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This Day in Music History: Simon & Garfunkel release “The Boxer,” Elton John makes his solo stage debut

Simon & Garfunkel

1967 – The Beatles complete the sessions for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at Abbey Road studios in London. The final recordings are of gibberish and noise which would follow “A Day in the Life” in the run-out groove. They record assorted noises and voices, which engineer Geoff Emerick then cuts up and randomly reassembles and edits backwards. At John Lennon’s suggestion, they also add a high-pitch whistle audible only by dogs. These are omitted from the American version of the album.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Residuels

There’s a smoky, blues-from-a-gun furor to Philadelphia trio Residuels. The band, fronted by singer-guitarist Justin Pittney, caught our ear in the past with the heavy, heady Jesus and Mary Chain guitar jams it’s tapped into over various self-released singles. Continue reading →

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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English prog-rock heroes Yes put on a properly epic show at The Tower Theater

Yes | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Yes | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Epic (adj): heroic or grand in scale or character. It is perhaps one of the most over- and misused words in the English language. Yeah, that grilled cheese may have been tasty, but it wasn’t quite as monumental as Odysseus. But I’ll tell you what was epic: English prog-rock legends Yes’ concert at the Tower Theater. It would have been easy to doubt a group whose 46 years together do not by any means belie them, not to mention that founding singer and frontman Jon Anderson left the group in 2008. I don’t think Yes cared about these things. When you’re the band that played the most attended festival-style show in United States history here in Philly (the “Spirit Of Summer ’76” show at JFK Stadium on June 12, 1976 for 130,000 fans), a few grey hairs (or more precisely, a full head of white ones, but who’s counting?) aren’t going to get in the way of putting on a show of, that’s right, epic proportions.

Yes | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Yes | Photo By Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Yes opened up their extremely sold out Tower Theater show with their 1972 Close To The Edge LP played in reverse. What became immediately clear as they rumbled their way through “Siberian Khatru” was that Yes’ sound is massive, which has a hell of a lot to do with founding bassist Chris Squire’s bold playing (and as it happens, his appearance isn’t much different). And while guitarist Steve Howe may have gained a few wrinkles here and there, his hair is as long as ever, and more importantly, he still knows his way around a guitar like his 5 consecutive “Best Overall Guitarist” victories in Guitar Player magazine would suggest. That, or the 3,000-odd fans bellowing out their love for him during the intricate flamenco guitar solo piece that is “Mood For A Day”. Oh, and Jon Anderson’s replacement, the similarly named Jon Davison, wasn’t half bad. Wait, scratch that. He was, to use appropriately English lexicon, bloody amazing. I can honestly say that I have never seen a frontman gesticulate, prance about and sing more passionately that Davison did. His oriental patterned shirt was pretty cool too.

After playing a couple new songs, both of which were decent enough, Yes made their way through all of the 1971 LP, Fragile. All of it. The thing about that album that I didn’t realize until I saw it live is that each song seems better than the last. Sure, the record’s opener, “Roundabout” was a hit, but “South Side Of The Sky” easily makes my top 10 guitar riffs list, and “The Fish [Schindleria Praematurus]” is probably the second best rock song ever to be written in 7/4 (“Money” by Pink Floyd takes precedence in my book, and so would Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean”, but that song isn’t really in 7/4). They encored with the timeless classic, “I’ve Seen All Good People”, which, come to think of it, includes one of the best 3-part harmonies known to rock & roll. As for the final encore, “Starship Trooper”, I’m going to have to refer you back to the beginning of the review, because no word describes it better than “epic”. Keytar and guitar (or should I say, geetar) solos from Geoff Downes and Steve Howe respectively were unbelievable. I left the room in shock. Yes still rocks.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Spank Rock at Underground Arts, Ceremony at First Unitarian Church, Chelsea Reed and Fairweather Five at Ardmore Music Hall

Spank Rock | Photo by John Vettese
Spank Rock | Photo by John Vettese

Philadelphia via Baltimore hiphop artist Spank Rock (aka Naeem Juwan) will be playing Underground Arts this Saturday. Last year, Spank Rock teamed up with longtime collaborator Amanda Black for their club track “We Can Go All Night”. He also played alongside the Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra and Sharon Van Etten at the Rail Park Benefit at Union Transfer. He recently released another single, “Gully” which promptly got remixed by Brodinski. In addition he made a mixtape for Jump Philly with DJ Sylo. Listen to the remix of “Gully” below. Get more details about the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Yes in Philly in the Seventies

Art by Roger Dean http://www.rogerdean.com/
Art by Roger Dean http://www.rogerdean.com/

Today is the 12 hour Prog Rock Marathon on WXPN hosted by Dan Reed and his returning guest, local prog rock expert Biff Kennedy. From Noon to 5 they will be upstairs at World Cafe Live, welcoming special guests and spinning classic prog-rock; King Crimson, Can, Genesis, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and of course, some Yes.

Philly has always loved its Yes, prog-rockers who are still at it – during this summer’s Yestival tour, John DiLIberto called them “dinosaurs that have been reborn.” Introduced to many radio listeners in Philly by Ed Sciaky on WMMR back in the early Seventies, Yes performed in Philly regularly, playing the Spectrum 12 times from 1971 to 1979. While they often played two nights in a row here, they once played twice on the same day, including a matinee show, on February 16th, 1974 during the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour.

In June, 1979 the band performed three nights in a row, “in the round,” on a rotating stage, and the show on June 21st was recorded and released on DVD. The band at the time included Jon Anderson, Steve Howe (guitar), Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Chris Squire (bass), and Alan White (drums). Below, watch a couple of songs from that performance – “Starship Trooper,” and “Siberian Khatru” – followed by a recording of a complete show during the Relayer tour from the Spectrum on July 22nd, 1977.

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