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Tonight’s Concert Picks: DRGN King at Johnny Brenda’s, The Whisky Gentry at MilkBoy, Adrien Reju at Kennett Flash and more

Photo by Joe Del Tufo
Photo by Joe Del Tufo
Like a punkier Philly version of TV On the Radio, indie-rock quartet DRGN King headlines Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Though the group hasn’t released anything new since 2013′s Paragraph Nights, they’ve been more than active playing at festivals, recording a Daytrotter session, recording videos (i.e. this cover of The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl”) and more. Oh, and they’ve been playing a ton of shows. Come hang out with them tonight at 9:00 along with local rockers Mumblr and New York-based band Porches. Tickets for the 21+ show are $10 and can be purchased here.

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Just Announced: ZZ Ward returning to The TLA on 2/28

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

R&B artist ZZ Ward will return to Philadelphia for a show at The TLA on February 28th.  Continuing to tour in support of her debut Til the Casket Drops, the Abington, PA-born musician blends southern blues (inspired by her father’s music endeavors) with contemporary hip hop / pop hooks, which she began writing for local rappers in Eugene, OR.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show will be available here; tickets go on sale Friday, January 17th at noon.  Watch ZZ Ward’s video for “365 Days” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Typhoon at Johnny Brenda’s, By Surprise at PhilaMOCA, ZZ Ward at The TLA and more

typhoon-2Oregon natives Typhoon will play Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The eleven piece outfit released their fourth studio album White Lighter back in August. The band successfully manages to offset their dark lyrics (which reflect lead singer, Kyle Morton’s childhood struggle with Lyme Disease) with pleasant alt-folk, choir-pop soundscapes. Tickets for the event can be found at Johnny Brenda’s website.

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Emotional highs and glorious lows with Delta Rae, ZZ Ward and Martin Harley (review, photos)

The “Fire and Shine” tour arrived at on Wednesday night to a packed house at the TLA on South Street. Opener Martin Harley dazzled with his lap slide prowess in a short entertaining set. The highlight was a performance of his song “Winter Coat” that was prefaced with a story about how it once made two tough biker guys at a show get all mushy.

Co-headliner and Abington, PA native ZZ Ward hit the stage next, leading led her tight band through an exciting hour of her smooth mash-up of Blues, Hip Hop and R and B. Highlights were a touching acoustic “Last Love Song” and set closer “Move Like U Stole It” that had the crowd grooving along.

North Carolina’s Delta Rae closed out the night. They made the full house sweat on a cold wintery night with a powerful performance full of roller coaster emotional highs and lows and glorious harmonies. Early in the set songs “Morning Comes” and “Holding Onto Good” were high points but they saved the best for last. For their encore they headed out into the crowd for an exuberant, sweaty acoustic sing-along version of “Hey Hey Hey” that featured back-up vocals from everyone in the crowd.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Stars at The Trocadero, Delta Rae with ZZ Ward at The TLA, Drums Like Machine Guns at Kung Fu Necktie

StarsFollowing up on their their well-recieved 2012 LP The North, Montreal synth pop outfit Stars bring their live show to Philly tonight for a date at The Trocadero with Milo Greene. With a brighter and more positive sound and outlook than their brooding 2010 release The Five Ghosts, the new songs should work well towards warming the crowd on a chilly Wednesday night. Los Angeles indie group Milo Greene opens, tickets and information can be found at the WXPN Concert Calendar. Below, watch the band perform “The North” live at Tornto radio station The Edge.

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Watch ZZ Ward perform “Put The Gun Down” on Conan (playing The TLA with Delta Rae on 3/6)

Last night, eclectic pop singer ZZ Ward appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, kicking out a spunky rendition of her single “Put The Gun Down” with her four-piece backing band. Ward released her debut LP Til The Casket Drops back in October, and is currently on tour with XPN favorites Delta Rae. The tour stops at The TLA on March 6, tickets and more information can be found here. Below, watch a video of Ward’s Conan appearance.

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Just Announced: ZZ Ward, Delta Rae playing The TLA in March

Photo by John Vettese
After playing a smokin’ set at World Cafe Live upstairs on Election Night, bluesy singer ZZ Ward is returning to Philadelphia on March 6 with WXPN favorites Delta Rae – who were also in town recently, recording a special producer’s session for World Cafe and appearing on the air with Helen Leicht. Tickets are on sale this Friday, November 30, at noon via Live Nation. Below, watch ZZ Ward performing a slick acoustic take on “Charlie Ain’t Home” at World Cafe Live earlier this month, and listen to Delta Rae’s World Cafe session here.

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ZZ Ward channels the blues at World Cafe Live (photos, review, setlist)

ZZ Ward hasn’t lived in Pennsylvania since she was 6 years old, but you never would have guessed from the warm reception she received at World Cafe Live on Tuesday night. It was the eclectic pop singer’s first time headlining Philadelphia, and it certainly felt like a hometown show: the crowd screamed for each Bucks County reference, the singer worked the enthusiastic front row with a smile like she was playing for old neighbors, and the vibe was generally warm and celebratory.

Ward’s debut LP Til The Casket Drops was released on October 16, and it’s an unusual and insanely catchy mix of styles. Her voice undeniably draws from the singer-songwriter soul revival of recent years, but there’s also a clubby dance-pop pace to it, as well as moments that veer in an edgier direction – lightly towards hiphop and deeply toward blues. In concert, Ward translated the songs with a tremendously tight three-piece band (and the help of a few tracks on a laptop). Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Gracie at Johnny Brenda’s, The Wooden Sky at Kung Fu Necktie, ZZ Ward at World Cafe Live

Electronic chillwave/pop project Gracie plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight with Snowmine and Lockets.  The moniker of local guy Andrew Balasia, Gracie has been sweeping us up and into its hypnotic beats since the For Summer EP dropped last year.  Earlier this year Balasia took the project in a more experiemental and haunting direction with his Treehouse EP.  For the upcoming Bleeder full-length, however, Balasia returned to the pop vein of For Summer and released the seductively anthematic “Creature Pleaser” this past summer.  The 21+ show begins at at 9:00 p.m., more information is available here. Below, stream “Creature Pleaser” and download the name-your-own-price track from Gracie’s Bandcamp.

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Interview: ZZ Ward’s diverse influences and collaborations (playing tomorrow at World Cafe Live)

ZZ Ward recently released her debut album Til The Casket Drops on Hollywood Records. ZZ, (short for Zsuzsanna) was born in Abington, PA., and raised in Oregon. ZZ first caught the attention of music fans about a year ago with her Eleven Roses mixtape (available here for free). Ward’s debut is an eclectic collection of songs influenced by her love of many genres of music including rock, blues, hip-hop, R&B and straight-ahead pop. With all its musical diversity, the album manages to hang together in large part to her confident, soaring and adaptive vocals. With guest appearances from rappers Freddie Gibbs, Kendrick Lamar, and Fitz (of Fitz and the Tantrums) Casket is an excellent debut. ZZ plays tomorrow evening, Tuesday, November 6th at World Cafe Live. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. The Key caught up with ZZ via e-mail; read the interview below. Below the interview, stream a sampler of ZZ’s debut album. Continue reading →