On a low-key Sunday night, Sam Cook-Parrott of Philly indie faves Radiator Hospital stepped the stage on the second floor of Old City’s Khyber Pass Pub, marking the first public concert that’s happened in the storied space in almost a decade.
From the late 80s to the late aughties, The Khyber had a fruitful run as the indie rock hangout in Philadelphia — check out a calendar from the archives here. But as Philly’s showgoing habits shifted towards Fishtown and South Philly, the venue had a hard time keeping up, and its main room closed in 2009. (Our Yoni Kroll remembers that the upstairs, which was chiefly used to book DJs in the 00s, hosted occasional one-off shows until as late as 2011. [UPDATE: Guitarist Nick Millevoi commented on Facebook noting that he played the Khyber upstairs in March of 2013, and another commenter mentioend Metroplex also played a show that same month.])
The Khyber shifted into full-on restaurant mode by the early teens — rightfully so, it’s a fantastic place to eat — but this year, it’s looking to bring music back within its walls and reclaim its spot in Philly’s venue landscape. The exposed brick upstairs room was refurbished, the stage freshened up with christmas lights and an ornate curtain, and Cook-Parrott provided a test run with a solo RadHos gig on Sunday. His bandmate Cynthia Schemmer opened the night with a performance by her solo project Swanning, and Appleton, Wisconsin’s Tim Buchanan took the middle slot.
Check out photos from the gig below; the official grand re-opening of The Khyber is set for Friday, August 2nd with Roger Harvey & the High Lifers joined by The Cheddar Boys and Wild Flowers of America (more information can be found here). Other concerts in the summer and autumn will reportedly include Dark Thoughts, Austin’s FlecHaus, and an assortment of movie nights and comedy nights.
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