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City Rain will perform at World Cafe Live for the CW Henry Elementary School benefit concert on 5/24

City Rain's Ben Runyan performs with CW Henry music teacher Nikki Trisdorfer at Underground Arts
City Rain’s Ben Runyan performs with CW Henry music teacher Nikki Trisdorfer at Underground Arts

Recently CW Henry Elementary School in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia was broken into and computers, iPads and music room equipment were stolen.

As the school begins the recovery and replacement process, parents and local musicians are stepping up to “pay it forward” on Saturday, May 24th from 4pm – 6pm at World Cafe Live upstairs.

I spoke with Paula Hanson, a parent of CW Henry first-grader Phoebe and an audio engineer who has worked with Rob Zombie, Stevie Nicks, kd lang and Korn.  Along with her husband Ringo, Paula is trying to raise funds to buy new equipment for the school.

Helen Leicht: I’m sorry to hear that there was a burglary at C W Henry Elementary school.

Paula Hanson: Yes, we had several iMacs the kids use, as well as a teacher’s MacBook and the flat screen TV in the music room the kids use to watch performances and whatnot on.  Probably the most crushing was the theft of the iPads the autistic kids use as part of their immersion into the classroom.  They really loved those and they were a great help.

HL: You have organized a fund raiser concert for CW Henry Elementary School.  Can you tell me about the school and what grades and children have been affected by this theft?

PH: CW Henry is a neighborhood public K-8 in West Mt Airy.  It’s a wonderful neighborhood.  There’s a bit of a misconception that because we’re located in an affluent hood that we do better than other Philly schools.  However we’re subject to the same budget as everyone else, and nearly half our kids come in from other parts of Philly.  The parents and teachers work really hard to supplement all the budget woes.

Some of the gear that was stolen was donated in the first place.  The whole school is taught music by Ms Paulino Trisdorfer, who runs an astoundingly good music program, so the theft of her computers affects everyone.  The two first grade classrooms had everything electronic taken, so we had to drag up an eMac from the basement so they had at least one for their centers.  And the iPads that the two classes use, but especially the four kids in each room in our Autistic Support Program were really left hanging.

#CWHenryOptimist from Paula Hanson on Vimeo.

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Today’s Concert Picks: MØ at Johnny Brenda’s, Eternal Summers at Underground Arts, Stone Jack Jones at World Cafe Live

MØ | photo courtesy of the artist
MØ | photo courtesy of the artist

Danish musician  will perform at Johnny Brenda’s tonight with Erik Hassle.  Currently touring the U.S. for the first time in support of her debut LP No Mythologies to Follow, Karen Marie Ørsted has been making quick work of moving to the forefront of the electronic-pop dance scene.  She released her first singles in 2012 and has since worked with Avicii while topping the line-ups at festivals across the globe.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Check out “I Don’t Wanna Dance” below.

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Non-COMM Recap: Hurray for the Riff Raff brings southern folk fun to the downstairs stage

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Cameron Pollack

New Orleans-based roots group Hurray for the Riff Raff showed off their winning blend of southern folk, bluegrass and rock and roll on the last night of NonCOMM. Frontwoman Alynda Lee Segarra started the show out with a solo performance of “The New SF Bay Blues” and brought the full band up for a lively set punctuated by their single “I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Allright)” and wrapping with the clever number called “Fiddlesticks.” Most of the band exited so fiddle player Yosi Pearlstein could play center stage while Segarra sang and tapped the neck of the fiddle with two small sticks; it created an very unique melodic / percussive effect that brought the performance to a short and sweet close. Check out photos from the set below and listen to the performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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Non-COMM Recap: Strand of Oaks slayed with their set on the NPR Music stage

Strand of Oaks | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Strand of Oaks | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Philadelphia’s Strand of Oaks kicked off the final night of Non-COMM with a powerful performance on the NPR Music Stage. They showcased four tracks from their forthcoming HEAL, including the winning single “Goshen 97″ and the smouldering epic “J.M.”, a tribute to the late Jason Molina where frontman Tim Showalter positively shredded on his guitar, Crazy Horse style. Check out photos below and listen to the set in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player). HEAL comes out on Dead Oceans Records on June 24th.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Uh Huh Her at World Cafe Live, Twin Forks at The TLA

Uh Huh Her | photo via facebook.com/uhhuhher
Uh Huh Her | photo via facebook.com/uhhuhher

LA indie rock duo Uh Huh Her took its name from a record by PJ Harvey, and while the influence is undeniable, don’t expect a set of “Down By The Water” soundalikes at World Cafe Live tonight. The band has a cool and brooding synthpop underbelly, and released its third full length, Future Souls, this past March on Plaid Records.  Uh Huh Her is currently in the midst of a US / Canada tour; get tickets and info on tonight’s World Cafe Live show at the XPN Concert Calendar and watch a tour trailer below.

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Non-COMM Recap: A transfixing set by electronica heavyweight Chet Faker

Photo by Cameron Pollack
Photo by Cameron Pollack

Australian electronica overlord Chet Faker kicked off NonComm Day 3 with an incredible set, filled with loop pedals, synth pads, and drum machines galore. Heavily influenced by jazz greats including Chet Baker, leading to his eventual name change, Chet Faker’s set was filled with jazz-influenced vocals, and syncopated drum beats. A highlight of the set was “Cigarettes and Chocolate,” an instrumental track which starts out with one single voice descending in a major scale, building in minimalist percussion, and eventually becomes driven by syncopated guitar and processed vocals.

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Non-COMM Recap: Shovels and Rope impressed with some midnight hour country-punk

Shovels and Rope | Photo by John Vettese
Shovels and Rope | Photo by John Vettese

The Charleston, South Carolina duo of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent brought night two of NonCOMM 2014 to a whopping close. Their band, Shovels and Rope. approaches country and western music with a minimal punk rock attitude, Hearst and Trent switching between drums and guitar and previewing new selections from their forthcoming LP Swimmin’ Time, out in August on Dualtone Records. Listen to their set in its entirety below and check out a photo gallery.

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Non-COMM Recap: Hozier artfully blends the best of folk and soul

Hozier | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Hozier | Photo by Cameron Pollack

During the middle of the upstairs-downstairs madness that is the NonComm convention, attendees were treated to one of the greatest voices I’ve heard in an extremely long time. Irish native Andrew Hozier-Byrne amazed the audience with an unbelievable display of vocal and guitar talent, taking multiple solos and throwing his falsetto up to the top of its range on a solo version of To Be Alone from his Take Me To Church EP. He concluded the set with a rendition of his breakthrough single Take Me To Church as well as feel-good track From Eden, and as a result, every audience member left with a bit more soul inside them.

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Non-COMM Recap: The Hold Steady brought down the house

The Hold Steady | Photo by John Vettese
The Hold Steady | Photo by John Vettese

With their urgent sixth album Teeth Dreams released this spring, The Hold Steady was energized as it took the World Cafe Live stage last night for NonCOMM. The set drew largely from the new album – “I Hope The Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You” and “Spinners” sounded massive – but also dipped back into the band’s back catalog for the fan favorite jam “Your Little Hoodrat Friend.” Sporting a fresh buzzcut, frontman Craig Finn was charismatic as ever, working the fist-pumping crowd and cracking jokes. Listen to the set and check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Non-COMM Recap: The Districts rocked the upstairs stage

The Districts | Photo by John Vettese
The Districts | Photo by John Vettese

The Districts followed up The Afghan Whigs’ formidable performance with a raucous set from start to finish upstairs.  The Lititz, PA natives played a mix of tracks taken from both their eponymous 2014 Fat Possum debut EP and their self-released 2012 full-length The Telephone.  There wasn’t a single static moment during the entire set, as frontman Rob Grote bounced around the stage with ever-increasing energy, somehow managing to find his way back to the mic just in time.  The band strayed from the album cuts for just one song, placing the dreamier, post-rock undercurrents of “Chlorine” between “4×4” and dynamic single “Rocking Chair.”  Grote pulled out the harmonica for closing track “Funeral Beds,” returning to the song that first put them on the map.  Check out a photo recap below and listen back to the audio.

 

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