Magic Gardens Art/Gage Festival expands for 2013 with more music, more food trucks, more installations

art gage PMG

Tomorrow night, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens will be hosting the Art / Gage Festival, an annual arts-music-food street fair event. Now in it’s sixth year, the festival has expanded to cover eight blocks of South Street, from Front to 9th. Magic Gardens events manager Allison Boyle says the festival aims to “bring in local artists, local music, and celebrate the creativity that we have here in Philly.”

For the first time this year, Art / Gage is partnering and collaborating with Night Market Philadelphia to expand the festival, both in size and in offerings; Night Market and The Food Trust will bring over 80 food trucks and local vendors to South Street – it’s supposed to be the largest Night Market Philly has yet seen.

There will be two stages – one on 9th Street and one on Second Street, playing live music all evening. “People love the bands – I think they’ll come out especially to see them,” Boyle says. Many awesome local musicians are set to perform, including Night Panther (who just released their debut LP), Norwegian Arms, Strand of Oaks, and The Late Ancients.

Beyond the music, there are many other artistic outlets to explore. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: DeVotchKa at The Trocadero, Django Django at Union Transfer, Norwegian Arms at PhilaMOCA, Brethren at The Grape Room

devotchkaDenver’s DeVotchKa bring their chamber orchestra project to The Trocadero tonight.  After recording a live album with the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Eastern European-influenced quartet hit the road with a chamber orchestra to bring the full and intricate layers of an orchestral performance to smaller stages.  The band is also testing out new material that will be recorded as a follow-up to 2011’s 100 Lovers.  Tickets and information for tonight’s all-ages show with Pearl and the Beard can be found here.  Below, watch DeVotchKa perform “All the Sand in All the Sea” live at Red Rocks with the Colorado Symphony.

Continue reading →


Video: Norwegian Arms performs “Wolf Like a Stray Dog” for Brighton Sound Sessions; playing PhilaMOCA this Friday 3/8

NArmsPhilly folk-freaks Norwegian Arms recently performed a few songs for Brighton Sound Sessions. The first installment is a performance of “Wolf Like a Stray Dog,” the title track from their debut full-length which was just released in January. You can catch them this Friday at PhilaMOCA with Scott Churchman – who is releasing his new tape, Ignore that Noise – Laser Background, and Circadian Rhythms. Find information on the show at the venue’s website.


Norwegian Arms performing an all-ages show at PhilaMOCA on 3/8

Because Philly just can’t enough of their uptempo alt-folk, Norwegian Arms have announced a date at PhilaMOCA with buddies Laser Background and Circadian Rhythms.  The mandolin / drums / synthesizer trio of Brendan Mulvihill, Eric Slick and Andy Molholt released their Siberian-themed debut LP Wolf Like a Stray Dog earlier this year, inspired by Mulvahill’s recent time spent in Russia.  Tickets and information for the all-ages show on March 8th can be found here.  Watch Norwegian Arms perform the album’s title track at their record release show in December below.


Interview: Laser Background’s Andy Molholt and Norwegian Arms’ Brendan Mulvihill on making music in unconventional spaces (house show tour begins tomorrow)

Laser Background
Laser Background

Yesterday evening, Andy Molholt of Philadelphia psych-pop group Laser Background and his longtime friend Brendan Mulvihill of the junkyard folk act Norwegian Arms moved into Dreamcastle, a house-show space in South Philadelphia. They’re living there temporarily, leading up to the kickoff show of their house show “tour” tomorrow night. The plan is an imaginative one: the band is performing four DIY spaces in Philly over the next four weeks. They have to live in each house for two days prior to the show, possibly constructing a pillow fort. They must adhere to “a strict food / drug regimen.” And they’ve got to write music, and perform the results. I grabbed drinks with Molholt and Mulvihill last week to talk about the unconventional residency series, its ambitions, and their affinity for Philly’s vibrant DIY scene.

THE KEY: Let’s sum up this mini-tour (that you’re not leaving the city for). You’re playing four house shows, and the rules are you have to stay in the house two days before playing the show, and collaborative preparational activities will take place while you’re staying there…

ANDY MOLHOLT: Collaborative preparational activities, I like that.

BRENDAN MULVIHILL: That’s really good.

AM: Make sure you put that in there.

TK: …and a song may result that you’ll perform at the show?

AM: More like a song must result.

BM: It’s a must?

AM: It’s a must! We’re good enough songwriters.

BM: We’re in this house for three days, we might as well do something.

AM: We didn’t really ever talk about if the song was going to be collaborative or not, we still have to figure that out. I thought we’d each write a song for our respective projects and perform them as our respective projects. But since I play in Norwegian Arms, and Brendan’s going to play in Laser Background for one of these shows where some of the guys can’t make it, maybe we can do that too.

BM: We’re not entirely sure what’s going to happen. It’s kind of just a big experiment. We might get into a fight. Or we might make out, that might be cool.

TK: It reminds me of the Netherfriends project where he lived in each state, had to write a song in each state. I guess that project is still ongoing. Was at all an influence on this project?

AM: If any of that factored in, it was definitely unintentional. I used to play with Netherfriends for a little bit, but I didn’t think about that. Residencies are kind of a silly idea to begin with – why would you want to go see a band in the same venue every night for four weeks straight?

BM: Not every night! “Come see us play 31 times…”

AM: [laughs] You know what I mean, though. I get that it’s good for the venue if the band’s popular enough. And you get different crowds each night because there’s different openers playing. But I just think it’s kind of silly. I thought it would funny to self-anoint our own residency at house shows. Then the actual living there idea developed, and Brendan had the idea that we had to write songs too.

BM: I mean, why not, right? Only seems natural.

AM: Brendan and I have known each other since we were 13, so these kinds of ideas come naturally.

BM: And we’re used to sleepovers. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Gold Motel, Laser Background, Mindy Smith, and the Rebirith Brass Band

While you get psyched for the XPoNential Fest this weekend, check out some of these awesome shows happening tonight:

A hot new band from Chicago who call themselves Gold Motel have been playing together for three years creating vivacious indie pop sounds perfect for your summer playlist. Tonight they play at North Star Bar along with local singer/songwriter Lucy Stone, as well as Tailain Rayne and Dark Black. Tickets to this all ages show are $10, doors open at 7pm. Listen to Gold Motel’s song “Leave You in Love” below.

The new dream pop project from Andy Molholt, Laser Background, is having its self-titled EP release party at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Laser Background takes pieces from zooming laser sound effects to jazzy percussion to vocal tracks resembling Echo & The Bunnymen. Watch his video for “Weird Conscience” below. Supporting acts tonight include Arrah & The Ferns and Circadian Rhythms. This 21+ show is only $5 and starts at 8pm. Go here to get your tickets.

Over at World Cafe Live at the Queen, WXPN welcomes Grammy award winning brothers from New Orleans, the Rebirth Brass Band. The heavy funk group has also just announced that they will be going on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers starting in November. You can purchase tickets to their show in Wilmington tonight here.

At World Cafe Live Upstairs, singer/songwriter Mindy Smith‘s Closer Tour stops by, with an opening set from Rosi Golan. The show begins at 8pm, tickets are $18 in advanced and $20 day of show.


Laser Background releases a zany music video for “Weird Conscience” (playing Kungfu Necktie on 7/19)

After the absurdist Philadelphia psychedelic pop foursome The Armchairs disbanded just over a year ago, co-songwriter Andy Molholt focused his energies into Laser Background, a zany one-man project cut very much from similar cloth. The self-titled EP he digitally released in the winter is bright, fast, catchy, a bit quirky and far-out, but in a way that makes you want to rush along and join it. Musically, it easily recalls The Apples In Stereo and Of Montreal. Next week Molholt celebrates the EP’s physical release – on cassette via the UK’s Stroll On Records tape label, and on 7″ via Molholt’s own imprint – with an appearance at Kung Fu Necktie in Fishtown. Leading up to the show, Laser Background yesterday released a video for “Weird Conscience,” filmed in various locales around north-eastern Montgomery County and Bucks County. (Love the shots on the wooden horse playground at Peace Valley Park – many a splinter I suffered growing up as a result of those things.) The video is a total blast, and you can check it out below while making plans to catch the band next Thursday. Laser Background, Arrah and The Ferns and Circadian Rhythms play Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 North Front St., on Thurs. July 19 at 8 p.m. Admission to the 21+ show is $5.

Laser Background – Weird Conscience from Laser Background on Vimeo.


First Annual Sundrop Music And Arts Festival May 27-29 at The Fire

From the folks at The Fire:

In an attempt to fill the void left by festivals past, and offer a good alternative to flocking to the shore, many of Philadelphia’s finest local musicians will participate in the Inaugural Sundrop Music and Arts Festival. The festival includes three great nights of music at the Fire, and an all-day, two stage show and craft fair on Saturday May 28th. Stages will be located at Trios Tratorria and outside of the Fire, with vendors offering fine art, crafts, and food lining the path between the Trios Stage and Las Cazuelas.

The Fest kicks off Friday May 27th with a show headlined by local favorite Hezekiah Jones, supported by an amazing bill including Sisters 3, Up The Chain, and more. Between Saturday May 28th’s two outdoor stages, you’ll be able to catch sets from a wide spectrum of Philly talent, ranging from Circadian Rhythms to Attia Taylor, to the Spinning Leaves, and also including Yellow Humphrey and Paper Masques. Saturday night moves inside with a mega-bill, featuring Drink Up Buttercup with support from Toy Soldiers, Orbit To Leslie, Busses, and a second set from Paper Masques. On Sunday May 29th the Fest ends with a bang, as Illinois headlines a packed bill featuring US Funk Team, Arrah and the Ferns, and the first full band Philly show for Doylestown’s own Peasant.

The night shows begin at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10; the Saturday outdoor show begins at 3 p.m. and is free. Visit or for more info.