“I think the first time I played here in Philadelphia — that was in 2008, opening for Bon Iver at the Trocadero — I was only this tall,” joked Kristian Matsson halfway through his set, motioning his hand at waist height. “Everyone was chattering on as they do during my set, but afterwards you were all so kind. You’re always so kind.” Matsson — known to most as The Tallest Man on Earth —has likely not grown physically all that much in the intervening eight years, the Swedish folkster’s musical career has certainly grown to towering proportions. Continue reading →
Despite vehemently protesting being one — charismatic frontman of The Vaccines Justin Hayward-Young is definitely some kind of teenage icon. Saturday night at the TLA, a substantial crowd of #teens packed in to see him and his band rip apart the South Street club. But far from being relegated to teen sensation, Hayward-Young and co. showcased nothing but pure swagger and true rock grit. Continue reading →
We just got our hands on “Gates of Dawn,” a fantastic new track from Heartless Bastards‘ upcoming album, Restless Ones. With a mix of Erika Wennerstrom’s deep and booming vocals, intricate layered guitar sounds and hard-hitting drum beats, “Gates of Dawn” marks a fresh, powerful sound coming from the four-piece alternative rock group – listen to it below. Continue reading →
Well, they finally went and did the damn thing. Modern Baseball sold out. Sold out The TLA, that is. On Thursday night, the loveable West Philly punks headlined an absolutely stacked lineup of bands and defended pop punk, hard. The evening was marked with smiles, tears and even some special guests, and the homeboys clearly enjoyed working their largest hometown crowd to date.
The evening kicked off with several quick sets from four up-and-coming bands who share the scene with Modern Baseball, and know how to rock the stage almost as well. First up was Boston’s Somos, whipping through a quick set of tunes from their debut LP Temple of Plenty. While their set was solid, it also didn’t have much in the way of memorable moments, and was quickly overshadowed—for me, at least—by the bands who followed them up on the bill. Continue reading →
J Roddy Walston & The Business | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Saturday night the TLA was filled almost to capacity with fans riled to see J Roddy Walston & The Business. The Richmond, VA foursome gathered on the stage to an exuberant amount of clapping and shouting. J Roddy took his place at the grand piano with his long hair in front of his face the majority of the time. At one point he told the audience that he was losing his voice after the long tour and asked them to help sing along.
Despite his illness, J Roddy definitely rocked out the house that night. During the encore he brought fans up to the stage to dance and sing to “Heavy Bells” and then proceeded to crowd surf for a few moments to end the night on a high. Check out photos from the show in the gallery, read the setlist and watch the singalong encore in the video below. Continue reading →
On Friday night, the TLA welcomed electronic pop artist, Charli XCX. The 22 year old English singer-songwriter released her debut album, True Romance in April 2013 but her biggest claim to success was from “I Love It,” the song she wrote and was performed by Icona Pop. “I Love It” became a #1 hit single in the UK and topped the charts in North America. Friday night, she performed backed by a band and group of dancers, some in Go-Go attire, others dressed like Catholic school girls. Continue reading →
Chicago alt-rocke four-piece Veruca Salt will be at TLA tonight. The band reunited after a fifteen year (too) long hiatus, and have been touring all around the U.S. About a month ago, they released a new single titled “It’s Holy,” which you can hear below. Find tickets for the all ages show here. Doors open at 7pm.
Signed to Temple University’s Bell Tower Music, Bucks County bred alt-rock outfit Mo Lowda and the Humble is no stranger to the Philly scene. They’ve played Underground Arts, World Cafe Live, MilkBoy and were a featured performer on SoFAR Philly. But the band’s upcoming gig – opening for The Unlikely Candidates at The TLA next Thursday – has to be one of the biggest the band has seen yet. But for a trio with their talent, it’s no surprise.
Mo Lowda has largely been compared to Kings of Leon, due to the deep, raw yet heartfelt singing of Jordan Caiola. His voice is eerily reminiscent of Leon’s Caleb Followill. But these guys reach far beyond any one genre or sound. Known for their energetic live acts, Mo Lowda’s style can switch from alt-rock to jazz funk, head banging one minute and digging into an all-out DMB groove fest the next. The latter thanks in large part to bassist Nate Matulist’s funk-filled bass playing. Combine that with Caiola’s high powered guitar riffs and Shane Woods’ energetic-drumming on drums and you’ve got quite the explosive experience.
The band is still young, having released their first full length Curse the Weather last September via Bell Tower, so this opening gig at the TLA should be great exposure. Plus, they’ve promised new tunes at the performance. Find tickets and more information on the show here. Listen to the track “Where the Whitetails Go” off of Curse the Weather below.
The story of Karmin is one of the most interesting in music the last few years. Engaged pop duo Nick Noonan and Amy Heidemann started out covering hits by other artists in an attempt to show off their talents. They amassed millions of views on YouTube and fulfilled the dreams of every struggling musician by getting signed to a major label. They got backed by Questlove of the Roots here and here. They released an EP called Hello in 2012 that yielded a hit in the form of the inescapably catchy “Brokenhearted.” Everything seemed to be going their way, but then the ride got bumpy. The first full length album, Pulses, has been complete for over a year but in limbo due to disagreements between Karmin and Epic Records. The band is out on the road for their first tour as headliners despite the album not being for sale (it’s scheduled for release 5/25), and gave an impressive show at the Theatre Of Living Arts on Friday night on one of the first dates of their Pulses tour. Continue reading →
Canadian singer/songwriter Basia Bulat performs at Boot & Saddle tonight. Bulat swings from playing autoharp to guitar to ukulele, and her resonant voice, which manages to be raw yet full, has garnered comparisons to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks. For Bulat’s most recent album, Tall Tall Shadow, she co-produced with Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury, who also played guitar and bass on some of the tracks. Find tickets and more information for the Boot & Saddle performance here. Download her performance of “Tall Tall Shadow” from her recent World Cafe session below.