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Made In America round two was a mixed bag, but Kendrick Lamar, Miguel and Alessia Cara saved the day

Kendrick Lamar | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

On paper, the second day of this year’s Made In America festival was the stronger lineup — it had Kendrick, Nicki, Pusha, Miguel, and those were just the top-billed names. The way it played out was a bit different, with equipment malfunctions (and wardrobe malfunctions) scattered across the day. It felt at a point like we were alternating between artists who had their act incredibly together, and those who did not, and though it was a mixed bag, it was a lot of fun to sort through. Here’s what we heard and saw.
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Janelle Monae, Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill and Miguel top Made in America lineup

Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae | still from video

The Made in America lineup is finally here, and this year, the highly-anticipated annual festival will bring a diverse, dozens-strong roster of artists to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The festival will take place September 1 and 2 — just about 90 days away, not that we’re counting.

Up in the top headlining slots are rappers Nicki Minaj and Post Malone, but this is the kind of festival lineup that merits more than a glance at the smaller print. Some of the standouts include the eclectic and awesome Janelle Monáe, fresh off the release of her new album Dirty Computer, as well as R&B star Miguel, and pop singer-songwriter Alessia Cara. Meek Mill, who has become somewhat of a hometown hero lately, will also appear for what is sure to be a triumphant set. Continue reading →

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Less War, More Leisure: Miguel holds court at The Fillmore Philadelphia

Miguel | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

I first saw Miguel Jontel Pimentel at South by Southwest, what feels like a very long six years ago. Back then, he was a promising but relatively conventional second-string R&B hitmaker – though already (unbeknownst to us at the time) in the midst of a metamorphosis that would lead him to the dazzling creative breakthrough of his second album, Kaleidoscope Dream. But even at that early stage, his nascent star power was blinding, and blindingly obvious. Some time later, mostly by happenstance, I caught the livestream of his set at Pitchfork Festival during the summer long hot of 2016 – just about a week after the deaths in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas – and witnessed the singer, dressed in angelic white, seizing an emotionally fraught historic moment and channeling it into an empowering, healing and utterly captivating performance.

Last night’s show at the Fillmore offered neither the thrill of discovery and sense of limitless possibility of that 2012 showcase set, nor the urgent topicality, coherence and moral force of the Pitchfork performance. But it didn’t need them. Even as nothing wilder than a seasoned working entertainer, punching in for another showbiz night, Miguel is among the best in the business. Throughout a generous twenty-plus-song set that drew from each of his four albums – including almost the entirety of his most recent, last year’s War and Leisure – he held the enthusiastic crowd in the palm of his hand all night long. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Miguel, Gepe, Deb Callahan, CRUISR, Palm and more

Miguel | Photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

As I type this, people around me are fretting about snowfall predictions and travel routes home; kind of unusual for a spring equinox. At the same time, we’ve got the first weekend of the new season ahead of us, and a whopping six concerts to choose from this Friday to kick it off, so things are looking up. From a couple shows from country icon k.d. lang to expansive experimental sounds from Philly’s Palm, punk rock from Yankee Bluff and hip-hop from Tiani Victoria, here are 18 concerts you can’t miss this week. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New music by Miguel, Baths, Karl Blau, Phoebe Bridgers, Little Mazarn, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and more

Phoebe Bridgers | Photo by Frank Ockenfels | via Dead Oceans

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Happy 2018! The year’s off to a great start, musically speaking, with much to look forward to on the horizon (including some heavy-hitters poised to return – The Breeders, David Byrne, Superchunk and Jack White among them) and a surprising number of strong releases already out in the world, a mere two weeks into the year. Plus the local concert calendar is already heating up, possibly more than any January I can remember. Let’s take a look at some of what’s ahead, concert-wise, by simultaneously taking one final glance back to 2017 at some cuts by artists who had notable breakthrough years, a few great late fall/early winter releases, and a smattering of others that you (or I) might have overlooked along the way. All but one have upcoming Philly tour dates – many of them happening this month and several further on down the line. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: California crooner Miguel brings his new record to The Fillmore in March

Miguel | Photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

After dropping Wildheart in 2016, which led to a slew of Grammy nominations and much critical acclaim, Miguel is gearing up to release his next project War & Leisure on December 1st. In the last month, the Los Angeles native has put out two killer singles in “Pineapple Skies” and “Come Through And Chill” to build some anticipation for the upcoming album after an almost two year hiatus from commercial releases. Continue reading →

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Miguel’s Wildheart tour takes flight at the TLA

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

Sporting a white leather jacket adorned with feathers and a bare chest underneath (much to the approval of the mostly female crowd) Miguel soared through his performance at the TLA on Friday night. He performed many songs off of his third album, and the tours namesake, Wildheart, as well as some others, with his immensely spirited band backing him. Continue reading →

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The Roots (of course), Miguel and Jennifer Nettles playing Wawa Welcome America

The Roots | Photo via https://www.facebook.com/WawaWelcomeAmerica/posts/900391980002753
The Roots | Photo via https://www.facebook.com/WawaWelcomeAmerica/posts/900391980002753

Wawa Welcome America announced the first several artists playing the 2015 Philly 4th of July jam on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Once again, The Roots will be holding down the day’s events, along with R&B singer and songwriter Miguel and country music star Jennifer Nettles. Continue reading →

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Miguel played a late night set at Ortlieb’s, Drake postpones show till 12/18

Photo care of Ortlieb’s Instagram | instagram.com/ortliebsphilly

If you live in Philly and were paying attention to Twitter between 8 and 10 p.m. last night, you might have seen a flurry of posts about Drake, who called off his concert at the Wells Fargo Center an hour after the show was scheduled to begin.

Opener Miguel made the best of the bad situation, however, making his way over to Ortlieb’s Lounge in Northern Liberties for an impromptu midnight show. Ortlieb’s is a famously tiny and narrow space, offering a closer and more intimate experience than any other venue the L.A. pop vocalist and songwriter might play, so a group of fans in the know packed the bar area for the show. DJ Suga Shay opened the proceedings, followed by Miguel and his four-piece backing band. Thanks to Kyle Costill of Ortlieb’s for being such a thorough Instagram documentary; check out a short video of the set below.

According to a statement provided to Philly.com, technical issues caused the concert to be postponed to Wednesday, December 18th. All original tickets and parking receipts will be honored.