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Todd Rundgren’s Shifting Utopias

Todd Rundgren's Utopia Group | photo by Danny O'connor | courtesy of the artist
Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Group | photo by Danny O’connor | courtesy of the artist

The last time audiences caught a Todd Rundgren (and there are many to choose from), they were treated to a sound more in league with his sumptuous, blue-eyed soul past (such as 1972’s epic Something/Anything), teamed with the often caustic lyricism of, say, 2004’s Liars, the result of which was 2017’s White Knight, and its singularly humorous Trump-bashing “Tin Foil Hat.”

Now, in 2018, Rundgren is returning to an occasionally more peaceful (or existentially humanist) set of lyrics and a Technicolor progressive rock-ist sound with his ensemble Utopia, a box set of collected works and a tour that brings him home to Upper Darby and the Tower Theater on May 5.

“When I first formed Utopia in the 70s, a lot of it had to do with the fact that as a songwriter working primarily at that time on the piano, that I had put aside the guitar,” said the man whose 60s instrumental roots were in the bluesy Woody’s Truck Stop and the psychedelic The Nazz. “I started getting the feeling after Something/Anything, that I was losing my chops. I hadn’t created the opportunity as a songwriter or producer for the sort-of guitar playing I wanted to do.” Continue reading →

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Todd Rundgren is hitting the road to Utopia this spring

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia | Courtesy of Live Nation

Todd Rundgren is going on tour this spring with Utopia, his progressive rock band formed in 1973. They are playing two shows in the area; Saturday, May 5th at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, and they open the tour at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA, on Wednesday, April 18th. The reunion features Rundgren, original members Kasim Sulton (bass) and drummer Willie Wilcox of Utopia and keyboardist Ralph Schuckett of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Symphony for a Broken Orchestra at the 23rd Street Armory, Todd Rundgren at the Keswick Theatre, Spoon at the Sherman Theater

Symphony for a Broken Orchestra | photo by Neda Ulaby | courtesy of NPR

Symphony for a Broken Orchestra is a city-wide effort to support music education in Philadelphia’s public schools — tonight, hundreds of musicians will come together at the 23rd Street Armory to perform an original composition on the school district’s broken, battered and worn-out instruments, with goal of getting all fixable instruments repaired and back into the schools, which lack the funds to fix them. You may have caught NPR’s feature on the effort a few days ago — read that here, and find more information on Symphony for a Broken Orchestra on their website. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mothers at Milkboy, The Bacon Brothers at Union Transfer, Todd Rundgren at Sherman Theater and more…

mothers
Mothers | Photo by Kristin Karch | courtesy of the artist

Tonight’s Communion Residency at Milkboy features Athens, GA based outfit Mothers. Performing in the gritty rock and roll vein of Those Darlins’ and Alabama Shakes, Mothers are prepping for the release of their debut LP When You Walk a Long Distance. Listen to their latest single “Copper Mines” below and pick up tickets to the 21+ showcase here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Angus and Julia Stone at Union Transfer, David Bazan at the First Unitarian Church, Todd Rundgren at the Keswick Theater

Angus and Julia Stone
Angus and Julia Stone | photo courtesy of the artists

Australian brother-sister act Angus and Julia Stone make an appearance at Union Transfer tonight.  The duo teamed up again for this year’s self-titled LP, following a handful of solo efforts that were released after 2010’s critically acclaimed Down the Way.  While primarily an acoustic folk project, the Stones approach their songs from a blues angle.  Watch their video for “A Heartbreak” below and pick up tickets here.

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