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All Grown Up: Modern Baseball comes of age at the TLA

photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

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 →

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Losing his voice, J Roddy Walston turns to the TLA crowd for help

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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 →

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UK dance-pop sensation Charli XCX takes The TLA by storm

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Charli XCX | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Veruca Salt at TLA, Michael Franti and Spearhead at Mann Center, Conjunto Chapptoin y Sus Estrellas at World Cafe Live

Photo Credit: Gary Kordan
Photo by Gary Kordan

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.

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Eclectic jam trio Mo Lowda and the Humble will make a splash at The TLA opening for The Unlikely Candidates

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Mo Lowda | Photo via https://www.facebook.com/MoLowda

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.

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Karmin kicked off its Pulses tour with a high-energy TLA show

Karmin | Photo by Pete Troshak | shak74.com
Karmin | Photo by Pete Troshak | shak74.com

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Basia Bulat at Boot and Saddle, Aaron and the Spell at World Cafe Live, Jonathan Richman at Union Transfer and more

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Photo by Chris La Putt | chrislaputt.com

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.

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Tonight’s concert picks: Pattern is Movement at Union Transfer, Beats Antique at TLA, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin at North Star Bar and more

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Photos by Peter English

Philly duo Pattern is Movement brings their high-pitched vocals and dynamic blend of keyboards, vocals and drums to Union Transfer tonight. Gaining notable recognition for their recent cover of D’Angelo’s “Unititled (How Does it Feel),” the group is getting ready to release its fourth album (and first since 2008). Their single “Suckling” is reminiscent of what James Blake would sound like blended with organ-like keyboard vamps and drums. Their music is like nothing out there, and the show is sure to be a treat. Get tickets here. Below, listen to “Suckling.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Heyward Howkins at Ortlieb’s, Northern Valentine at Random Tea Room, River City Extension at TLA

howkins-2Folk singer/songwriter Heyward Howkins plays Ortlieb’s Lounge tonight. Howkins released a single in December 2012, entitled “Praline Country“, as well as his debut full length The Hale & Hearty in June 2012. Go here to watch a video of Hawkins playing his song “Flimsy Stock”. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Break It Up, Dreambook and Taggart can be found here. Below, enjoy the music video for “Sugar Sand Stitched Lip” off of Howkins’ album The Hale & Hearty.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: James Blake at TLA, Todd Rundgren at Trocadero, Geoff Rickly at North Star Bar

james-blake-500Electronic singer/songwriter James Blake stops by the Theatre of Living Arts tonight. In April, Blake released his sophmore album Overgrown. The new album brings back Blake’s beautiful voice and rhythmic electronics. Tickets and information for the all ages show can be found here. Below, check out the music video for “Retrograde” off of Blake’s new album Overgrown.

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