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XPN Fest Recap: Zeek Burse brings unity to the Marina Stage

Zeek Burse | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

The Marina Stage crowd was still filtering in when Zeek Burse took the stage this afternoon, but as his powerful sound filled the park, the audience showed up — and even though it’s early in the day, they came ready to dance.

The charismatic performer engaged the audience throughout his personality-packed rock and soul set — there’s a reason he used to perform under the name “The Experience.” Continue reading →

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ILL DOOTS teams up with Khemist and Zeek Burse to reflect on objectification and othering in the new “Free” video

ILL DOOTS | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
ILL DOOTS | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Philly hip-hop collective ILL DOOTS released their self-titled LP last summer, and now they’re back with a video for “Free,” the album’s closing track. Local artists Zeek Burse and Khemist, who both contributed vocals on the track, join the ILL DOOTS crew for the video as well.

As bright and catchy as the song itself, the colorful video pairs the upbeat tone of “Free” with its more serious message — according to a statement from the band, “‘Free’ is a commentary on the commodification of black bodies, fetishization of poverty, gentrification, and being a person of color in a white world.” Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions: Zeek Burse

We first met charismatic Philly crooner Zeek Burse a couple years back when he lent his vocal talents to a Key Studio Session by transglobal house music outfit Worldtown Soundsystem. That crew, as we observed at the time, very much operates like a family, and Burse carries the same spirit over to his own ensemble — a seven-piece rock band that brings a bounty of energy to its monthly engagements at South Philly rhythm and blues institution Warmdaddy’s, as well as to Zeek’s 2017 record XXII…and this week’s Key Studio Session.

Burse is a engaging performer, a dynamic singer and a gifted interpreter of songs; a recent gig saw him tackling songs by Prince (his self-professed number-one influence), Gnarls Barley and Imagine Dragons. Those Warmdaddy’s shows mix in a fair amount of covers, but his own material is impeccably strong. XXII is funky and fun, filled with hooks, grooves, and unexpected sonic turns — there’s room to dance and room to meditate.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Not Fur Longs at Boot and Saddle, Zeek Burse at Warmdaddy’s, Orchestra Afrisa International at Johnny Brenda’s, and more…

The Not Fur Longs | via the band's Facebook page
The Not Fur Longs | via the band’s Facebook page

New Jersey indie rockers The Not Fur Longs will support Gene Wildest and Kodiak Park at Boot & Saddle tonight. Their latest full length, Not Fur Songs, dropped a little over a year ago, but just last month, they shared “We Wish You a Marley Christmas,” a reggae-tinged holiday track and their latest contribution to the long-running Arbor Christmas compilation series. Stream the video for Not Fur Songs below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar to grab your tickets for the show. Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Zeek Burse and Paralee Knight

Zeek Burse and Paralee Knight | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com
Zeek Burse and Paralee Knight | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller | koalafoto.com

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Singer, songwriter and music producer Zeek Burse has been on a musical sojourn for the past three years in Philly. When a chance meeting with one of Philly’s greatest R&B vocalists got Burse involved with The Boom Room Studio’s “Music Church,” Burse had an opportunity with drummer and producer Gary Dann’s music collective Worldtown Soundsystem to show off the talent that he’d developed from a young age almost exclusively under the influence of American Deep South gospel — most recently resulting in WorldTown’s electric debut single “Testify,” featuring Burse on lead vocals.

Since then, however, and along with songwriting companion Paralee Knight, Burse’s influences have diversified and evolved. At the top of 2016, expect to find the charismatic soul singer playing dates around Philly with Worldtown, at his new music residency at Relish, and dropping a new EP on February 22nd. The recording project — titled 22 — seeks to focus on and specifically feature the various musical styles that Burse has developed, the eclectic influences with which some time spent evolving as a Philadelphia artist have informed his style. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Girlpool at Union Transfer, Dawes at The Fillmore, Zeek Burst at Warmdaddy’s and more…

girlpool
Girlpool | photo by Kacie Tomita | courtesy of the artist

Girlpool headline Union Transfer tonight with support from friends Ian Sweet and Lexie. The duo of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad expanded their minimalist sound to include drums on last month’s Powerplant, a move that emphasizes their always-resonant sharing of vulnerability with even more dynamics. Watch “It Gets More Blue” below and pick up tickets for the all-ages show here.

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Gary Dann’s journey from the bedroom to the Boom Room

Gary Dann aka Boom Room Dude | photo by Fawziyya Heart | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia-born musician, engineer and studio owner Gary Dann is a man who wears many hats.

As a drummer, he is a member of the Worldtown Soundsystem, a multi-headed musical juggernaut whose sound ranges from Afrobeat, house, Latin music and beyond. He is also the founder and owner of Boom Room, a beautiful two-level recording studio and rehearsal space located in the city’s Fishtown section. It was in his early teen years that his love of music and penchant for getting things done first began to take root. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Sidney Gish, JD McPherson, Kingsley Ibeneche, Lyle Lovett, and #XPNFest of course

Kingsley Ibeneche’s Realms ensemble | photo courtesy of the artist

Okay, friends, it’s the final week in July, and that means one thing here in the XPN universe: the XPoNential Music Festival. So while that is our number one concert suggestion for the week — and who can argue with this ridiculous lineup starring Hozier, Japanese Breakfast, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Amy Ray, Guster, Dawes, Lucy Dacus, Caroline Rose, Y La Bamba, local folks like Ali Awan, RFA, Foxtrot and the Get Down, and Zeek Burse — there is lots more live music to see this week. From the Glasgow post-punk duo Sacred Paws tonight to the jazz stylings of Lafayette Gilchrist and the retro rock swagger of JD McPherson, here are 13 concerts to see all around Philadelphia in the next seven days. Continue reading →

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And now, your full #XPNFest lineup: Elvis Costello, Blondie, Guster, J.S. Ondara, Lucy Dacus, and much more

clockwise from left: Elvis Costello, Guster, J.S. Ondara, Lucy Dacus, Blondie | photos courtesy of the artists

“When is the XPoNential lineup coming?” seems to be the question of the year over here at XPN HQ, and today we finally have a good answer for you: the full lineup is here. Right now.

We got a teaser of the 2019 XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru last week when we announced our Friday night headlinersHozier and Japanese Breakfast — along with the Wiggins Park lineup for that day, from Foxtrot and the Get Down to Dawes.

Today, the full lineup is here, capped by a headlining double-header on Saturday, July 27th with Elvis Costello & The Imposters and Blondie at BB&T Pavilion. Sunday’s concert will take place entirely at Wiggins Park, and will feature festival-closing sets from Kathleen Edwards, Guster, and The Amy Ray Band. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Adia Victoria, James Blake, Things Fall Apart tribute, Anderson .Paak and more

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals @ The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle

From tonight’s headlining set form DIY faves Adult Mom to Sunday’s hotly anticipated return of Anderson .Paak, singer-songwriters Lily & Madeline and a 20th anniversary tribute to Things Fall Apart, this week is packed with live music. Here are 15 concerts to see in the next 7 days, all around Philly. Continue reading →