The Week Ahead: Dawes, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Thin Lips, Steve Gunn and more

Dawes | photo by Magdalena Wosinska | courtesy of the artist

If you happen to get caught up in a Bill Murray-esque existential loop this Groundhog Day, rest assured that there are plenty of concerts that would be simply wonderful to see for the rest of eternity. The week leading up to it isn’t too shabby, either — but that’s live music in Philly for you. Here are 19 concerts to see in the next seven days.

Wednesday 1/30: Amen Dunes at Union Transfer

New York City indie-folk songwriter Damon McMahon brings his project Amen Dunes, and its fifth album Freedom, to Union Transfer this Wednesday night for a headlining show. The critically praised 2018 release shifts McMahon’s sonic palette from lo-fi DIY recordings to lush and atmospheric arrangements, as you can hear in the song “Miki Dora” below.  // 8 p.m., $16, AA // TIX + INFO

Thursday 1/31: The Obsessives at Boot and Saddle

The Lame-O Records Rock Residency concludes this Thursday with D.C. natives The Obsessives paired up alongside Philly newcomers Earth Telephone (the new project of singer-songwriter Chris Diehm) and comedian Benny Feldman.  // 8 p.m., $10, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Thursday 1/31: West Philadelphia Orchestra at Ardmore Music Hall

For their first big show of 2019, indie / folk institution West Philadelphia Orchestra will take their balkan dance party out of city limits and up the main line for a headlining slot at Ardmore Music Hall. // 8 p.m., $15, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Thursday 1/31 Pine Barons at Johnny Brenda’s

It’s been a minute since NJ indie / psychedelic rock outfit Pine Barons have graced the stage in Philly, but they’re back this Thursday to headline Johnny Brenda’s. Fronted by singer-guitarist and songwriter Keith Abrams, who keeps busy with other production projects and collaborations around town, the band released its debut LP The Acchin Book in 2017. // 9 p.m., $10, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Thursday 1/31: Greensky Bluegrass at Penn’s Peak

Kalamazoo, Michigan roots ensemble Greensky Bluegrass debuted in 2004 with an album called Less Than Supper and a mission to expand the boundaries and explore the potential of traditional folk. Their sixth studio LP, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, was released in 2016, and the band plays Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe this Thursday. // 8 p.m., $29, AA // TIX + INFO

Friday 2/1: Dawes at The Fillmore

For their first official Philly headliner since the 2018 release of their sixth album, Passwords, XPN favorites Dawes will take to the stage at The Fillmore Philly in Fishtown this Friday. The expansive sound of the new record finds Taylor Goldsmith and company reaching for arena rock stratospheres, and they got to scratch that itch on tour opening for Jeff Lynne’s ELO last year. // 8 p.m., $29.50, AA // TIX + INFO

Friday 2/1: Rockers Galore at MilkBoy

Versatile Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist Joe Jordan ran into a health scare in the fall when he was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney disease, so a group of his peers pitched in to help out with the cost of getting healthy again. This Friday, local label Artists First Records has tapped kompa punks Rockers Galore, as well as hard rock guitarist Lamont Caldwell, and Boy Wonder — famed host of the Philly Rising open mic series — to play a benefit for Jordan’s medical fund at MilkBoy in center city.  // 8:30 p.m., $12, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Friday 2/1: Kongos at Underground Arts

Brash hard rockers Kongos were inescapable in 2012 when their single “Come With Me Now” ruled alternative rock airwaves and playlists. The Pretoria, South Africa via Phoenix, Arizona band returns this year with 1929, Pt. 1, their fourth LP, and will play a headlining show this Friday at Underground Arts.  // 9 p.m., $25, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Friday 2/1: Ladysmith Black Mambazo at Appel Center

For South African music of another sort, try famed choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. With intricate harmonies and uplifting energy, the group had been around for more than two decades when it garnered international attention in 1986 after collaborating with Paul Simon on his Graceland LP. The band comes to York’s Appel Center for the Performing Arts on Friday. // 7:30 p.m., $24.50, AA // TIX + INFO

Friday 2/1: SOAK at Boot and Saddle

Derry, Ireland singer-songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson debuted under the SOAK moniker in 2015 with a heartrending album of atmospheric folk songs called Before We Forgot How to Dream. Four years later, she returns with Grim Town, due out this April via Rough Trade. Listen to its lead single “Knock Me Off My Feet” below and see her Friday night at Boot & Saddle. // 8:30 p.m., $15, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Thin Lips at Boot and Saddle

Thin Lips is in the midst of a ten-day east coast tour with Delaware rocker Grace Vonderkuhn, and the two artists are back in Philly to wrap things up this Saturday night at Boot & Saddle. Thin Lips just quietly released a double shot of demos from their excellent 2018 album Chosen Family, and it simultaneously shows how much their studio energy is true to their raw and in-the-moment (on “Lonely”) and how much their sound can evolve from sketches to finished product (“Spliff Hard,” an earlier arrangement of “A Song For Those Who Miss You All The Time”).  // 8 p.m., $10, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Loudon Wainwright III at Colonial Theater

Folk scene staple Loudon Wainwright III isn’t just the dad of Rufus, Martha, and Lucy; he’s a masterful storyteller in his own right, as four decades worth of loyal listeners will attest. Known for his sardonic wit and gut-wrenching emotionality, Wainwright last year released Years In The Making, a double LP compilation of his nearly five-decade career. He plays the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville this Saturday. // 8 p.m., $36.50, AA // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Steve Gunn at Union Transfer

Acclaimed guitar shaman and Delaware County native Steve Gunn returns to the Philly area this Saturday for a homecoming show at Union Transfer with two fellow locals who have departed for other pastures, Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore. Gunn’s latest, The Unseen In Between, is out now via Matador Records. // 8:30 p.m., $16, AA // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Coping Skills at Everybody Hits

DIY scene faves Coping Skills released their second LP Worst New Music last April, and like Thin LIps, have dug into their demo archives to see what they can find. In their case, they found a 2015 EP called Everything is stupid + I Hate it, which includes a song called “Happy Hour at Mad Mex,” which is hysterical in and of itself. Bandmates Rachel Dispenza and Lauren Delucca headline Everybody Hits on Saturday. // 8 p.m., $10, AA // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Rebirth Brass Band at Arden Gild Hall

Joyous New Orleans troupe Rebirth Brass Band are a month early for Mardi Gras, but they way they approach the brass music of their hometown transcends one-day-a-year relevance. For Rebirth, the sounds of New Orleans is a 365-day-a-year passion, and the 35-years-running band brings the party to Arden Gild Hall on Saturday. // 8 p.m., $33, AA // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: I Think Like Midnight at The Underground

Philly songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist Andrew Chalfen has re-invented himself in recent years as leader of I Think Like Midnight,  kaleidoscopic purveyors of psych rock instrumentals. Also featuring Dean Sabatino and Joe Genaro of The Dead Milkmen, and bassist Josh Newman, the band’s second LP This Land is Your Mind was released a year ago, and was followed up more recently with the trippy Kompromat EP.   // 8 p.m., $10, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Quarter Horse at Philadelphia Folksong Society

Stony Brook, New York six-piece Quarter Horse spans the world of jam band music and traditional folk, and after playing stages from Cambridge’s Club Passim to the famed Budgiedome at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, they’re heading south this Saturday for a show at Philadelphia Folksong Society’s new Ridge Avenue space. They’ll be joined by Nashville five-piece Roanoke who, in case you couldn’t tell by the place names, are from down south.  // 8 p.m., $16, AA // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: Ill Fated Natives at MilkBoy

Philly blues rock trio Ill Fated Natives always throw down when they play live, and this Saturday’s show at MilkBoy is sure to be lit. Last year, the band followed up its 2015 debut Savages with a searing in-concert set called Live At The Bitter End. // 8 p.m., $13, 21+ // TIX + INFO

Saturday 2/2: The Bigness at Ortlieb’s

Kirstin Bigness and her bandmates returned last fall with the What We Make LP, a project that reflects on construction and contribution and the mark we leave on the universe: “the art we make, what we make of our lives, and what we make of our world.” Get a taste in the reflective video for “The Rest of the Sky” below and catch The Bigness at Ortlieb’s this Saturday. // 8 p.m., $10, 21+ // TIX + INFO

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