“Ladies and gentleman, I regret to inform you that you’re already dead.”
These were the opening words of Steven Ellison—aka Flying Lotus—to the crowd at Upper Darby’s Tower Theater, as he stood shrouded behind a prism-like projector screen that could almost pass for a bullhorn. He followed that statement with a swift salvo of beats that sounded anything but dead, certainly never dull. Continue reading →
Italy’s JoyCut are bringing a world tour to Johnny Brenda’s tonight in support of its latest LP PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround. The Bologna-based electronic trio was introduced to wider audiences through tours with Arcade Fire and Modest Mouse, winning over crowds with their optimistically upbeat dark-wave compositions. Pieces was released on Italian label IRMA Records in 2013. Watch JoyCut perform “Wireless” and “Domino” live below. Tickets and information for the 21+ show with Bells and The Silence Kit can be found here. Continue reading →
To describe Steven Ellison, better known as the Los Angeles-bred Flying Lotus, with traditional signifiers is a pretty difficult endeavor. He’s not quite a jazz artist, although his pieces smack of the heavy-concept, free-form complexity that defines that genre in the 21st century. He’s not quite a hip-hop producer, although his rhythms derive from the canon of that world’s sonic tapestry and ground performances from superstar luminaries like Kendrick Lamar. And he’s not even an electronic artist, despite his heavy use of blippy synths and membership on the genre-defining (and -redefining) Warp Records label. Continue reading →
It’s going to be a party at 69th Street tonight when EDM poster boy Porter Robinson will be at the Tower Theater performing his debut album Worlds, which was met with mostly positive reviews from critics. As Rolling Stone states, “Although it doesn’t sound quite like EDM, Worlds manages to retain the thrilling rush of emotions that the best raves inspire.” Robinson’s music may not sound like typical electronic dance music, but there’s something about it that gives you a jolt of positive energy. With songs like “Sad Machine,” which you can check out below, Robinson manages to leave everyone feeling rejuvenated. Tickets and information for the show can be found here. Continue reading →
Porter Robinson‘s experiences as a teenager and young adult are pretty unique. At just 18 years old, one of Porter’s first singles, “Say My Name,” reached Beatport’s #1 spot, quickly followed by his follow-up, “I’m On Fire.” After the resulting explosion onto the electronic scene back in 2010, Porter kept the momentum going, playing festivals all around the world, including multiple Ultra and Electric Daisy iterations. Continue reading →
Alternative pop/rock duo Twenty One Pilots lit up the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby last night. The Columbus, Ohio band attracted enough fans for two sold-out performances, both Saturday and Sunday. I, along with four city blocks of people, waited outside to get a prime spot for the general admission performance. (Some devoted fans claimed to have spent the night outside the Tower in order to get a front row spot.) Continue reading →
Beloved indie folk outfit The Head And The Heart are playing The Tower Theater on December 5th. The Seattle five-piece, who is currently touring in support of its 2013 sophomore effort, Let’s Be Still, has come into its own among heavyweights on the scene. Continue reading →
Ryan Adams must have had as much fun as we did during his headlining slot at XPN Fest. The rock singer-songwriter has already announced plans to return to the city on November 19th for a show at the Tower Theater, which will be in support of his forthcoming self-titled record.
When people outside of Philadelphia think of our fair city, the following comes to mind: cheesesteaks, sports teams with middling records, and Boyz II Men.
While the first two items evoke eye-rolls I think we can all agree that we’re proud of being the town that bore one of the most successful groups of the 1990’s. When Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman took the stage of The Tower Theater on Saturday night, the reaction was rapturous. “On Bended Knee” showed up as only their third song in their set, and to say the crowd went wild would be an understatement. Wanya literally got down on his one knee and held various members of the crowd’s hands, evoking hysteria. I must say when Nathan started his verse, I got a little giddy myself.
Shawn took time out to thank the crowd for the continued support and say how they never forgot where they came from. This led to a trip back to 1991 with a performance of “Please Don’t Go” (complete with boy group dance moves) and was followed quickly by “Uhh Ahh,” which the younger crowd may recognize as the song recently sampled by Beyonce on her single “Countdown.”
The guys then moved on to their covers set: Motown favorites which got the crowd moving and then old-school power ballads. Nathan explained that they were offered the Lonestar track “Amazed” before the country one-hit wonders took it for their own. As he explained, now we hear the song in malls, bathrooms, and elevators all the world over. Needless to say, they felt kind of foolish having rejected the song but determined to record it themselves at some point. Boyz made it their own and as someone who does not care for the Lonestar version, I was floored.
One more surprise awaited us when Shawn and Nathan grabbed a guitar and bass and explained that their new album (Collide, which is being released in September) is going in a slightly different direction. The two songs the trio performed sounded more pop/rock than their previous work, evoking thoughts of “Unpretty,” by TLC or “Stay,” by Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. Most times when a band says “This is a new one,” that’s the cue for the audience to get up and grab a drink or hit the restroom but Boyz fans are loyal and seemed to really enjoy these teasers as much as the more familiar tunes.
This all led up to the big finale: armed with roses, the guys serenaded those who rushed the stage with their mega-hit “I’ll Make Love To You” while handing the flowers out to the excited women. They followed up with a few more of the love ballads that we all know and adore. Of course they couldn’t leave a hometown crowd without performing “Motownphilly,” complete with the group showing off their 90’s hip hop moves. Even after the song was over and they took their bows, Wanya, Nathan, and Shawn stayed to shake hands and say hello to their fans.
Many groups who have been together for 22 years go through the motions, take their pay, and call it a night but Boyz II Men seem to really still enjoy each other and those who support them. Many stuck around after the show, and when I got to the front lobby to leave, there was a huge crowd doing the Cha Cha Slide, waiting for their hometown heroes.
Acoustic folk trio Nickel Creek are riding high on the success of their new album A Dotted Line, which arrived last month and coincided with their 25th anniversary as a band. Tonight they bring the excitement to the Tower Theater stage. Mostly folk but at times leaning toward bluegrass, their music, which rests on the band’s intricate musicianship and harmonies, has a raw quality that’s soulful at heart. Watch them perform “Rest Of My Life” live on Soundcheck below and get tickets here.