The musical holiday season in Philadelphia would be incomplete without an annual performance by The Silver Ages, the men’s close harmony vocal ensemble comprised of members of Philly’s local music scene started by Charlie Hall. The Silver Ages have announced their 7th Annual Holiday Extravaganza, happening on Saturday January 18th at the Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square. There will also be a special appearance from The Goddesses, the duo of Tony & Sam Goddess (Papa Fritas/Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society.) Go here for tickets and more information about the show.
This Saturday night, September 21st, The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society – crew of musicians and Fleetwood Mac’s enthusiasts from Philly and New York – will will reunite to perform the classic Tusk in its entirety at Johnny Brenda’s. They’ll also play some other Mac classics. The current TLBS lineup includes co-founders of the band Charlie Hall (vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with Jens Lekman and The War on Drugs, and leader of the Philadelphia-based male choral ensemble The Silver Ages) and Patrick Berkery (who has played drums with The War on Drugs, Pernice Brothers and more) along with Tony Goddess, Birdie Busch, Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs, Nightlands, and writer of The Key’s Top of The Key basketball column), and Eliza Hardy Jones of Buried Beds. We asked Charlie Hall (CB) and Patrick Berkery (PB) to put a handful of their favorite Fleetwood Mac songs and to reflect on their greatness. Here’s five of their favorites.
“Sentimental Lady” from Bare Trees (1972)
PB: From the Bob Welch-era. Quite possibly ground zero for “yacht rock.” (Can I just tell you how much I despise that term?) It’s surprising they didn’t have a major hit with this – such a beautiful song. Bob DID have a hit with it on his 1977 solo album “French Kiss,” an album the uninitiated are strongly urged to check out. It also has “Ebony Eyes,” an EPIC moment in soft rock history.
CH: An absolutely gorgeous lyric. I love Mick’s drumming on this one, and how the pre-chorus really starts to chug-a-lug into that exquisite chorus. I do think Bob improved upon it on the ‘French Kiss’ version five years later, featuring not only Mick and Christine again but also Lindsey helping shape it with guitars and production. There’s complete sweetness wrapped up with a tinge of sadness, which pretty much encapsulate Bob Welch. I, too, cannot stand the term “yacht rock” and I wish it would go away, along with those stupid videos.
The Silver Ages are having its 6th annual holiday spectacular on Saturday, January 19th with special guests Bing Ji Ling and John Wesley Harding at The Philadelphia Ethical Society. Go here for tickets to the show. The Silver Ages is Philadelphia’s premiere close-vocal group harmony group; 13 voices strong started by musician Charlie Hall. The group includes local musicians and singer-songwriters who spend much of their time rocking out in bands like War On Drugs, Nightlands, the Spinto Band, Buried Beds and many, many more!. You can read more about the group in this interview we did last year with Hall. Below, watch the gentlemen stroll through the wintery streets of Philadelphia in a short film by Nate Johnson. Update: The current lineup of The Silver Ages includes: Charlie Hall, Gianmarco Cilli, Dave Wayne Daniels, Dave Hartley, Zach Miller, Todd Starlin, Rick Flom, Heyward Howkins, Young Nick Krill, Josh Newman, Severin Tucker, Dan Matz, Brandon Beaver and Shai Halperin.
Singer-songwriter Gianmarco Cilli echoes the delicately striking tapestry of quirk and nostalgia found with sixties folk-pop bands on his new recordSummers Gone Away, an EP that took three years to complete. In addition to his solo career, Cilli is a member of Philadelphia’s National Eye and holiday close-harmony collective The Silver Ages (with Charlie Hall, Dave Hartley, Nick Krill and more). The Silver Ages will perform at Art in the Age in December and will hold their sixth annual Holiday Spectacular at the Ethical Society of Philadelphia on Saturday, January 19th; stay tuned for tickets and more information. Below, listen to “Waiting Around.”
While you’re huddling in your closet to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Sandy (a.k.a. The Frankenstorm), take a listen to this “surrealistic mix of esoteric folk, psychedelic C86 covers, and desolate love songs” compiled by Philadelphia musician Dan Matz. You may know Matz better as a founder of the Philadelphia-by-way-of-Austin post-rock band Windsor for the Derby; he has also performed with local close-harmony holiday collective The Silver Ages alongside a cavalcade of Philly favorites.
Matz’s mixtape comes in support of Windsor for the Derby’s new “Speaker Special”/”Heard Worse” 7″ on Geographic North and culls tracks from a far-reaching spectrum of genres including the classic rattlings of The Rolling Stones, a post-punk spin on “All You Need is Love” by Echo & the Bunnymen and the distorted hypnotism of Philadelphia’s Delewhale. The record is the eighth in Geographic North’s You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever series and is pressed on autumnal transparent pumpkin-orange vinyl. Stream the mix below, and grab a copy of the limited edition 7″ here.
Tonight at the The Philadelphia Ethical Society the Silver Ages perform with Meg Baird, John Wesley Harding, and Mary Lattimore for “The 5th Annual Silver Ages Holiday Spectacular” at 8 p.m; tickets to the show are $13. Under the guidance of Charlie Hall, expect some sonic seasonings of choral group harmonies, classic popular tunes and other musical surprises. For more information about the show go here
Also tonight: Pissed Jeans performs with Blues Control and Veiled at 9:15 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $10–$12; Negative Department + The Only Ghost in Town, Pray For Polanski, Sure Juror at The Level Room (8 p.m., 21+, $8); New Sweden + KeN, Lettuce Prey at Milkboy Philly (9:30 p.m., 21+, $8–$10);
I believe it was the great David Bowie who once sang “five years, my brain hurts a lot,” and we all know how that feels. Because what else can your brain do but hurt when you reflect that it’s been five whole years since the very first Silver Ages Holiday Concert Spectacular!
Five Years! The aforementioned Mr. Bowie also said “what a surprise!” with regard to that length of time, but it’s no surprise to us that we’ve been doing this so long. Why? Because it’s a heck of a good time, that’s why, and we work hard year ‘round to prepare a program of timeless entertainment for a magical evening of togetherness and fun.
But it won’t just be us (The Silver Ages) (Philadelphia’s very own men’s close harmony vocal ensemble) sending sundry stirring sounds from the stage of the Society some say is Ethical!
No. As in years past, we’ll be bolstering the evening’s entertainment value with two truly towering talents of tune! Please join us in welcoming these wonderful newcomers to the Silver Ages Experience: Meg Baird and John Wesley Harding!
…You can expect the usual smattering of Silver Ages ephemera (Pimms Cups, etc) as well as a very special array of offerings courtesy of Art in the Age and Quaker City Mercantile. In the spirit of celebrating the creative communities within Philadelphia, it seemed only right that we collaborate with one of our favorite purveyors of spirits, from right here in Philadelphia, on a very special Silver Ages Punch, and other treats. Art in the Age is responsible for Root, Snap, and its latest concoction, Rhuby. Find out more HERE . We are also thrilled to introduce an old favorite to you all, courtesy of Quaker City Mercantile, Narragansett Beer. Narragansett is named after one of our favorite Rhode Island towns which, like us, is known for recreation. One thing you should not be concerned about is leaving this night thirsty.
Silver Ages performs with Meg Baird, John Wesley Harding, and Mary Lattimore at “The 5th Annual Silver Ages Holiday Spectacular” at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 14th, at The Philadelphia Ethical Society; tickets to the show are $13. You can read our interview with Charlie Hall from earlier this year here.
Tomorrow evening is the Fourth Annual Seasonal Evening with The Silver Ages. Since its start, the concert has become one of the most endearing wintertime traditions in the city.
The Silver Ages are a 13-piece close-harmony vocal group composed of some of Philly’s best indie-rock musicians. The idea was conceived by Charlie Hall—drummer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter—who has played drums with The War On Drugs, Windsor For The Derby, Tommy Guerrero, Jens Lekman, and others since he moved to Philly from San Francisco in 2003. Each year, the band has several special guests; this year it will be joined by Luke Temple of Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic and Eliza Hardy of the Philly band Buried Beds.
The Key recently interviewed Charlie via e-mail about the history of the group and the music.
The Key: How did The Silver Ages start?
Charlie Hall: I moved to Philly in 2003 and was immediately struck by the community(ies) that existed within the music scene here. This feeling came after eight years in San Francisco where things felt much more “on your own”…Over the course of a couple years after moving here I met so many cool folks through music. For my whole life, music has been sort of a connector, and so it just seemed like a great idea to bring a bunch of people together—some of whom knew each other and some of whom didn’t—to sing and hang out and get into this kinda far-out thing that was equally foreign to everyone (traditional men’s chorus close harmony stuff).
TK: What kind of people do you usually find yourself bringing together?
CH: A lot of these guys are lead singers in their rock bands, but this is about being part of an ensemble and blending your voice. Some of these guys are drummers or just quieter fellas who have beautiful voices but don’t really use them in their bands. So we get together for the fun of it. No merchandise to sell, no records to hustle, no monthly gig at the (insert name of smelly club here). That was about five years ago. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would become as special a thing as it has.
TK: Who are all the members in this year’s group? And has the lineup been the same over the years?
CH: The lineup has pretty much stayed the same with a few additions over the years…in no particular order: Dave Hartley (Nightlands, The War on Drugs, Buried Beds, BC Camplight), Gianmarco Cilli (National Eye), Heyward Howkins (The Trouble With Sweeney, Hong Kong Stingray), Shai Halperin (The Capitol Years, Sweet Lights), Todd Starlin (Like Moving Insects), Brandon Beaver (Buried Beds, Nightlands), Brian Christinzio (BC Camplight), Rick Flom (National Eye, Mitch Fiction), Dave Wayne Daniels (The Capitol Years), Josh Newman (Mitch Fiction), Dan Matz (Windsor for the Derby, Birdwatcher), Young Nick Krill aka “the new guy” (The Spinto Band) and myself.