The lobby area outside the main house doors at the Philly Fillmore last night sounded like someone raided the old 90s mix-tape drawer. The Beasties and Rage, Blind Melon, Harvey Danger, The Cranberries — this DJ knew the audience he was there to warm: the early birds of the throng of 2500 Jane’s Addiction, Dinosaur Jr. and Living Colour fans waiting patiently to sprint to the front row, jockeying for position against the stage before the lights dim. Continue reading →
As a beatmaker and vocalist / lyricist, Philadelphia’s Tunji Ige is already a master craftsman of vibe. Add to the mix the visual artist Josh Goldenberg, aka Glassface, and it reaches a whole new level. The high-concept video they did for “Ball Is Life,” which you can watch here, needs to win every award it’s eligible for, and Ige discussed that video and his overall connection with Glassface – who he says has been his go-to since he was fifteen – in our recent interview.
Their latest collab, “War,” showed up today via NPR Music’s First Watch, brings the vibrant ocean blue of the album artwork to life. As Ige told NPR’s Kiana Fitzgerald, “The Missed Calls cover was inspired by Magritte and other surrealist artists. My goal with the ‘War’ video was to make an extension of that — a piece of moving surrealist art.” Continue reading →
Erotic, comedic and at times even disturbing, we experienced all the feels when Father John Misty stopped by The Fillmore on Saturday night.
FJM (offstage name: Josh Tillman) made his mystical presence known to a screaming crowd as he took the stage. Within minutes he dropped down on his knees, holding a fan’s hand while singing. The crowd soaked in all of his spontaneous behavior. Later in the set he lifted someone’s iPhone to the stage to the excitement of a fan who was recording a video – something he did last time he was in town, at Union Transfer.
The crowd soaked in all this spontaneous (and seemingly spontaneous) behavior, and there were definitely fans that were losing their minds. We even had a fainter in the house. It was made very clear that the audience had a new favorite sex symbol. Continue reading →
Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals are back, and they showed Philly just what they are bringing to the table last Sunday when they played at The Fillmore as a stop along their Call It What Is tour.
Kicking off the set with some cowbell and heavy rock and roll guitar in “When Sex Was Dirty,” Harper and the band introduced their newly released album Call It What It Is. The album was released on April 8th, and was the band’s first album back together in eight years. XPN welcomed Harper and the band back on April 1st when they played a Free at Noon show for World Cafe Live at The Queen, but this was Harper’s first time back in Philadelphia proper since his acoustic set at the Merriam Theater in October 2012.Continue reading →
Millennials piled into The Foundry at The Fillmore Tuesday night as indie power pop favorite The Rocket Summer made an appearance in Philadelphia to kick off the Zoetic tour. The solo project of Bryce Avary has been around since ’99, making a sudden comeback with his new album Zoetic. This is The Rocket Summer’s fifth full-length studio album and is the first we’ve heard of since the Christmas album from 2013. Continue reading →
Friday night’s show at The Fillmore was all about tons of dancing and stellar front-women. The sold-out event began with The Suffers, from Houston, Texas, rocking the stage, as lead vocalist Kam Franklin strutted the stage in a green sequined dress. Franklin really warmed the crowd up with her soulful voice, big stage presence, and inspirational story of finding a second career in music. The ten-piece band is touring behind a couple EPs and their self-titled LP, and has gained a strong following for a band whose debut album is only a month old.
By the time Lake Street Dive arrived, the crowd was ready to keep dancing after chugging a few more cocktails at one of the many bars. Singer / frontwoman Rachael Price began their set with a similar enthusiasm as Franklin, as she danced and smiled with each sultry lyric. The band just released their fifth LP, Side Pony, with Nonesuch Records, and with it came a new energy and a clean look; Price donning high heels and a skirt as she stands at center stage. By the middle of the set, Price pulled a scrunchy out of her hair, shot it into the audience and the band went into the title track “Side Pony,” which really got the audience boogying. Continue reading →
Philadelphia psychedelic pop outfit The Morelings seemingly arrived on the scene this past year with a fully realized look and sound. Spectral guitars, shimmering melodies, distant voices breathlessly beckoning you to pay close attention. Then again, the band and its sound is the product of years of friendship and collaboration between founding duo Kedra Caroline and Matthew William, stretching back to their college days in Ann Arbor, MI. And the sound continues to evolve.
Caroline and William bonded over Nick Drake and Fairport Convention; William also had a strong fondness for John Fahey, and these disparate influences informed the first music they wrote together. Flash forward to Philadelphia in 2014, when The Morelings recorded its debut EP No Sign with Kyle Johnson. Their songs moved in a decidedly dreamy direction comparable to the giants of the shoegaze 90s – Slowdive, Lush and their contemporaries. Drifting, spacious and minimal, the EP strikes notes of haunting serenity, with Caroline’s voice floating in the fray as though it was another instrument. Continue reading →
There was always an interesting contrast in singer and songwriter Matt Pond when he lived in Philadelphia. Under the nom-de-stage matt pond PA, he spent the late 90s and early aughts making albums and EPs of touching, beautifully-orchestrated songs awash in cello and meditative acoustic guitar. But he also came up during the Guided by Voices heyday when crowds at Philly clubs were largely indie-bros who binge-drank and talked loudly over everybody, even the people they were ostensibly there to see. Pond had no patience for that shit, and rightfully so. And over time, the guy who wrote these sensitive, personal songs developed a local rep for being something of an angry and aggressive crank – when, really, he was just dishing back the attitude the crowd was giving him.
Those who were there at the time know how the story proceeded. Pond eventually amassed a local fan base that came for him, not for the scene, but he nonetheless left Philly for New York where his career blossomed in ways none of us expected. He got songs placed in TV and film, developed a strong national profile and released Several Arrows Later, a timeless work that is remarkably uncynical and sentimental, considering that it came from somebody who was at that point nearly a decade into a career on the brutal chew-em-up-spit-em-out indie circuit. He remains a prolific writer and recorder, and after a solo LP – The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand – he revived the “PA” moniker for a run celebrating the 10th anniversary of Emblems, followed up by this year’s State of Gold.
It’s a beautiful record as only Pond can deliver, and his gig at The Foundry in support of it a couple weeks back – rumored to be the final matt pond PA tour – was equal parts moving and rousing. “So Much Trouble” and “Halloween” were immediate winners off the top, and “Love To Get Used” brought the main set to a tremendous close. The proceedings were also, Pond being Pond, a little cantankerous. Continue reading →
Earlier this fall, Laura Stevenson released her fantastic, fourth solo album Cocksure through Don Giovanni Records. Punkier, perkier, and poppier than anything she’s ever done, it marks both a natural progression from and stark contrast to her previous efforts. In preparation for her upcoming stop at The Foundry at The Fillmore to debut the album live, I caught up with Stevenson to discuss the making of the record, how to stay sane on the road, and her memorable first experience playing in Philly… Continue reading →
It may be true that Joe Walsh is an analog man living in a digital world. That didn’t stop the audience at The Fillmore from recording his every move as he got down to business Monday night.
Cell phones were held high across the crowd as he made his entrance; proving that not much has changed over the years, the iconic rock star hit the stage performing slow hand riffs in a pair of lace up leather pants. Walsh’s signature howling voice was backed by two drummers, three women singing back, a rhythm guitarist, a bassist and keyboard player. Walsh played in style with a different guitar for what seemed like every song, so much so that I lost count towards the end. Walsh continued to keep things interesting through the set, even including a techno infused DJ breakdown in the midst of a classic song. Walsh and his team took that moment to blast a tee shirt gun at the audience under the glow of a disco ball. Continue reading →