Scenes from the first Khyber show in almost a decade

Radiator Hospital | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

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. Continue reading →


Here’s what was happening at The Khyber 24 years ago this month

Pavement in front of the Khyber Pass | photo from the Spiral Stairs archives | courtesy of the artist

Before it was a delicious and cozy Old City gastropub, The Khyber Pass was a dingy and vaguely frightening Philly rock dive. Actually, no: it was the dingy and vaguely frightening Philly rock dive.

In the early aughties, when I started covering the music scene, The Khyber was an essential hang for indie rock heads and live music lovers in general. Many drunken nights were had there, green Yeungling empties lining up on the tables and stomped-out cigarette butts collecting on the ground. Oh, the cigarette butts. When Philadelphia banned smoking in bars and restaurants in 2008, and I left a gig for the first time not reeking like an ashtry, with no musty coat to contend with the next day, my mind was effectively blown. We used to live like this? I wondered. We used to go hoarse from smoke and liquor and screaming? But of course we did. Because music. Continue reading →


Listen to “Surface of Last Scattering” from Many Arms (guitarist Nick Millevoi plays The Khyber on 3/28)

NickPhilly noise / experimental trio Many Arms played a set at New York City’s The Stone a few weeks ago, conveniently recording their mind-boggling excursions into free-form jazz for further exploration.  This is convenient because Many Arms’ recordings warrant and require multiple experiences; as Beats Per Minute points out, the structures, themes and essence of the trio’s music don’t lend themselves to instantaneous attachment. 

But it’s worth the effort.  When guitarist Nick Millevoi goes at it solo, as he will next Thursday at The Khyber, his twelve string guitar pieces land in a place equally as foreign but perhaps a bit more accessible with ebbs and flows into chaotic feedback and restrained melodies.  More information for the 21+ show with Spelling Bee, Heavy Medical and Drums Like Machine Guns can be found here.  Below, stream Many Arms’ “Surface of Last Scattering” and watch a video of Nick Millevoi performing  at the First Unitarian Church from 2011.

Continue reading →