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Ratatat escape winter storm Jonas inside the Electric Factory

ratatat
Ratatat | photo by Morgan Smith for WXPN | www.phobymo.com

There’s something to be said of a band that can pack a venue despite a blizzard dropping ten tons of unplowed Fuck You on every intersection in the city. This past Sunday night, with our hands thawing and eyes adjusting in the Electric Factory’s vestibule, chattering teeth gave way to clenched jaws as the excitement of seeing just such a band ­as Brooklyn’s Ratatat ­hit.

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Philly’s Dead Milkmen threw the ultimate Halloweekend party at The Troc

The Dead Milkmen | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
The Dead Milkmen | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

Some mosh pits are sloppy, some mosh pits are scary, but some mosh pits are just pure joy – and the one that broke out at the Dead Milkmen’s Halloween-eve set at the Troc was absolutely the latter.

Rodney Anonymous fitfully weaved his way around the stage with all the energy of his high school self, shouting along with the cheering painted faces below him – equal parts millennial vampires and greying punk zombies. Continue reading →

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Action Bronson crushes at the sold-out TLA

Action Bronson | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
Action Bronson | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

At capacity and straining under the crushing weight of Action Bronson’s massive personality, the sold-out TLA’s stage shook under punishing bass and rose to meet the gregarious Queens MC on his Mr. Wonderful tour.

In what was a seemingly short but passionate set, Arian Arslani AKA Action Bronson brought it. The “Fuck, That’s Delicious!” star arranged all of the ingredients necessary for a memorable night. With way more energy than you’d expect from a guy so solidly built, the Flushing rapper ripped a page out of Oprah’s handbook and took to merchandising as he bounded across the stage between songs – showering the crowd in gifts, sonic and store-bought alike. Continue reading →

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Marilyn Manson favors performance-value over shock-value at the Electric Factory

Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson | photo by Morgan Smith | www.phobymo.com

Stepping back from the raw, deliberate provocation of his earlier work, Marilyn Manson has decidedly mellowed out as the years have gone by. With shock-rock impropriety failing to command the limelight it once did (since nothing’s shocking anymore, really), prospects have leveled off for the aging rockers. Touring on the Hell Not Hallelujah tour in support of their ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor, Manson’s antihero shocked the Electric Factory by not shocking – just delivering a worthwhile performance to the fans before him.

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Kimbra’s kaleidoscopic pop shines at World Cafe Live

Kimbra | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
Kimbra | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

The sophomore effort of Kimbra Johnson, co-star of 2012’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, is anything but sophomoric and, frankly, Gotye should be thanking his lucky stars for playing her “somebody.” Kimbra‘s lush, sinuous pop masterclass “Golden Echo” is an anarchic yet remarkably cohesive melange of elements altogether unique to this beautifully strange Kiwi; the echo of a distant echo perhaps, as the album’s spectacular reverberations are entirely fresh and ambitious in scope. At no point did Kimbra’s performance Saturday at World Cafe Live fail to deliver on the promise of her recordings, either. Continue reading →

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Cheltenham’s Lil Dicky gives wild performance at The TLA

Lil Dicky | photo by Morgan Smith | www.phobymo.com
Lil Dicky | photo by Morgan Smith | www.phobymo.com

It’s a damn good day to be a white dude – this white dude in particular. David Burd, AKA Lil Dicky, performed for a packed venue and a warm homecoming at the TLA Thursday night. Laughter, thigh sweat and body hair flowed freely to “Lemme Freak” as the Cheltenham native stripped down to well-worn boxer briefs and gave a bewildered fan something that might be categorized as a type of lap dance, the sticky intensity of which she most definitely hadn’t anticipated.

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As Intimate As You Can Get: Brandi Carlile plays the Perelman Theater unplugged and un-amped

Brandi Carlile | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.tumblr.com
Brandi Carlile | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.tumblr.com

Brandi Carlile’s performance at the Kimmel Center this Saturday was nothing short of inspirational.

Performing with her band and a string trio on the beautifully conceived “Pin Drop Tour”, Carlile et al. unplugged and dispensed with amplification, opting instead to trust in the theater’s beautiful acoustics and their own power to sustain us for the evening. It was an intimate distillation as embracing and as warming as any spirit, and with much more soul than I had prepared for. Continue reading →

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KRS-One shared wit and wisdom on the Trocadero stage

KRS-One
KRS-One | Photo by Morgan Smith | http://phobymo.tumblr.com/

Real hip-hop is alive and well. Sunday’s performances at The Troc, with KRS-One headlining, proved that not only is there so much to love about real, original hip-hop music but that like the people of Philadelphia that love comes in all forms. Mingling among 50-year-old men in bucket hats and crimson Adidas jumpsuits were skinny-legged hipsters, collar-popping bros and scores of others who defy categorization; an audience as boundless as the reach and appeal of the art.
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