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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lil John Roberts at World Cafe Live, Arbor Christmas Show, Joint Chiefs of Math at PhilaMOCA

Lil' John Roberts | Photo via facebook.com/LilJohnRobertsfanpage
Lil’ John Roberts | Photo via facebook.com/LilJohnRobertsfanpage

Accomplished jazz drummer Lil John Roberts headlines World Cafe Live downstairs today. His 20-year career has included collaborations with a variety of pop, R&B and jazz legends, from Janet Jackson to Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder. This year, however, marked the first time the Philly-born Roberts released an LP under his own name. Heartbeats is a collection of slick, suave grooves that incorporate funk and soul into expansive songs. He also worked with a slew of collaborators on this outing, including Robert Glasper, Eric Roberson Musiq Soulchild and Ursula Rucker. Tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch the music video for “Space,” the opening track on Heartbeats. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lemuria at Boot and Saddle, HighKick at World Cafe Live, Liz Longley at Ardmore Music Hall and more

Lemuria | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Lemuria | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

Buffalo-bred indie pop trio Lemuria return to Philly tonight for a headlining gig at Boot and Saddle. The band has been touring pretty hard in support of its 2013 outing The Distance is So Big, released on Bridge 9 records, so they’re likely due for a follow-up in 2015. Maybe they’ll introduce some new songs in their set tonight. In the meantime, listen to “Oahu, Hawaii” below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cheerleader at Johnny Brenda’s, Kalob Griffin Band at Union Transfer, York Street Hustle at World Cafe Live and more…

Photo via https://www.facebook.com/cheerleadersounds
Photo via https://www.facebook.com/cheerleadersounds

Cheerleader headline a night of local music at Johnny Brenda’s. The band just announced that they will be making the journey down to SXSW next March to showcase their new EP On Your Side. Cheerleader has been tightening their hazy dream-pop sound for a couple of years now after founding members and Connecticut natives Joe Haller and Chris Duran pulled together a full band here in Philadelphia.  Listen to their recent single “Tomorrow Always Knows” below and pick up tickets to the 21+ show with Dream Safari and Louds here.

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Nicole Atkins played an intimate, festive show at World Cafe Live

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Nicole Atkins | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography

XPN favorite Nicole Atkins headlined World Cafe Live on Thursday night. Touring in support of her 2014 LP Slow Phaser, Atkins performed a mix of new songs and favorites from Mondo Amore (2011) and Neptune City (2007). As the crowd excitedly awaited her entrance on stage, she surprised everyone by coming onto the floor and introducing herself in the midst of the crowd. Barefoot and dressed in a flowing white gown, she opened up the show singing a stripped down, acoustic version of “Neptune City” while completely surrounded by the audience. Once she stepped on stage, she delivered an energetic, heartfelt performance. With only a two-piece backing band, Atkins’ powerful and soulful vocals perfectly soared over the drums and guitar creating a full, rich sound. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: HighKick

Philly rock and roll four-piece HighKick had a solid 2014. In June, the guys released Normal View, their latest EP and a big step forward in terms of hooks and production. They toured this summer into the fall, and are wrapping up the year the way they have for the past six years: with the annual HighKixMas variety show at World Cafe Live on December 21st. Though it’s seasonally themed on the one hand – and they do have a double-time version of “Rudolph” with some killer guitar work – the band also has a good assortment of non-holiday jams that we hope fall in the mix as well. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Robert Glasper at World Cafe Live, Centro-Matic at Boot and Saddle

Robert Glasper | Photo courtesy of the artist
Robert Glasper | Photo courtesy of the artist

Renaissance man Robert Glasper returns to Philly tonight to headline World Cafe Live. After following up his critically acclaimed Black Radio LP with the equally impressive Black Radio 2 last year, Glasper found out last week that the record netted two Grammy nominations. It’s up for Best R&B Album (the first installment was also nominated and won Best R&B album) and the song “Jesus Children” featuring Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm is up for Best Traditional R&B performance. The eclectic record also features Marsha Ambrosius, Norah Jones, Common, Faith Evans and more. Check out the music video for “Calls” featuring Jill Scott below, and get tickets and information on tonight’s show at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: HR at Kung Fu Necktie, Nalani & Sarina at World Cafe Live, I IM EYE MY at Bourbon and Branch

HR of Bad Brains | via kungfunecktie.com
HR of Bad Brains | via kungfunecktie.com

“You have to experience HR,” says rapper Mos Def. “You don’t talk about him, you experience him.” The pioneering punk rocker and lead singer of Bad Brains, HR (short for Human Rights, birth name Paul D. Hudson) performs tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. By fusing dub, reggae and hardcore thrash in the late 70s, HR and Bad Brains charted new territories; he in particular built a rep as a dynamic, compelling frontman. Over the years, his sound has steered more towards the reggae end of his musical palette, which is the show he and his band bring to Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Tickets are $8 at the door, more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Music Diaries: Concert illustrations from three Philly artists

Trish Houck sketches Michael Ford Jr. of The Apache Relay | Photo by John Vettese
Trish Houck sketches Michael Ford Jr. of The Apache Relay | Photo by John Vettese

It’s normal to find yourself spacing out at concerts—everyone’s guilty of it. Get lost vibing, fade a little, check Twitter, people-watch, scroll Instagram to see who’s also at the show you’re attending, etc. Despite praising performances with expressions like “hypnotizing!” and “captivating,” there are plenty of times concert attendees occupy themselves beyond the duties of “active listening” (or dancing a la Elaine Benes). However, some people choose to be more engaged, and if you’ve been people paying close attention in the Philadelphia music scene, you might have spotted a handful of artists illustrating the concert as they watched.   Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ensemble Novo at World Cafe Live, Ill Fated Natives at The Fire

Ensemble Novo | Photo by David Dzubinski  | via facebook.com/EnsembleNovo
Ensemble Novo | Photo by David Dzubinski | via facebook.com/EnsembleNovo

Philadelphia Brazilian jazz six-piece Ensemble Novo opens the Twin Danger show upstairs at World Cafe Live tonight. Led by saxophone player and music scribe Tom Moon, the six-piece band recorded its Blue Night LP with Jeff Hiatt at Turtle Studios, and released last year. Listen to the easygoing vibes of “Church Is Where You Are” below, and get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express take on World Cafe Live

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Chuck Prophet | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Chuck Prophet is a genre all unto himself. Part ‘50s cool and ‘80s jangle with the sense of a big full sound that comes with four bandmates, he delivered on his promise of his 2014 record Night Surfer of crashing waves on last Sunday night at World Café. For 20-plus songs he rocked Philadelphia from head to toe. Continue reading →