By

Chasing fate with Jacopo de Nicola and his local Italian folk trio The Late Saints

Photo by Daniel Mezick
Photo by Daniel Mezick

You might say the emergence of local trio The Late Saints was a matter of fate.

Jacopo de Nicola, guitarist, kazoo player and leader of the self-styled “Italian gypsy folk” band was born in Italy and originally trained as a bass player. While still in Italy, he performed in a variety of bands ranging from a goth act to a twelve-piece traditional Italian orchestra and a techno-jazz trio. In 2003 he started writing original music, and it soon became his main musical focus.

Around this time, he made a fortuitous 500-mile hike along the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James. a pilgrimage route in Western Europe. The path came to be in medieval times after the remains of St. James – or what was believed to be his remains – were discovered and a cathedral was eventually erected in Galicia, Spain.

“I started at the modern-accepted starting point of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the mountains of France,” Nicola says. “I started by myself but I met lots of people along the way. I learned that walking the Camino is like walking through life. You meet all sorts of people and situations. So it’s very important to stick to your true self and not get swayed. Because some people can really take you off your path. So it has physical and spiritual consequence, because if you walk too fast or too slow, or don’t respect yourself and do things that can harm you, you can really suffer because it’s such an intense experience.”

Along this walk Nicola met his wife, who was in France specifically for the trek. He says that she was on the Camino with a friend and they kept intersecting paths.

“When you start, it’s almost like you’re predetermined to see certain people,” he explains while picking at a small plate of orzo salad in an East Passyunk café. “Somehow you keep seeing the same people. But there are also people that start at the same time as you and you’ll never see them again. It almost incredible; kind of serendipitous.”

Nicola feels that way about playing with his current lineup, which formed earlier this year. He also feels that way about using his trademark instrument, the kazoo.

While recording an album he never released, he was in the studio and originally imagined a trumpet on some of the songs. He didn’t have the money to hire a session musician and decided he’d play it himself, but the studio did not have a trumpet. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Macy Gray at World Cafe Live, Delco Pacers at MilkBoy, Astronauts Really Fly at The Blockley, and more

Photo by Jan Prunk
Photo by Jan Prunk

Ohio bred R&B artist and actress Macy Gray brings her unique vocals and whimsical musical sense to World Cafe Live tonight for the 14th anniversary of her 1999 release On How Life Is. Gray has released six album in the years since then, most recently appearing in 2012 with a full-album cover of Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book. Find tickets for tonight’s show here. Watch her Jay Leno performance of Stevie’s “Tuesday Heartbreak.”

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Orb at The Trocadero, James Hunter Six at World Cafe Live at The Queen, XPN Welcomes Diego Garcia at World Cafe Live and more

1391488_10151972391256214_659680703_n

English electronic duo The Orb bring their 25th anniversary tour to The Trocadero tonight.  Bandmates Alex Paterson and Martin “Youth” Glover have marked the quarter-century milestone with a new album called More Tales from the Orbservatory, released on Cooking Vinyl this past June.  The album matches the auditory structure of earlier releases, synching European-sounding house music with vocal samples that are usually spoken rather than sung.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show can be found here.  Watch a live video of The Orb performing “Little Fluffy Clouds” below.

Continue reading →

By

Listen back to Diego Garcia’s Free at Noon performance (playing World Cafe Live on 10/23)

Diego Garcia | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com All photos by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

Last week, Diego Garcia performed a WXPN Free at Noon concert from the cafe stage of World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington. Next Wednesday, Garcia and his band make their way to Philadelphia to perform at the original World Cafe Live in support of the new LP Paradise, released this month. Get a taste of what’s in store by checking out the archive of their set at the Queen in its entirety below; click “launch player.”

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hop Along / The Sidekicks at The First Unitarian Church, Future Islands at World Café Live Wilm

hop alongIndie rock outfits Hop Along (from Philly) and The Sidekicks (from Columbus, Ohio) play a double header show at The First Unitarian Church tonight. Don’t miss it because Hop Along has two new songs they plan to debut on this tour. Check out show details and get tickets here. Watch The Sidekicks perform “Grace” in their Vegas Stripped Down Session and Hop Along’s video for “Sister Cities” below.

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN welcomes Aimee Mann & Ted Leo to World Cafe Live at The Queen, Sparks at The Trocadero, Modern Baseball at The Barbary

aimee

XPN welcomes Aimee Mann and Ted Leo to World Cafe Live at The Queen tonight.  After sharing a bill last fall while Mann was promoting her latest Charmer LP, the singer-songwriter and Ted Leo teamed up for a proper collaboration called #BOTH earlier this year.  The pair will return to their usual roles for this tour, however, with Leo filling in the support slot and probably reprising songs from the discography of his band The Pharmacists, as well as possibly (and hopefully) previewing songs from a new album he’s been working on.  Tickets and information for the Wilmington, DE show can be found here.  Below, watch Aimee Mann perform “Labrador” on Conan with help from Ted Leo.

Sparks headline The Trocadero tonight.  The LA synthpop duo got its start in the early 70s, subsequently making their mark with over 20 albums.  Their quirky stage presence is reflective of their quirky songwriting style, as the band of brothers Ron and Russell Mael have become known for their witty lyrics and cultural references.  Sparks latest studio release was 2009′s The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman and they put out their first ever live recording, titled Two Hands One Mouth, last month.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here.  Below, watch the band perform “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both of Us.”

Local band Modern Baseball play The Barbary tonight.  Recent headlines for the punk / pop four-piece have made references to their signing with Run for Cover Records, a reissue of their wildly popular Sports debut, a Valentine’s Day split for highly-regarded label Topshelf records and their ability to draw a crowd when they play a show.  Currently on tour along the East Coast, Modern Baseball will help out fellow Philadelphians The Wonder Years with their record release show in May (more information here).  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Light Years and Safe can be found here.  Below, watch Modern Baseball perform “Broken Cash Machine” for Maggot House Records‘ Piss Couch Sessions.

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Citizen Cope to World Cafe Live at The Queen, Hound at Kung Fu Necktie, Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Musikfest Cafe

XPN welcomes Citizen Cope to World Cafe Live at The Queen.  Cope (off-stage name: Clarence Greenwood) released One Lovely Day last year.  Though primarily focusing on an acoustic singer-songwriter style these days, the Memphis-born musician and producer blends his background in hip hop with the occasional electronic flourish to amp up his laid-back delivery.  Tickets and information for tonight’s full-band show in Wilmington can be found here.  Below, watch Citizen Cope and his band perform “Bullet and a Target” live at the Austin City Limits Festival.

Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ellie Goulding at The Electric Factory, Auctioneer with Ross Bellenoit at Puck, Leather at Kung Fu Necktie, Dope Body at The Depot, Riley Road at World Cafe Live at The Queen, XPN Welcomes Tommy Conwell to The Blockley

Following up her Free at Noon performance today, Ellie Goulding headlines the Electric Factory tonight.  The British electronic / pop musician released her LP Halcyon late last year after topping both BBC’s The Sound Of 2010 poll and the Critic’s Choice Award at The Brit Awards that same year. Blending infectious synth hooks and soulful singer-songwriter lyrics, Goulding has placed herself in the center of a resurging musical venn diagram that includes Lykke Li, Jesse Ware and Emeli Sande.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show can be found here.  Below, watch the video for Halcyon single “Anything Could Happen.”

Continue reading →

By

Watch an alternate-take video of “Caverns” from Hundred Waters (playing The Abbey Bar on 1/31 and World Cafe Live at The Queen on 2/1)

Gainesville, Florida’s Hundred Waters released a breathtaking self-titled LP last year on dub step / electronic label OWSLA.  In May 2012, Hundred Waters re-recorded two tracks from their full-length to be released as a limited edition 7″ through Small Plates Records (Gracie, High Highs) this coming spring.  While the album cut of “Caverns” is unleashed with gauzy, twinkling bells crescendoing into multi-layered electronic patterns, the re-imagined version is a solo piano take with vocalist Nicole Miglis.  Watch the Yours Truly session video for “Caverns” below; Hundred Waters will open for Freelance Whales on January 31st at The Abbey Bar in Harrisburg, PA and on February 1st at World Cafe Live at The Queen in Wilmington, DE.  Tickets and information for both shows can be found here.  Pre-order “Caverns” b/w “Visitors” here.

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: St. James & The Apostles at RUBA, Folkadelphia presents ((TACO)), Prairie Empire and The Sun Flights at Green Line Cafe, We’re About 9 at PSALM Salon, XPN Welcomes Garland Jeffreys at World Cafe Live at The Queen, Many Arms at The Rotunda

St. James & the ApostlesHardworking Philly outfit St. James & The Apostles play RUBA Club Studios tonight alongside Themuffinmanisaband.  St. James is Jamie Mahon and The Apostles are Mahon’s cousin Mike Kiker and second-cousin Jeff Castner.  Together, the trio fuses anthematic rock with moments of twang and the refreshing power of Kiker’s organ playing on their latest record Baphomet.  More information about the 21+ show can be found here.  Below, watch St. James & The Apostles’ BITBY video filmed this past October.

Continue reading →