The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock and others playing Rail Park Benefit at Union Transfer on 12/4

The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock, Light Heat, Jeff Ziegler and Mary Lattimore, Birdie Busch, and the Dufalo Brothers are playing Union Transfer on Wednesday, December 4th. The show is a benefit for Phase One of the Rail Park with all the proceeds going to the Friends of the Rail Park, a non-profit that has been advocating the planning, designing and envisioning of a continuous 3-mile linear park along the former Philadelphia & Reading Rail line corridor. Friends of the Rail Park outlined their vision and plans last Spring, outlined in this article about it in Hidden City Philadelphia. Nathaniel Popkin writes:

The proposed park meets the elevated Reading Viaduct just east of and directly below Broad Street at the section of the railway known as the SEPTA Spur. The 1/5 mile long, elevated Spur–which will undergo an $8 million transformation into a park beginning in 2014–together with the City Branch, which is also owned predominantly by SEPTA, would constitute a two mile long linear rails-to-trails park, connecting the Callowhill neighborhood to Fairmount Park. The rest of the railroad viaduct heading north from the SEPTA Spur is owned by the Reading Corporation. The firm, based in California, has demonstrated little interest in selling the Viaduct to the City of Philadelphia.

The new below-grade park would extend from two points at the east end: the connection to the SEPTA Spur, where the rail viaduct dips under Broad Street (which is a bridge over the railway) and at Broad and Buttonwood in front of the School District Administration building. A key to the plan is the planned reconstruction of the Broad Street bridge, owned by PennDOT. Planners hope to convince the agency to install see-through railings and to puncture the bridge with light towers that are to be installed in the center of North Broad (lighting the space above and below). The parking lot now in front of the School District building would be replaced with a multi-level public space leading to the park.

Take a tour of the proposed Rail Park in this video below.

Get tickets to the Friends of the Rail Park benefit with The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock, Light Heat, Jeff Ziegler, Mary Lattimore, Birdie Busch and the Dufalo Brothers here.

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Through the years with The Walkmen at Union Transfer (photos, review, video)

For once, The Walkmen seem comfortable enough to take a quick breath and a look back.

Their seventh studio album, Heaven, is just over six months old, they’re heading out on a new round of tour dates in support of it. And appearing at Union Transfer on Friday with twelve years of back catalogue under their belts, the New York / Philly five-piece appeared relaxed moreso than rushed.

This wasn’t always the case. Used to be this was a band where I  could always count on their live shows containing zero material I was familiar with. A Pi Lam set in early 2003 featured mostly songs from Bows and Arrows, which wasn’t released for another year and change. A 2007 show at Johnny Brenda’s happened not long after their homage to Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats came out, but it largely showcased You & Me, which wasn’t released until 2008. And so on. The band was always looking forward, and that’s why we loved them.

Taking the stage on Friday following an opening solo set by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah frontman Alec Ounsworth (and after treating a handful of fans to a spaghetti dinner and a warm-up set of covers), The Walkmen were fully in retrospective mode. Continue reading →

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The Walkmen served a spaghetti dinner, covered Bob Seger at Union Transfer (photos, review, setlist)

You’ve got to hand it to The Walkmen – truly they are men of their word. When they announced back in November that they would atone for their cancelled Electric Factory show with a new date at Union Transfer in January – and a pre-concert spaghetti dinner for their Philly fans – it seemed like a farce. But there we were, waiting in line while the perpetually suit-and-tie clad rockers and their friends served up dinner.

Some hundred and fifty people turned out for the pre-concert meal (we’ll have a review of the concert itself tomorrow) and, to their credit, The Walkmen did an admirable job recreating the Italian restaurant vibe of Union Transfer’s previous Spaghetti Warehouse incarnation. Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” was piping through the speakers upon arrival at 5. Later, the playlist moved on to Dean Martin: “Mambo Italiano,” “Sway” and “That’s Amore.” Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Walkmen at Union Transfer, Grimace Federation at Kung Fu Necktie, The Cobbs at Johnny Brenda’s, David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket at The Colonial Theatre

Philly / New York rockers The Walkmen headline tonight at Union Transfer.  Replacing a canceled October show, the local favorites return to Philly in support of 2012′s Heaven.  In an effort to take the album in a new direction, the band brought in producer Phil Ek for a fresh sound.  The ambition paid off, with Heaven being named Magnet’s number one album of 2012 and the title track landing at spot #56 on XPN’s Top 200 Songs Countdown.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah can be found here.  Below, watch The Walkmen’s video for “Heaven.”

Continue reading →

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Watch: Bands in the Backyard sits in on a Light Heat rehearsal with with guest players Peter Bauer of The Walkmen and Skye Skjelset of Fleet Foxes

This is sweet – the Bands in the Backyard crew got to sit in on a Light Heat rehearsal in preparation for some dates the band has coming up in New York (January 12 at The Cake Shop) Philly (February 23rd at Johnny Brenda’s). Joining them are guest players Peter Bauer of The Walkmen on keys and Skye Skjelset of Fleet Foxes on guitar, and they’re rocking out to an as-yet unreleased jam from the pen of Light Heat mastermind Quentin Stoltzfus. Check it out below, find out more about the Johnny Brenda’s date at WXPN’s Concert Calendar.

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Watch The Walkmen’s new Take Away Show from the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris (playing Union Transfer on 01/11)

A few weeks ago, and La Blogotheque teamed up with Converse at the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris to film several episodes of Take Away Shows.  To start of the series, Pitchfork shared The Walkmen‘s poignant take of “We Can’t Be Beat” from Heaven (check out a photo-recap of their set at the Festival here).  Upcoming episodes will feature How to Dress Well, Jessie Ware and Cloud Nothings.  The Walkmen return to Philadelphia for a show at Union Transfer on January 1st (tickets and information here).

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From Across The Pond: Photos and video of The Walkmen and more from Pitchfork Music Festival Paris

Our contributing writer / photographer Rachel Barrish is studying in Rome this fall, and this past weekend took the opportunity to head north for the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris. From Rachel:

I was in attendance on Friday evening with featured performances from Tallest Man on Earth, The Walkmen, Wild Nothing, Animal Collective, and more. The festival took place at the Grand Hall de Vilette, a large auditorium fit with two stages on either end. The room was filled with people excited and eager to catch their next favorite act.

Check out her photos in the gallery above, and watch a video of Tallest Man on Earth playing “Revelation Blues” below.

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