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Play It Right: Sylvan Esso at Union Transfer

Sylvan Esso | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

 

It’s hard to imagine many bands that are more just plain fun than Sylvan Esso. And last weekend during two very sold-out shows at Union Transfer, they both had fun performing and shared their magical sense of passion and humor with an adoring crowd of fans. I had been waiting to see the band again for almost two years, since first encountering them in Wisconsin at Justin Vernon’s inaugural Eaux Claires festival — and getting to see their explosive presence touring behind the just-released What Now did not, of course, disappoint. Continue reading →

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Whitney bring the joyous Light Upon The Lake to Union Transfer

Whitney | photo by Tyler Asay for WXPN

On Monday night, Chicago indie rock band Whitney, who released their acclaimed debut Light Upon The Lake last year, played to fans both young and old at a packed Union Transfer. “This might be the biggest room we’ve played so far,” remarked vocalist/drummer Julian Ehrlich. “Get used to it!” exclaimed a voice from the audience, and he’s right. This talented six-piece, playing a modern version of soul/country-infused indie rock with catchy, cathartic melodies, only has larger rooms in front of them.

“The last time we were here in Philadelphia,” said Ehrlich, “We played at Johnny Brenda’s and there were five people there.” Whitney was started by Ehrlich (formerly of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and guitarist Max Kakacek (of the disbanded Smith Westerns) in Chicago in 2015. Their set, which lasted a little over an hour, was made up of all the songs from their record, with a couple new ones thrown in as well. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Downbeat surfer vibes flood Real Estate’s set

Real Estate | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

“Hope everyone’s doing okay out there out in noncommercial radio land,” Real Estate bassist, Alex Bleeker offered out to the packed upstairs crowd.

And radio land was definitely doing okay. Much more than okay, thanks to Real Estate’s infectious, upbeat set, where the easy-going four-piece treated radio land goers to new tracks off their recently released album, In Mind. Which the tongue-in-cheek band more than a few times said was already certified platinum, in a jokingly forced-nonchalant tone. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Jesus and Mary Chain at Union Transfer, Temples at Underground Arts

jesus and mary chain
The Jesus And Mary Chain | Photo by Steve Gullick

Scottish alt-rockers The Jesus and Mary Chain headline Union Transfer tonight in support of their new Damage and Joy LP. Released in March, the record marked the duo’s first new material since 1998 and despite the nearly 20-year break, the music is still just as hooky, just as 90s. Check out “Always Sad” below and pick up tickets for the all-ages show here.

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Against Me!’s tour with Bleached and The Dirty Nil comes to Union Transfer this fall

Against Me! | photo via againstme.bandcamp.com

Rolling off an angst-filled tour opening for Green Day, punk rock favorites Against Me! has announced a headlining tour of their own, with support from Bleached and The Dirty Nil.

Against Me! will be performing their most recent album, Shape Shift With Me, which is the band’s seventh full-length album. Serving as an honest portrayal of sex, love, and heartbreak, frontwoman Laura Jane Grace discusses in a press release her songwriting choice of focusing on personal narratives rather than politics. Continue reading →

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The Afghan Whigs announce North American tour, hitting Union Transfer in September

The Afghan Whigs | Courtesy of Sub Pop Records

With The Afghan Whigs releasing their new record In Spades this week, it was about damn time for them to get back on the road. Thankfully, we got our wish as the band announced a spanning North American tour in the fall, landing in our fair city for a gig at Union Transfer on September 12th. Support will come from Har Mar Superstar on all dates.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Old 97’s at Union Transfer, Dylan Jane at Boot & Saddle

Old 97s | courtesy of the artist
Old 97s | courtesy of the artist

Alt-country faves Old 97’s head to Union Transfer tonight with Nicole Atkins. Rhett Miller & co are touring in support of Graveyard Whistling, their 10th studio LP released this past February. Watch the video for “Good With God” (featuring a vocal cameo by Brandi Carlile and a drumming cameo by Fred Armisen) below and pick up tickets for the all-ages show here.

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Watch Kurt Vile bust out a jam with Tinariwen at Union Transfer

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Last night, Tinariwen took over Union Transfer for a night of relaxed jams, and while the Tuareg artists blew away the crowd with tunes and tones from the African desert, they wanted to throw a little bit of this city in.

Out of nowhere, Philly’s own Kurt Vile came on stage (introduced with an endearing “This is our friend…. It’s okay?”), sitting in on their atmospheric song “Tiwayyen”, a tune he guested on on the band’s new record Elwan.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Tinariwen at Union Transfer, Oddisee at TLA, John Patitucci & Daedalus Quartet at World Cafe Live, and more

Tinariwen | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Grammy-award winning Tuareg group Tinariwen will bring their sweeping sounds of the Sahara to Union Transfer tonight. The Malian rockers recently released their album, Elwan, which features contributions from Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes, and Matt Sweeney. Find more info on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and take a trip to a rock show in the desert by watching the video for “Sastanàqqàm” below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Verite at Union Transfer, Pine Barons at Kung Fu Necktie, Secret Nudist Friends at The Barbary

Verite | photo by Eric Ryan Anderson | via the artist’s Facebook page

Brooklyn-based singer, Kelsey Byrne, makes dark, indie electro-pop under the moniker, VERITE. She’s been releasing a slew of infectious singles and EP’s since 2014, with her debut album, Somewhere In Between, due out on June 23rd. Before then, you can experience VERITE’s expansive sound fill Union Transfer tonight when she opens for Betty Who. Find more info on tickets here and watch the tour video of VERITE’s awesome cover of The 1975’s, “Somebody Else,” below. Continue reading →