Tonight’s Concert Picks: Divers at Johnny Brenda’s, The Tressels and Low Cut Connie at The Note, Douglas Thomas at World Cafe Live, Patty Griffin at The Kimmel Center

Photos by Abi Reimold |
Photo by Abi Reimold |

Featuring members from The Weeds, Birdie Busch’s band and Buried Beds, Divers are about as local as a group of musicians can get. Their music falls somewhere in between folk, rock and a little country and can go from ambient tones to straight up rock in a heartbeat. They’re playing at Johnny Brenda’s tonight; for more information on the 21+ show, click here. Below, watch Divers perform “Take Me Back” for Kettle Pot Tracks’ studio’s On the Hill series.

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Watch The Fleeting Ends’ video for “I’m Like That” (playing a free show at The Kimmel Center tonight, XPoNential Music Festival this summer)


Local pop / rock outfit The Fleeting Ends have shared a video for “I’m Like That,” a track off of their new LP Our Eyes Are Peeled.  The video features the band playing the laid-back and lackadaisical (and incredibly catchy) song against a lava lamp backdrop interspersed with cuts to a colorful ballet dancer.  The Fleeting Ends will play a free show at The Kimmel Center tonight to help bring PIFA to an end (more information can be found here).  The Philly band will also perform at the XPoNential Music Festival this summer, happening July 26-28.  Tickets and more information for the festival can be found here.  Watch the new video below and check out footage from The Fleeting Ends’ acoustic appearance at The Porch here.


Travel through time with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (kicking off this Thursday, 3/28)

PIFAThe Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts gets underway this Thursday, March 28th and will run through April 27th.  With homebase returning to The Kimmel Center and a new theme of time travel this year, the month-long event will use performances, lectures and exihibitions to explore past moments in history including the discovery of America, the lunar landing and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Below, check out a few musical highlights that you won’t want to miss, including a selection of free concerts happening in the Kimmel Center’s “Time Travel Plaza” (where you will also find a spiraling time machine).

Last Call at the Downbeat (4/5-4/13, Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse):  Learn about Philadelphia’s jazz scene in the forties with this staged retrospective of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.  Watch a short video about the play from show producers Jazz Bridge below.

Prima! Rufus! Judy! (4/21, Verizon Hall): Rufus Wainwright reprises Judy Garland’s return to the stage with selections from her 1961 Carnegie Hall performance.  The evening will begin with excerpts from Wainwright’s own opera Prima Donna.  Watch Wainwright perform “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” below.

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The Hundred Acre Woods share video for “Base of My Heart” (playing at The Kimmel Center for PIFA on 3/28)

HundredAcreWoodsChester County / Philadelphia folk outfit The Hundred Acre Woods are set to release a new EP this spring and we got a sneak peek without even knowing it when they appeared on February’s Valentine’s Day four-way split for Topshelf Records.  “Base of My Heart,” their contribution to the benefit record, will be featured on the upcoming EP, which the quintet recorded up north last summer.  From bass player Pat Loundas:

In August 2012 we spent a weekend at my uncle’s cabin on Lake Wallenpaupack in the Pocanos to write and demo for our next release (which should be released in May). For us, it was a chance to get out of the city and spend some time in nature.

The band also filmed a great outdoorsy video to accompany the single, which you can watch below (is that an “I <3 XPN” pin I see?).  The Hundred Acre Woods will perform at The Kimmel Center on March 28th as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. More information can be found here.


Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell play Kimmel Center in June

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have teamed up for an album called Love Has Come for You.  It drops April 23rd, but tickets to see them perform at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall went on sale this morning.  The show isn’t until June 27th, but the highly anticipated collaboration promises to attract a crowd.  As if Steve Martin and Edie Brickell aren’t enough, several other big names make an appearance on the record including Esperanza Spalding, Nickel Creek members Sara and Sean Watkins, and producer Peter Asher.  Tickets and information for the show are available here. Below, listen to a track from Steve Martin’s 2012 album Rare Bird Alert, and watch the music video for Brickell’s “Circle.”

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Contest: Win a prize pack from Conor Oberst, including a pair of tickets to his show at The Kimmel Center on 11/18

Conor Oberst is coming to The Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on November 18th for a special solo show with Daniel Johnston, presented by R5 Productions.  Most notable for his role in Bright Eyes, Oberst finds his plate constantly full with solo projects and side projects including the recently re-banded Desaparecidos.  He’s spent much of the last year touring, both with that reunited post-hardcore five-piece and as a solo act, following the release of Bright Eyes’ 2011 record The People’s Key.

This week we’ve a got a prize pack from the Bright Eyes singer loaded with a pair of tickets for the Philly show show, signed vinyl, a custom screen-printed poster and more.  To enter the contest, leave a comment about your favorite Conor Oberst song.  Winners will be notified by email so make sure to include your full name and an active e-mail address (your e-mail will not be public).  Runner ups will also be chosen to win a pair of tickets for the Sunday night concert.  Tickets and information can be found here. Check out the video for “Jejune Stars” off of the latest Bright Eyes disc below.


Pre-sale tickets to Amos Lee’s Nov. 5th performance at the Academy Of Music are already sold out

Amos Lee

Just the other day, WXPN favorite Amos Lee announced that a November 5th show at Philadelphia’s Academy Of Music had been added to his upcoming U.S. tour. As The Swollen Fox mentioned, a fan pre-sale went up at 10 a.m. yesterday morning via; however, all of those tickets are already sold out, according to the site. Tickets will become available to the general public through the Kimmel Center’s website this Friday at noon.

In the meantime, you can check out this video of Lee’s great cover of Neil Young’s “Are You Ready For The Country,” which he performed at this year’s Jazz Fest New Orleans.


Tonight in PIFA: John Wesley Harding and Cheers Elephant at The Kimmel Center

First let’s clear up the name: Wesley Stace was named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. He took his stage name, John Wesley Harding, from the 1967 Bob Dylan album—and that album’s name comes from its title track, which Dylan named after the American outlaw, John Wesley Hardin. (Got all that?) John Wesley Harding (we’re talking about the artist from here on out) moved to Philadelphia last year and plays blues rock and folk noir. He worked his name into the credits of the quintessential audiophile film High Fidelity for the song “I’m Wrong About Everything.” In the 1990s, his name appeared alongside Bruce Springsteen’s when The Boss elected to use Harding as his first opening act in over 20 years. And, to top it off, Harding is also an author: his real name, Wesley Stace, appears on the cover of three novels (the latest of which, Charles Jessold, Considered As A Muderer, we mentioned a month ago). The most recent of his 15 albums, Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead, was released in 2009. John Wesley Harding performs with Cheers Elephant at 5 p.m. at The Kimmel Center; the show will be hosted by XPN Morning Show’s Michaela Majoun and followed by a DJ set with Land Of The Lost‘s Robert Drake. Tickets are free. —Dave Simpson


Listen to The Low Anthem’s Free At Noon performance at The Kimmel Center

The folks over at NPR Music have posted the full audio of The Low Anthem‘s Free At Noon performance at The Kimmel Center from earlier today. You can give it a listen here.

From NPR Music:

Citing Tom Waits, Neil Young and Bob Dylan as their main influences, the members of The Low Anthem craft a folksy, layered sound. The group has been known to forgo PA systems and amplification in order to blend with its surroundings live.

In the time since its first album, The Low Anthem has undergone many changes, moving from straight folk and rock toward a raw, minimalist sound. That evolution came to a head on the group’s third record, the widely acclaimed Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.

Smart Flesh, that album’s followup, shakes off the Rhode Island band’s past whimsy and taps into something more visceral and melancholic.