhythms work.

“I also don’t know if it’s necessarily just a genre thing,” says Jain about any given Red Baraat show’s crowd reception. “It’s also interesting that the spotlight always shifts. I think that’s cool for people to notice that there’s not a lead singer and a band surrounding that person.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Red Baraat at The Blockley, Minor Alps at World Cafe Live, Mazzy Star at Union Transfer

Red Baraat | Photo by Eric Ashleigh | www.showtographe.com

Brooklyn’s Red Baraat will bring its jazz and brass funk-fused Indian rhythms to The Blockley stage tonight. The eight-piece ensemble released their Shruggy Ji LP earlier this year via Sinj Records. Back in 2011, the band’s performance at globalFest made Bob Boilen of NPR’s list of favorite shows of the year. Watch their dynamic performance of “Shruggy Ji” below, listen to their XPN Fest set here and get tickets here.

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Just Announced: Matisyahu brings his Festival of Light to The Blockley on 12/4

matisyahu

Penn Hillel presents Matisyahu‘s Hanukkah celebration at The Blockley on December 4th.  The seventh annual Festival of Light will feature the Grammy nominated rapper as he performs songs from his full catalog, including “King of Crowns” and “Sunshine.” Tickets and information can be found here.  Watch the video for “Sunshine” below.

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