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The Power of Two: Listen to the 22 bands playing Two Piece Fest XI this weekend

Honeytiger | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Honeytiger | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Whoever established that most bands should have more than two members clearly never encountered the surprising power of a duo. For 11 years now, Two Piece Fest has been proving just how great a two-person act can be. The annual celebration of duos is a much-anticipated tradition of the local DIY scene each year, and this year’s lineup is finally here. Continue reading →

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Celebrate 10 years of Two Piece Fest with The Afterglows, HIRS and more

two piece fest
The Afterglows | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

How do you squeeze over twenty bands on a bill for a festival in the basement of the First Unitarian Church and have the show run smoothly? Two stages, ten years of experience, and just enough time between acts for the packed crowd to shuffle from one end of the room to the other. The folks behind Two Piece Fest have been doing this for a decade now, so when the annual event hits the Church on February 25th we can expect the usual jam-packed day of celebrating duos of all sounds and styles.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Two Piece Fest IX at First Unitarian Church, Ben Arnold at Underground Arts, Winter Doldrums Fest at World Cafe Live and more…

two piece fest
Joint Chiefs of Math | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

The ninth annual Two Piece Fest takes place at the First Unitarian Church today. As we previously reported, the day-long event is “an exercise in mayhem and minimalism that brings the DIY scene together, one duo at a time.” This year’s line-up includes Joint Chiefs of Math, Brown Rainbow, Empty Vessels and a dozen more. Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here; listen to Joint Chiefs’ “Get Rich or Try Dyin'” below.

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Slingshot Dakota, Trophy Wife, +HIRS+ playing Two-Piece Fest 8 at PiLam

Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly
Slingshot Dakota | photo by Megan Kelly

In its unique dedication to musicians who come in duos, Two-Piece Fest has announced the lineup for its eighth annual show. The daylong DIY-scene show was created by Philly natives Peter Helmis of Algernon Cadwallader and Craig Woods of Towers. They established TPF back in 2007 for their own two-person collaboration, Peter & Craig. This year’s show will take place on February 14th at Pilam in West Philly. Continue reading →

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Weekend Picks: The Low Anthem at First Unitarian Church + AMP! All-Ages Summit at The Rotunda, 2-Piece Fest at The Ox

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25
WXPN Welcomes Providence, RI’s The Low Anthem, which is touring behind its brand-new album, Smart Flesh. Former Low Anthem member Daniel Lefkowitz—who wrote the fan favorite “This God Damn House”—opens. The Low Anthem performs with Bobby and Daniel Lefkowitz at 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are $15.

Also playing: Michael Showalter at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, SOLD OUT); KFN; Revolver + Jac, When I Was 12 at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Flogging Molly + Moneybrother, The Drowning Men at Electric Factory (7 p.m., SOLD OUT); Creepoid + Invisible Days, The Vandelles, Lux Perpetua at Tritone (9 p.m., 21+)

Two-Piece Fest 4

Photo by John Vettese

2-Piece Fest 4 begins at 2 p.m. Sat., 2/26, at The Ox

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Why put up with multiple rock-star-wannabe egos and haul around a ton of music equipment when you could keep things simple and start a duo? This year’s Two-Piece Fest features close to two dozen local-ish acts who, for whatever reason, decided two musicians was enough. The massive lineup—which features Slutever, The Joint Chiefs Of Math, Hulk Smash, Best Friends, and Peter And Craig—might feel overwhelming; when you’ve got that many bands on one fest’s bill, excessive delays seem like an inevitability. But that’s just another one of the many benefits of being in a two-piece: You’re able to set up, play your set, and break down with a minimum of time and effort. The performances begin at 2 p.m. at The Ox; tickets to the all-ages show are $8.

Anyone who’s been denied entrance to a live-music performance because they were underage doesn’t need to be reminded about the importance of all-ages shows. Whether you’re currently under 21+ and want to vent your frustrations (while discussing alternatives), or are over 21 and want to share your own experiences, tonight’s All-Ages Movement Project‘s East Coast Summit has plenty to offer. Dischord Records co-founder Ian MacKaye will be the keynote speaker at tonight’s event, which will also feature live performances by Philly’s own Slutever and SGNLS. Other confirmed speakers include R5 Productions‘ Andy Nelson, Sugar Town’s Sara Sherr, Fredericksburg All Ages‘ Adam Bray, and Girls Rock Philly!‘s Beth Warshaw-Duncan; Grace Ambrose, who organized last week’s panel discussion with Kathleen Hanna and Sara Marcus, will moderate the discussion. The event begins at 5 p.m. at The Rotunda; tickets to the all-ages event are $10-$15 (which includes a copy of AMP’s book, In Every Town: An All-Ages Music Manifesto).

Also playing: The John Byrne Band + Citizens Band Radio at World Cafe Live (9 p.m., $13-$18); Franz Nicolay + David Dondero at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $8); Do You Need The Service +Univox, The Better Letters at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27
WXPN Welcomes Steve Earle, who performs at Johnny Brenda’s tonight as part of a benefit for Witness To Innocence. (WTI is a national organization “founded by, led by, and composed of exonerated death row survivors” that seeks “to abolish the death penalty, to conduct self-advocacy campaigns to win just compensation for the exonerated, and to build a peer-support community of exonerated death row survivors and their loved ones; you can read more about the organization here.) Steve Earle performs at Johnny Brenda’s at 7 p.m.; tickets to the 21+ show are SOLD OUT.

Also playing: “Three-Piece Fest” at Danger Danger Gallery (7 p.m., $5-$10); Folkadelphia presents Meg Baird + Arborea at Johnny Brenda’s JB’s (1 p.m., 7 p.m.); Blood Features + The Cobbs, Dressed Like Stolen Cars at Kung Fu Necktie (8 p.m., 21+, $5)

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The elusive “Two-Piece Fest 4”: It’s real—just like Bigfoot. (And we have photographic evidence)

Two-Piece Fest 4

Try as it might, no word-of-mouth festival at a DIY venue is entirely safe from the all-knowing eyes of the Internet. Of course, any festival that has event pages on Facebook and Myspace (as this year’s “Two-Piece Fest” does) isn’t really all that hush-hush to begin with—even if those pages contain relatively limited information. (“KEEP THE ADDRESS OFF THE INTERNET!,” says the Facebook page, as if half the city doesn’t already know where The Ox is—and the other half can’t find the address online.) Last Friday morning, Y Rock’s John Vettese snapped this photo of a flier for the show, which is the first real-life confirmation of the event we’ve seen so far. (The “official hard copy” of the flier was posted on Facebook less than 24 hours ago.) This year’s not-so-secret lineup features several of the same acts as last year (including The Joint Chiefs Of Math, Hulk Smash, Best Friends, and Peter And Craig), but seriously, how many two-piece bands do you expect the city of Philadelphia to produce?

Actually, as the flier shows, Philly has produced a good number of musical duos. Is that due to indie-nation’s current obsession over all things stripped down and lo-fi? Or maybe it’s just because most musicians are stubborn pains in the asses—and the fewer people in any given band, the better? Either way, the event organizers aren’t into exclusivity: This year’s Two-Piece Fest at The Ox on Feb. 26 is bookended by a “One-Piece Fest” (Feb. 25 at The Mausoleum) and a “Three-Piece Fest” (Feb. 27 at Danger Danger Gallery).