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Archive for the ‘Ardmore, PA’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: December 22, 2021] KT Tunstall / Christine Havrilla [moved from August 23, 2020]

So KT Tunstall was supposed to play three shows in my area.  The show at Ardmore was added when the other shows were rescheduled.  Then COVID pushed the shows back again.

For some reason this show was listed as being on December 8 for a short time before it was corrected to being on December 22.

That meant that it looked like she was playing four shows in the Philly area at different venues.

I like Ardmore, although if I can see a band closer I will go there instead.  Even though KT’s SOPAC show was postponed, the fact that it was postponed and not cancelled meant that I could just wait until she came back to South Orange. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: December 10, 2021] KT Tunstall / New Reveille [rescheduled from March 27, 2020 and February 12, 2021]

I enjoyed watching the saga of KT Tunstall’s shows getting scheduled and postponed and reschedule and postponed again.  Not because I want her (or anyone to be unhappy), but because it was a good bellweather as to what was going on.  Unlike most artists, KT was really game to get out there.

Plus she had three shows in my area and it seemed like I saw her name all the time.

Well, things finally opened up and she was playing her shows.  Of the three, I was most likely to go to this one since it was closest.  And then a short time before the show, it was postponed as well.  But her other shows weren’t

But this time it wasn’t because of COVID or other health related issues, it was actually a boon for her (although not for SOPAC).

She was invited to sing at the 41st Annual John Lennon Tribute Concert at Symphony Space in New York City.  A good reason to postpone a show.

I see that in the new year, KT is on the West Coast, so I’m not sure when she’ll be back for SOPAC, but I’m sure her local fans will be waiting.

New Reveille is an Americana/bluegrass band from North Carolina.  They’ve got banjo, fiddle and a ton of attitude.  While they are definitely in the country vein, I think the bluegrass and the rockingness (they cover The Killers live) makes them a potentially fun live band.  For the three shows in the area, she has three different opening acts.  This one might be the most fun.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: December 2, 2021] Darlingside / Lullanas

S. and I love Darlingside and have seem them several times.  I have them on my list of bands to see wherever and whenever. But sometimes things get in the way.

I think seeing them at Ardmore Music Hall would be a treat.  The sound would be amazing.  But sometimes getting to Ardmore is a hassle.

Plus, it actually felt nice to stay home for a week.  So we blew off this show, safe in the knowledge that they’ll be back to entertain us in the not too distant future.

I’d never heard of Lullanas.  According to their label

Twin sisters Atisha and Nishita Lulla, aka LULLANAS, create songs wrapped in Americana warmth, folk eloquence, country storytelling, and unassuming pop ambition. Their debut EP, Before Everything Got Real, thrives on an inimitable and familial balance.

They sound like an excellent complement to Darlingside.

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[ATTENDED: October 9, 2021] The Menzingers

I saw The Menzingers open for Weezer back in 2016 and really enjoyed them.  I’d been wanting to see them again mostly because I was really far from the band when I saw them and couldn’t really get into it the way I might have liked.

So when they were listed as headlining two nights of Philly Music Fest I knew I had to see them.  Especially in a small place like Ardmore Music Hall.

I have only been to Ardmore a couple of times.  My favorite show there was Marco Benevento where the sound was outstanding.  Even right up against the stage.  Well, for this show I was right up against the stage (although as more and more people crowded into the place, I moved away from the band’s more devoted (and a little crazy) fans.  But apparently I never got far back enough because literally all I could hear the whole show was Tom May’s guitar.  And May tends to play lead licks and solos, so I never really got the backing chords of Greg Barnett unless May wasn’t playing anything (which happened from time to time).

Obviously it was more fun being able to see bassist Eric Keen and drummer Joe Godino (who I couldn’t see at all last time), but it was weird having the sound so disjointed.  Throughout the set I tries moving further and further away from the stage, but I was never able to get further to the middle. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 9, 2021] Control Top

I saw Control Top open for Ted Leo a couple of years ago and they were amazing.

I have been wanting to see them again live.  They’ve had a few shows cancelled and there was no real plan for them to play again in 2021, but then they were asked to play Philly Music Fest and I grabbed tickets right away.

Control Top is a trio of bassist/singer Ali Carter, guitarist Al Creedon and drummer Alex Lichtenauer.  They play a mix of raging screaming songs and somewhat more mellow raging songs.

Carter’s hair was dyed silver and looked pretty great.  She played a perfect combination of looking very nice and then raging really intensely.  It was great being up close and watching her expression change as she went from verse to angry chorus.

But for me the amazing draw was watching Creedon wail on guitar.  The sounds he creates are amazing and he’s so busy while he’s playing it’s never always clear how he’s making the sounds he’s making.

Carter told us that she was pretty psyched to be playing live music again and it sounds like they’re heading to the studio for a new record.

I took some great close up pictures but for some reason my camera wouldn’t load to my computer.  And, worse yet, now I can’t adjust my video posts on Instagram so none of them are center-able.  So there’s no good documentation of this show.

The one bad thing about the show was that the band’s music came from their amps alone (I think).  So I was right in front of Ali’s bass amp which meant I couldn’t hear the guitars all that well (I was right in front of the drums, though and could hear them just fine.  I tried to move around a bit but it was already getting crowded, so I stayed put.  The plus side was that when Ali jumped into the crowd during “Covert Contracts” (something she does every show), she was right next tom e singing.  In fact when she stomped through the crowd, I had to jump so that I wouldn’t get tangled in her microphone cord (that’s pretty cool).

  1. Straight Jackets
  2. Type A
  3. Unapologetic
  4. One Good Day
  5. Black Hole
  6. Chain Reaction
  7. Prism
  8. Office Rage
  9. Covert Contracts

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[ATTENDED: October 9, 2021] highnoon

Philly Music Fest started in 2017.  I went to a show in 2019–a great line up!  Last year was online only, but this year it was back.  The lineup was different and wonderful.  And, thankfully, the two bands I wanted to see most were on the same bill.

I hadn’t heard of highnoon.  Artist Kennedy Freeman launched Highnoon in 2019.   Now Highnoon is led by Kennedy Freeman with longtime collaborator, Justin Roth on drums, Brendan Simpson on guitar, and Nathan Avila on bass.

I listened to their music and found it pretty and quiet.   Their new EP, Divers is their first body of work since their debut record, Semi Sweet.

I wasn’t expecting a pretty rocking set from this seemingly quiet foursome.  Actually, singer Freeman maintained a pretty quiet level throughout, but she was counterbalanced by some pretty wild guitar shredding from Simpson.  I took some really cool videos of Simpson’s playing, but at this time, Instagram decided that it would no longer allow me to move my video up or down to get the main part of the video into focus.  And since I didn’t want to post videos of only people’s heads or of people with no heads, I didn’t post any from this set.  Which is a shame.

I didn’t know the names of any songs, although I suspect a bunch came form their two EPs.   The one song I did know was their cover of “Yellow” by Coldplay–a rather leftfield cover I thought, but really solid.  Kennedy played mostly slow chords and she had a pretty soft and gentle voice.  But the band did rock out from time to time and Brendan Simpson was a madman on guitars.  Great soloing and some classic rocking poses.

They were a great warm up act.

 

 

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[POSTPONED: February 12, 2021] KT Tunstall / New Reveille [rescheduled from March 27, 2020; moved to December 10, 2021]

index

The SOPAC site says that new dates will be announced for this show.  It’s nice to read postponed rather than cancelled.

When it was announced that KT Tunstall was going to play SOPAC, my first thought was probably, huh, she’s still around?

Then over the last few months I’ve been seeing more and more about her.  I also feel like her name keeps cropping up in local venues.

After listening to a live show of hers on WXPN, I realized that she’s really good (and released songs I didn’t realize were hers).  I had no intention of going to this show but with all of her shows rescheduled and the new one being moved to next year, this might be a nice show to go to.

New Reveille is an Americana/bluegrass band from North Carolina.  They’ve got banjo, fiddle and a ton of attitude.  While they are definitely in the country vein, I think the bluegrass and the rockingness (they cover The Killers live) makes them a potentially fun live band.  For the three shows in the area, she has three different opening acts.  This one might be the most fun.

sopac

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SOUNDTRACK: JAPANESE BREAKFAST-Live at Philly Music Fest @Ardmore Music Hall, Philadelphia PA, September 25, 2020).

I saw Japanese Breakfast back in 2018 at Union Transfer.  It was a really fun show.  Since Michelle Zauner is from Philly she really made the show personal. 

During the introduction to her set for Philly Music Fest, the announcer said that he’d been trying to get Japanese Breakfast to play this festival since it began.  So one good thing about the pandemic was that the band was still in Philly and not world touring.

We got to watch the band come out from back stage, take up their instruments and start “Diving Woman.”  This song has a wonderful, memorable bass line and a jamming guitar solo from her lead guitarist.

For this show she had the addition of Molly on violin.  Molly added so much to the upbeat and poppy “In Heaven.”

Michelle put down the guitar for “The Woman That Loves You,” a shorter song that was followed by the funkier “Road Head.”  This song is really catchy and has a very interesting slide sound from the bass.

It was funny to see her not playing the guitar because usually when she just had the microphone, she would interact with the crowd some.  But she only had the video monitor to look at.  Nevertheless, after the song she said “it feels great to feel like you have a purpose again.”

They played a new song–the first time the band played it together–called  “Kokomo Indiana” which is from the perspective of a love-lorn 17 year-old boy whose girlfriend moved to Australia for a summer exchange program.  It was a slower song with a slide guitar melody.

Michelle returned to the guitar for “Boyish” the catchy song from her old band Little Big League, with the chorus

I can’t get you off my mind
I can’t get you off in general
so here we are we’re just two losers
I want you and you want something more beautiful

Up next was “The Body is a Blade” with some slinky guitar lines.  After the song, someone triggered a sample of a crowd cheering, which was fun to hear and made Michele laugh.

Michelle put the guitar down again for “Essentially,” with a dynamite bass line that runs through the song.

Then she sat at the keyboard for the next song.  A new one called “Tactic.”  This is the first time she’s sat at the keyboard, “I feel very professional.” Her guitarist also played keys for this slow song.

She commented that it was lovely to see The Districts play–they are rehearsal space buddies and she felt it was surreal hearing them practice for the same show that her band was.

Then it as time for an old classic, the bouncy “Heft,” with a really nifty guitar line after the chorus.

During the quarantine, Michelle made a quarantine music project with Ryan from Crying.  The band is called BUMPER, and they released an EP called Pop Songs 2020.  She did a countrified version of the song “Ballad O” which was a look at both perspectives from Kenny Roger’s “Don’t Take Your Love To Town.”  Peter plays the slide guitar and the drummer sings the male parts.

She announced that her bass player Devon was going to get married (cue the fake cheers from the sampler) and so she was going to play a sing about marriage, “Til Death.”  This is the first song I’d heard from Japanese Breakfast many years ago and it always sounds great live.  The opening verse feels even more poignant today:

all our celebrities keep dying
while the cruel men continue to win

Then came a surprise cover: Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels.”  Musically it sounded spot on and I enjoyed her vocal take on it–not unusual or weird, just very differed with her voice instead of Roland Orzabal’s.  Then for the “da da da da” part at the end, three of The Districts came out (with masks on) to sing into one of the microphones.  It was a wonderful moment of live spontaneity (or not, but still) that is what makes live shows so much fun.

They followed that with a ripping version of “Everybody Wants to Love You.”  The drummer sang the backing vocals on this part to good effect.

Michelle took a moment before the last song to use her platform and say that of course “Black Lives Matter.  Not just saying it, it means marching and fighting.  Please vote.  We must work to defund the police and invest in our communities.”

That’s another thing I’d missed about live shows–bonding over good causes.

They ended with a “goofy” cover of a “Taste of Ink” by The Used.   I don’t know the song or the band, but it was a jangly bouncing song and the most rocking song of the night.

And then it was over.   While it was nice not having to drive an hour to get home, I still would have preferred to be there (although maybe not right now).

Diving Woman [§]
In Heaven [¶]
The Woman That Loves You [¶]
Road Head [§]
Kokomo, Indiana [new]
Boyish [Little Big League song]
The Body is a Blade [§]
Essentially [newish]
Tactic [new]
Heft [¶]
Ballad 0 [BUMPER song]
Til Death [§]
Head Over Heels [Tears for Fears cover]
Everybody Wants to Love You [¶]
Taste of Ink [The Used cover]

[§] Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017)
[¶] Psychopomp (2016)

[READ: September 24, 2020] “Sultana’s Dream”

During the COVID Quarantine, venerable publisher Hingston & Olsen created, under the editorship of Rebecca Romney, a gorgeous box of 12 stories.  It has a die-cut opening to allow the top book’s central image to show through (each book’s center is different).  You can get a copy here.

This is a collection of science fiction stories written from 1836 to 1998.  Each story imagines the future–some further into the future than others.

As it says on the back of the box

Their future.  Our present.  From social reforms to climate change, video chat to the new face of fascism, Projections is a collection of 12 sci-fi stories that anticipated life in the present day.

About this story, Romney writes

I first learned about Muslim Bengalese feminist and writer Begum Rokeya through a massive landmark anthology: Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s The Big Book of Science Fiction published in 2016. …  The story was first published in The Indian Ladies Journal in 1905…. She simply switches the roles of men and women in her Muslim society.  This may seem like a simple trick, but … writers of science fiction have long known that sometimes a switch on perspective is all it takes to illuminate truths that are otherwise obscure.

This story is pretty simple and straightforward.  A woman, Sultana, falls asleep.  She dreams (or is it real?) that a woman named Sister Sara has come to walk her through the streets of Darjeeling. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE DISTRICTS-Live at Philly Music Fest @Ardmore Music Hall, Philadelphia PA, September 25, 2020).

I was supposed to see The Districts play at Union Transfer on March 12.  COVID-19 had just found its way into New Jersey and Pennsylvania and I was being very cautious so I decided to skip the show.  It was a safe decision, but one that I now regret as it would have been a pretty great final show of the year.

Last year I went to one night of the Philly Music Fest and it was terrific.  This year, the Philly Music Fest was all virtual.  The live shows were played at Ardmore Music Hall and there were some prerecorded shows as well.

If this were a show I could have attended (apparently, some “golden tickets” were given out to a few people, but I have no idea how), the two live bands are exactly who I would have wanted to see.  The Districts opened for Japanese Breakfast.  And in the live stream, Arnetta Johnson & Sunny played before The Districts and Zeek Burse played in between them.

So here was my chance to see The Districts playing live.  I’m actually not sure if I would have gone had I gotten a golden ticket (I have read that 25 people were in the place including the band).  When they played Union Transfer, they played 26 songs in what must have been quite a long show.  For this show, they only had about 45 minutes.  So they played 10 songs from their last two albums and a new song.

They opened with “My Only Ghost,” which opens the new album.  It’s a quiet song with a nifty bassline and a lot of atmospheric keys.  It’s an unusual song for them, with a lot of gentle falsetto singer.  But it works as a good opener.

Up next was “Nighttime Girls,” a 2018 single that I didn’t know.  It rocks with echoing whammy bar guitar chords.  The band really started having fun with this song.  When the song ended a slow drum beat thumped as they prepped for the next song.  They thanked everyone for coming out and talked about how excited they were to play live again.  a

Then they launched into “Fat Kiddo” from Popular Manipulations.

The camera came up behind them to show that there was a video monitor in front of them where they could see the people watching online.  After shouting out to a few people, they started the ripping “Sidecar” with the really fun “hoo hoo hoo” singalong part.

After some more chatting with more of the “zoomers” and acknowledging the few people in the audience whom they cannot see, they play the wonderful new “Hey Jo.”  It was great to hear this live.

As the band tuned up there were samples of tweeting birds and a slow rumble of bass and drums.  Singer Rob Grote says, “someone’s putting on quite the show on zoom,” before jumping into a great sounding “If Before I Wake.”  The band sounds really tight as they jump between the quiet verses and the loud ones.

Then one of them looks at the screen and says “hey that’s my apartment!  that’s my girlfriend.”  She says “you guys are great. Love you!” It’s nice they unmuted her for that.  They play the moody “And the Horses All Go Swimming” (which they did not play at UT) and there’s some wild soloing at the end.  I think the band would have been bouncing around if there was an audience, but they are pretty animated.

Up next was the slow whistling opening of “4th of July.”  It was followed by the faster “Salt” complete with gang vocals during the chorus.

The set was nearing the end and they played their fantastic new song “Cheap Regrets.”  This is one of my favorite songs of the year.  I love that it’s totally retro sounding but not retro at all.  It’s got a great bassline and keys.  They rocked this out to a roaring ending.

They ended the show with a new song that is quiet and pretty with a flute-like keyboard and mellow guitar.  There’s some great changes in the song and some really cool guitar parts.  It might be called “Do It Over.”

And that was it.  Was it as good as being at a live show?  Not really.  But it was still petty great seeing them play live and have a good time.

My Only Ghost [¥]
Nighttime Girls [single]
Fat Kiddo [¶]
Sidecar [¥]
Hey Jo [¥]
If Before I Wake [¶]
And the Horses All Go Swimming [¥]
4th of July [¥]
Salt [¶]
Cheap Regrets [¥]
Do It Over [new]

¥ = You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere (2020)
¶ Popular Manipulations (2017)

[READ: September 24, 2020] Light Ahead for the Negro (an excerpt)

During the COVID Quarantine, venerable publisher Hingston & Olsen created, under the editorship of Rebecca Romney, a gorgeous box of 12 stories.  It has a die-cut opening to allow the top book’s central image to show through (each book’s center is different).  You can get a copy here.

This is a collection of science fiction stories written from 1836 to 1998.  Each story imagines the future–some further into the future than others.

As it says on the back of the box

Their future.  Our present.  From social reforms to climate change, video chat to the new face of fascism, Projections is a collection of 12 sci-fi stories that anticipated life in the present day.

About this story, Romney writes that this is an early example of Afrofuturism and of utopianism.  It follows in the tradition of Edward Bellamy’s 1888 Looking Backward in imagining a future society that has changed for the better due to a vastly different political climate.  As with most such vision, Johnson’s world manages to be both too optimistic and too pessimistic.

In his 2006, news outlets no longer produce racist content, yet there are only 11,000 Bloack doctors…. The main characters’ conversations about “now and then” are in reality, a survey of cutting edge political thought on issues of major concern to Black citizens of 1904: voting disenfranchisement, lynchings, reconstruction, employment, poverty, education and more.

Johnson was a practicing attorney when he wrote this and he later became the first African American to be elected to the New York State legislature in 1917.

The book opens in 1906 with the narrator flying in a dirigible to the South.  He is planing to help the Negroes in the South adjust to their new citizenship.  But the dirigible hits bad weather and he is lifted up into the atmosphere only to come back to earth in the year 2006.  (more…)

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[POSTPONED: August 23, 2020] KT Tunstall / Christine Havrilla

index

Initially, KT Tunstall wasn’t going to play Ardmore Music hall when she scheduled her Spring tour.  She had a date at SOPAC in NJ in March and a date in Sellersville in May.

With the rescheduling of her shows, she added a show at Ardmore Music Hall, sponsored by WXPN.  And there’s a really hopping poster attached to it.

Of all the advertising for her shows, this one certainly looks the most exciting.  This rescheduled show was on the same date as my Wilco / Sleater-Kinney show, so I wouldn’t have gone…but with the Wilco show cancelled earlier, it was a possibility,

I had forgotten about KT Tunstall.  I had her first record and then didn’t realize that she had had a couple of other (big) hits since “Suddenly I See.”

Her name has been popping up all over the place lately and each time I saw her name I wondered if I should check her out.  She’s touring with Hall and Oates this summer and she seems to be doing a lot of local shows as a headliner.  All of this repetition has me thinking I might go see her.  But mostly I’m intrigued by how much her name is going to show up in these posts soon.

Christine Havrilla is a folksinger who sounds a bit like she could sing with the Indigo Girls.  She’s from Philadelphia and apparently if she’s with her band Gypsy Fuzz she rocks out harder than solo–although the song I heard veered a bit into country.

seller

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