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Dance to the Beat: Belle and Sebastian and Lucius filled the Tower Theater with lush indie pop

Belle and Sebastian | Photo by Kate McCann
Belle and Sebastian | Photo by Kate McCann

Belle and Sebastian released their first album in five years, entitled Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, this past winter. The title reflects the attitude of the band’s new-found live energy: they’re at a fairly peaceful time in their career, and they really just want to dance.

Who can blame them? After years of dreamy, sleepwalking twee pop, the band has adopted a more accessible, club-worthy sound that still showcases their knack for songwriting.

Don’t like it? Well, Belle and Sebastian don’t care, simply because they’re Belle and Sebastian. They have the experience and magic charm to turn even the most top-40-sounding melodies into indie hits. Then they’ll just pull you up on stage and dance the negativity out of you. Literally. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: STS at Underground Arts, Belle and Sebastian at The Tower Theater, B.C. Camplight at Union Transfer and more

STS in the World Cafe studio | Photo by Rich McKie
STS in the World Cafe studio | Photo by Rich McKie

Philly rapper STS (aka Sugar Tongue Slim) opens the stacked lineup tonight at Underground Arts, joining Heems of Das Racist and Afrobeat electronic group The Very Best. This is STS’ first Philly show since the release of his latest, STS x RJD2, and the collaborative album joins his witty and oft-introspective rhymes with RJD2′s funky, party-ready backings and the occasional surprise guest hook from, oh, I don’t know, Amos Lee. Tickets and more info on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The War on Drugs blissed out The Tower for their biggest hometown show to date

vThe War on Drugs | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com
vThe War on Drugs | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

War on Drugs shows becoming a major event is a trend I can get behind. Last night, the Philly psych-rock favorites kicked off their winter tour by headlining the Tower Theater – their biggest-ever hometown show, preceding a run through the largest U.S. venues they’ve played to date.

It was the sixth time I’ve seen them perform and, like every other time, just when I think they can’t get more exciting, they up the ante. Continue reading →

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The Tallest Man on Earth will headline the Tower Theater with a full band

The Tallest Man on Earth | via DeadOceans.com
The Tallest Man on Earth | via DeadOceans.com

Kristian Matsson, otherwise known as The Tallest Man on Earth, has just announced an extensive upcoming tour, in which he will grace the Tower Theater come May 16, a few days after the release of his upcoming album Dark Bird Is Home. This is the latest release since 2012′s There’s No Leaving NowTickets will go on sale on Friday, Feb. 27.

Comparable to the likes of Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens, the Swedish singer-songwriter has given us a taste of the upcoming album with “Sagres,” a notably more involved track than his earlier, acoustic-centric material. Continue reading →

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Alt-J warmed up the crowd at The Tower Theater

 

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Alt-J | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

It was a bitter cold evening last night in Upper Darby, where many traveled to see the British indie rock group Alt-J on their headlining tour in support of this year’s This Is All Yours. After the global success of their debut An Awesome Wave, which won the Mercury Prize in 2012, the band start getting the rep as “The next Radiohead.” Last night, they definitely lived up to it.

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Primus make a career-defining statement at the Tower with Chocolate Factory show

Primus
Primus & The Chocolate Factory | photo by Julie Miller

Primus has nothing to prove to anybody.  They are at a golden point in their career that very few of their 90s contemporaries have been able to reach.  They have paid their dues, crafted a completely unique and totally unmistakable sound, worked tirelessly for years to carve out a loyal cult of a fanbase, and now can essentially expound upon any creative whim they happen to have at any given time.  This point was driven home at their Primus & The Chocolate Factory tour opener at The Tower Theater last Wednesday night.

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EDM visionary Porter Robinson rocked The Tower, well, like a DJ. And it was great.

Porter Robinson | Photo by John Vettese
Porter Robinson | Photo by John Vettese

One listen to his outstanding 2014 LP Worlds and it’s evident that Chapel Hill’s Porter Robinson stands out tremendously from the electronic dance music pack. It boasts a sophisticated sense of structure and song, of melodic and textural ideas that are the anthesis of the formulaic build-to-crescendo-to-bass-drop template that’s been all over the festival and club circuit for the past four or five years. As our Patrick Meehan pointed out in his concert preview last week, a quick disillusionment with the dance music factory led Robinson to refocus on writing what he viewed as a personal statement.

While his outside-the-box approach to the record is clear and commendable, his approach to performing, on display at The Tower on Friday night, still sits very much within the EDM DJ wheelhouse.  Continue reading →