Sunnier days and warmer temperatures have arrived, and we are collectively at the point of the year where Philly concertgoers have more options than we’ve seen in months. Gone are the days of getting to the gigs to keep the doldrums at bay; now we’re out and about because it’s one of the best things you can do with your time in the 215. From DIY punk gigs to jazz festivals, to some of the biggest pop stars in the world, here are 19 concerts we can’t wait to see in spring of 2019.
4/9: Y La Bamba at Johnny Brenda’s
Luz Elena Mendoza has been making music under the Y La Bamba banner for over a decade, and though the Portland project boasted a more folk-oriented sound in its earlier days, things began to shift on its 2019 breakout album Ojos Del Sol. With the project’s latest, Mujeres, the band is firmly footed in radiant tropical psychedelia, punctuated by dazzling instrumental arrangements and lyrics in both English and Spanish reflecting on generational mysoginy and oppression while also celebrating femininity (the title is Spanish for “woman”). It’s trippy on the surface with a dense and enriching core, and the band brings it to Philly later this month at Johnny Brenda’s. (TIX) – J.V.
4/15: Priests at Union Transfer
D.C. punk rockers Priests will release their next record, The Seduction of Kansas, on April 5, and they’ll be in town shortly after to play their biggest Philly show yet. The band’s been around for close to a decade, but their 2017 debut LP Nothing Feels Natural earned them widespread acclaim, and their show PhilaMOCA last December left us eagerly waiting for more. (TIX) – Sarah Hojsak
4/18: Natalie Prass at World Cafe Live
It’s no secret that we love Natalie Prass around here, and with the amount of shows the Richmond singer has played in Philly over the last year, we think she might feel the same. After opening for Kacey Musgraves earlier this year, Prass will be back on the 18th for a proper headlining show, one of the last dates on her tour behind last year’s excellent The Future and the Past. (TIX) – S.H.
4/20: Cher at Wells Fargo Center
The myth, the legend, the one and only Cher is returning to Philadelphia proper this spring for the first time since 2014, in support of her new album Dancing Queen, a collection of ABBA covers. Though it finds her celebrating a single and specific artist’s catalog, multi-hyphenate entertainer has more than enough pop culture cred in her own right, from timeless 60s pop hits to millennial bangers like “Believe”…to say nothing of being one of the best Twitter-ers in all of the internet. Her preferred stages of late seem to be the casinos — she has an ongoing residency in Las Vegas, and last year she played two nights at the Borgata in A.C. — but an arena rock show of the Wells Fargo Center variety is definitely in order. (TIX) – J.V.
4/25: Julia Jacklin at Johnny Brenda’s
Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin has opened for the likes of Mitski and First Aid Kit recently, but now we finally get to see her headline her own show. Her new album Crushing, out now, is full of powerful but understated songs that let her captivating voice shine through. (TIX) – S.H.
4/26: Girlpool at Underground Arts
Every time Girlpool is back in town, it’s like a homecoming show. Though the duo doesn’t live in Philly anymore, their April 26 show behind the newly released What Chaos is Imaginary is sure to be a special one — and the duo’s third album may just be their best yet. (TIX) – S.H.
4/26: &More at Johnny Brenda’s
Chill Moody and Donn T have been working towards their debut album as &More for the better part of the past year, and this month, Ethel Bobcat is unleashed upon the world. A fusion of quiet storm soul and heady rap, the band celebrates their project-in-the-making at Johnny Brenda’s on the last Friday in April. (TIX) – J.V.
4/27: Center City Jazz Fest
Every April, Philly trombonist Ernest Stuart takes over the Sansom Street Corridor for a full day showcasing the spectrum of sounds under the jazz umbrella. For the price of a wristband, attendees can bounce between Time, Franky Bradley’s, Fergie’s, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, and Maison, filling their afternoon up with music. This year’s performers include Cory Riker, Camila Meza, Ode to Omni, Hambone Relay, Vertical Current, and so much more. (TIX) – J.V.
4/29: SASAMI at PhilaMOCA
Another Mitski-endorsed artist, SASAMI, will play her first Philly headlining show this month. Sasami Ashworth studied classical and jazz music, but only began writing her own songs a few years ago, though you’d never know it by listening to her self-titled debut album — SASAMI’s already mastered the art of indie rock. (TIX) – S.H.
4/29: Patti Smith And Her Band at The Met Philadelphia
It’s been awhile since Patti Smith has played a concert in town, but the wait will end this month when the iconic poet and singer headlines The Met with her band. Smith has taken a break from releasing albums to focus on writing books in recent years, but her latest project is a collaboration with Soundwalk Collective that sees her returning to spoken word. (TIX) – S.H.
5/14: Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band at the Keswick Theatre
Josh Ritter’s Sunday night closing set at last year’s XPN Fest was one for the books, and those looking to relive a little of the magic can catch him next month at the Keswick. Ritter’s new album, the Jason Isbell-produced Fever Breaks, is out April 26, so he’ll have some new tunes in tow. (TIX) – S.H.
5/15: Irreversible Entanglements at Johnny Brenda’s
This May, Philadelphia avant-garde pop collective Upholstery will celebrate the release of their latest album at Johnny Brenda’s, and we’ll be telling you a lot more about the project and their portion of the show a little later on this spring. For now, though, we’d like to call your attention to the fact that the opening band is Irreversible Entanglements, playing possibly only their second Philly gig ever? The project of Moor Mother’s Camae Ayewa, along with saxophone player Keir Neuringer and bassist Luke Stewart, the band only manages to come together on rare occasion, as they all have remarkably busy schedules with their own pursuits. When they to join up, though, it’s a knockout of thrilling and expansive free-jazz jams and revolutionary poetry from Ayewa, as heard on their remarkable 2017 self-titled record. Don’t sleep on this gig. (TIX) – J.V.
5/17: Tash Sultana at The Met Philadelphia
After releasing her debut album Flow State last year, Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana — who started off busking on the streets of Melbourne — has been getting the recognition she deserves. She’ll play to her biggest Philly crowd yet when she headlines The Met this May, with openers The Pierce Brothers. (TIX) – S.H.
5/19: Rock The Cause at World Cafe Live
When he’s not on-air at Radio 104.5, Cole Selleck is organizing gigs for music education in Philly. This year, his Rock the Cause show touches down at World Cafe Live on Sunday, May 19th and features a double-header of acoustic pop-punk headliners: Ace Enders of The Early November and Shane Henderson of Valencia will perform in support of Rock to the Future, with support in the form of Hurry, June Divided, Joshua Chase Miller, and the Flyers’ non-Gritty party monster DJ Reed Streets. (TIX) – J.V.
6/1: The Roots Picnic at The Mann Center
The unofficial start of summer in Philly always comes a few weeks ahead of solstice when The Roots reconvene for their annual hometown throwdown, The Roots Picnic. This year, the beloved Philly hip-hop heroes will play their 1999 album Things Fall Apart in its entirety in the Picnic’s new location, The Mann Center, both of which are reason enough to go. But there’s also those sharing the stage with them: H.E.R., 21 Savage, Rapahel Saadiq, &More, and so so much more. (TIX) – J.V.
6/3: Jamila Woods at The Foundry
Chicago poet and singer Jamila Woods will release her new album LEGACY! LEGACY! on May 10, and she’ll bring her new tunes to Philly when she headlines The Foundry in June. An alum of the #NPRSlingshot initiative, Woods has been sharing singles from the new album, each named after an influential figure. (TIX) – S.H.
6/9: Christian McBride at Ardmore Music Hall
Acclaimed jazz bassist Christian McBride is always busy with something, whether it be serving as artistic director of Newport Jazz Festival or hosting NPR’s Jazz Night In America. Or making music of his own; the Philadelphia bassist has dabbled in a variety of styles in recent years, from the bright and bold big band throwbacks of 2017’s Bringin’ It to the freewheeling fusion of bop and Philly soul on his 2018 album Christian McBride’s New Jawn. This June, he and his band headline Ardmore Music Hall for a Jazz Night on the Main Line. (TIX) – J.V.
6/11: The National with Courtney Barnett at The Mann Center
The National played The Mann on a crisp fall night last year, but this time around they’ll be bringing us a taste of summer when they headline the venue this June. Not only will the band have new songs to play from their forthcoming album I Am Easy To Find, but they’re also bringing along Courtney Barnett for a super-stacked evening of warm-weather tunes. (TIX) – S.H.
6/22: Sheer Mag at World Cafe Live
Philly DIY scene faves Sheer Mag will headline a lineup of retro rock and punk riffs to welcome the summer on June 22nd at World Cafe Live. Sponsored by Chicago brewery Goose Island, the bill also features White Reaper and Thin Lips, all of whom have released kickass albums over the past two years. (TIX) – J.V.
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