Several XPN artists have been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize including the late, David Bowie. Continue reading →
In what is bound to be an energized double-bill of epic proportions, modern rockers Cage the Elephant and Portugal. The Man just announced a Philadelphia gig on Thursday, May 12th at the Skyline Stage of The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.
Cage the Elephant released its Dan Auerbach-produced fourth LP Tell Me I’m Pretty back in December, via RCA Records. Portugal. The Man’s most recent outing is 2013’s Evil Friends, though they have reportedly been in the studio working on its follow-up with collaborators ranging from Mike D to Mac Miller. Continue reading →
To say that Ingrid Michaelson gets better every time I see her is in no way an understatement. Over the past year, this is the fifth time I’ve caught her live; you think I would have seen everything, but you would have thought wrong. She throws in new (though equally beloved) songs, always makes sure to love her band in the most creative ways possible, and with this week’s Mann Center appearance being the last show of her Summer Night Out tour, antics were sure to occur. Occur they did. Continue reading →
Legendary Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson performs tonight at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. With a 2014 album called No Pier Pressure and a recent biopic called Love & Mercy, the 73-year-old Wilson hit the road with a stellar backing band to perform new songs as well as classics from all across his career. His set at NonCOMM back in May was an incredible trip down memory lane and it was only a half-hour long Free at Noon; expect tonight’s show at the Mann to be much bigger and filled with feeling. Rodriguez opens the show; get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →
Summertime is for outdoor venues, and Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and special guest Doyle Bramhall II will take on a slew of al fresco venues for TTB’s Wheels of Soul tour this summer. Philly’s slot is scheduled for the Mann Center for the Performing Arts on August 2, and tickets go on sale this Friday, April 10. Continue reading →
Songs are one thing that Dr. Dog isn’t short on. Before it broke out in 2005 with the Easy Beat LP, the band had a robust back-catalog of home-recordings that were available in varying forms – most notably 2003’s Toothbrush, still a cult favorite. But even today, their records come in accompanying deluxe editions, containing usually an EP’s worth of extra material that handily holds up to the the stuff on the album proper. And it’s not like this is stuff that you’ll never hear anywhere but the iTunes library of the Dr. Dog completist – the band is known for digging deep into the vaults in setlists. For today’s installment of the Dr. Dog Days of Summer, here are ten essential deep cuts from the Dr. Dog vaults – any or all of these would make totally sweet inclusions at the band’s Lawn of Mann show this Saturday. Continue reading →
Today from noon to 10 P.M. in Northern Liberties, the 2nd Street Festival brings a variety of food vendors, crafters and local musicians to the neighborhood. Four stages are in place for performances and other events, which have all been programmed by the Philadelphia Folksong Society. The line-up is extensive and is sure to not disappoint, including acts such as Laser Background, the West Philadelphia Orchestra and headlineres The Low Anthem. Take a look at the video for The Low Anthem’s single “Boeing 737” and find tickets and info here.
“We’re not really a band,” Ben Gibbard said last night as The Postal Service stepped out onstage for its encore. “We’ve all got our own projects, we’re just kind of moonlighting here.”
Which explains why the synthpop outfit has only played Philly twice ever, despite the way its 2003 LP Give Up (celebrating its 10th anniversary this year) escalated from a cult favorite sideproject to a mainstream success. Roll call: singer and multiinstrumentalist Gibbard was busy touring and making albums with Death Cab for Cutie, or as a solo artist. Jenny Lewis was busy being Jenny Lewis (or playing in Rilo Kiley, until that band fizzled out). Beatmaker / producer Jimmy Tamborello had DNTEL going on. Schedules are tough things to coordinate. So at the non-band’s first time back to Philadelphia after debuting at the North Star Bar on April 17 of 2003, its audience was about 40 times bigger, filling out a bustling Mann Center on a breezy evening.
Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds joined the group on auxiliary instrumentation, and Tamborello had a lording-over-the-proceedings presence, stationed on a riser with his MacBook and mixer. But Gibbard and Lewis were the stars of the show, and seemed to relish those roles. Gibbard in particular – he’s known for being somewhat wooden and awkward as a Death Cab frontman, but here he was animated. He danced, gestured, smiled, moved around the massive stage, and actually looked like he was having a good time. His voice rang out with the crisp range it had on the recording ten years ago, and he made frequent side trips behind a drumkit to mix in live percussion to the programmed beats.
Doing this on “We Will Become Like Silhouettes”, Lewis strutted downstage and led the crowd in pogoing and clapping, hype-woman style. While her voice hasn’t aged as well as Gibbard’s (her lead vocal on “Nothing Better” sounded a bit weary), seeing the band live underscored how much she contributed to the album beyond that song – and her vocals on the opening “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” and “Recycled Air” came across much more strongly. Tamborello, though, ground the latter to a halt with a spate of Daft Punk-esque vocoder vocals – his only unfortunate singing of the night.
Which, of course, is being massively nit-picky. I could be further nit-picky and dissect the new / previously-unreleased songs in the set from the expanded Give Up reissue. (Quick stabs: “Turn Around” was the best, with a grinding beat and thunderous energy; “A Tattered Line of String” was annoying; “Be Still My Heart” was forgettable.) The overarching vibe of the night was a positive one, from the band delivering a lively and commanding performance, to the crowd responding in kind with an extended singalong to the raging closer “Brand New Colony.”
Gibbard even worked in local quips when they fit. “Like Philadelphia’s The Roots said, ‘Sometimes relationships get ill,'” he said to introduce “Nothing Better.” “This song is about that.” Or, “The best band in the world is The Dead Milkmen; the second best band in the world is Beat Happening” before launching into a cover of the latter’s “Our Secret.”
On the one hand, it was a nostalgia trip for people who fell in love with the album a decade ago and never got to experience it in a live setting. On the other hand, it was a set of great music, independent of time or place. Check out a gallery of images from the show and read the setlist below.