Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: HAYLEY WILLIAMS-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #124 (December 9, 2020).

I basically missed Paramore entirely.  I’ve heard a few songs not realizing it was them and really liked them.  I listened to a bit more recently and really like the pop punk energy.

So this Tiny Desk (Home) Concert came as a real surprise. The music is stripped down and really spare.  There’s a real dancey element (funky bass and drums) and the guitars are really quiet.

The second big surprise came when Hayley introduced her band.  Becca Mancari on keys and backing vocals!  And Julien Baker on guitar!

This change in musicians and sound is intentional.

Petals for Armor is a soul-cleansing exhale from years of holding her breath. Originally released in a series of EPs, her solo debut sings through heartache in a tangle of triumph and hard-earned wisdom. It’s a pop album that knows sadness can simmer, but also shout over an ever-shifting sonic palette.

She plays three songs in ten minutes.

During the pandemic and protests, Williams has played these songs from her couch with muted restraint, and self-serenaded with acoustic covers — sad songs really can be sympathetic companions during dark days. But in her home, surrounded by blank canvases, Williams and friends splash a bottled-up energy.

The joy is infectious, as “Pure Love” bursts from first bloom

Aaron Steele counts off on the drums, while Williams gives a Huh! and Joey Howard introduces a funky bass line.  Her voice is powerful and soars throughout.

I’m disconcerted by the high fiving after the song–I hope they’ve been safe.

“Taken” shows off Baker’s jazzy-funk licks.

It opens with an outstanding bass from Joey Howard line that repeats throughout.  The song feels quintessentially dancey and a very different sound from Paramore.  Baker plays quietly wah-wah’d guitar as Mancari sings the backing bah bah bahs.  Williams plays a keyboard on a very tiny stand (I feel for her back).  The best moment comes with the five seconds of silence while Williams looks around and then jumps back into the danciness.

For the final song, Williams leans into the “Dead Horse” kiss-off with gleeful abandon.

The foundation of this song is the funky drum and bass once more. Williams picks up the guitar, but it’s Baker who plays the slightly askew riff that opens the song.  Baker plays lead licks throughout while Williams adds grace notes.  The best of which comes at 10:08 when both Williams and Baker plays a single note in harmony to make it really stand out.

And that kiss off?

When I say goodbye, I hope you cry.

[READ: January 5, 2021] “A Philadelphia Local is Unamused by the Fuss”

Today seemed like an ideal day to post about this election-related essay from Dave Eggers.

Today, a bunch if seditious Senators are going to pretend like our election was unfair.  They are going to make a spectacle of themselves and question the integrity of our very democracy.  They should be removed from office immediately.

This essay shows, in a small aside, how this phony scandal, this manufactured outrage, was created by the trump team long before the election happened.

On November 5th, while the election results were being tabulated, Eggers was in Philadelphia talking with Anna Palagruto.

Palagruto is the quintessential Philadelphian:

Palagruto has an accent so acute–“gonna” was “go-won-a” and an attitude so Philly-specific, that, if the city ever wanted a no B-S tourism spokesperson, no one but her would suffice. Come to Philly, she’d say. Or don’t.  No one cares.

Palagruto is fed up with the protesters on both sides. (more…)

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: December 18, 2020] Andy Shauf / Faye Webster [rescheduled from May 15, 2020]

indexPostponing shows until December seemed like a safe bet.  My calendar was pretty free and I was hoping to see shows by now.  I’m not sure if I’d rather have gone to Philly or Asbury Park, though.  Well, next year will held me decide, I’m sure.

Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer songwriter.  He sings quiet, introspective songs.  He was playing at Union Transfer at the beginning of Mat and then in New Jersey in the middle of May.

I was introduced to his music from a Tiny Desk Concert in which he never really moves.  He has very long hair which also never moves.  His songs are really very pretty and well constructed.

It’s his voice that I find utterly fascinating.  He enunciates in such an unusual way.  The way he emphasizes certain vowels defies his Saskatchewan upbringing.  He sings not unlike Margaret Glaspy and other newer sings who stress their vowels in an unusual to me way.

I really enjoyed his Tiny Desk and I enjoyed reading about the album The Party which sounds like the worst party ever.

Since then he has cut all of his hair and looks totally different–I wasn’t even sure it was the same guy.

Faye Webster is a singer from Georgia who actually has a similar singing style to Andy, which is fascinating.  She sings low key torchy ballads and would be a perfect opening act for him.  I’m going to have to listen to a bit more from her.

He’s the kind of musician that I would think about going to but probably wouldn’t, and then I’d wish I had.  Well, now I have two more chances.

His initial itinerary fascinated me:

Boston, Brooklyn, Philly, D.C., North Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, Alabama, Indiana, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, upstate New York.

The rescheduled shows keep the same basic set up except that now Philly is the day before NJ–I wonder what changed that plan.

shuaf

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: December 17, 2020] Andy Shauf / Faye Webster [rescheduled from May 1]

indexPostponing shows until December seemed like a safe bet.  My calendar was pretty free and I was hoping to see shows by now.  I’m not sure if I’d rather have gone to Philly or Asbury Park, though.  Well, next year will held me decide, I’m sure.

Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer songwriter.  He sings quiet, introspective songs.  He was playing at Union Transfer at the beginning of Mat and then in New Jersey in the middle of May.

I was introduced to his music from a Tiny Desk Concert in which he never really moves.  He has very long hair which also never moves.  His songs are really very pretty and well constructed.

It’s his voice that I find utterly fascinating.  He enunciates in such an unusual way.  The way he emphasizes certain vowels defies his Saskatchewan upbringing.  He sings not unlike Margaret Glaspy and other newer sings who stress their vowels in an unusual to me way.

I really enjoyed his Tiny Desk and I enjoyed reading about the album The Party which sounds like the worst party ever.

Since then he has cut all of his hair and looks totally different–I wasn’t even sure it was the same guy.

Faye Webster is a singer from Georgia who actually has a similar singing style to Andy, which is fascinating.  She sings low key torchy ballads and would be a perfect opening act for him.  I’m going to have to listen to a bit more from her.

He’s the kind of musician that I would think about going to but probably wouldn’t, and then I’d wish I had.  Well, now I have two more chances.

His initial itinerary fascinated me:

Boston, Brooklyn, Philly, D.C., North Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, Alabama, Indiana, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, upstate New York.

The rescheduled shows keep the same basic set up except that now Philly is the day before NJ–I wonder what changed that plan.

shuaf

Read Full Post »

[CANCELLEDcanc: December 10, 2020] Billy Strings / Molly Tuttle [rescheduled from April 10]

index

I initially didn’t want to see Billy Strings in The Fillmore because the venue was too impersonal for his kind of music.  But by December, I was ready to see anyone anywhere.

It’s a shame this had to be cancelled as well.  I guess I should have watched his streaming tour when I had the chance.

I saw Billy strings open for I’m With Her in a small theater (seated).  He was amazing.  Not only was his guitar playing phenomenal (as his name suggests), but his banter and his attitude and everything about him just made me want to watch him all night.

When he announced a headlining tour I thought I’d really like to see him again.  But this show is at the Fillmore–it’s just too big and impersonal a room to really enjoy what Billy can do, in my opinion.

I hope he can come back around and play some more intimate venues.

Molly Tuttle is an amazing bluegrass guitar player.  Molly is noted for her flatpicking, clawhammer, and crosspicking guitar prowess.  (She is also amazing at the banjo too).  In 2017, Tuttle was the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year award.  In 2018 she won the award again, along with being named the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year.  She played with Billy at Newport Folk Festival, but we only saw about five minutes of their set.

A night of Billy and Molly would blow your musical mind.  Maybe the venue is immaterial.

Once this tour was postponed, Billy announced a streaming tour.

July 16 – Brooklyn Bowl (Streamed live via FANS)
July 17 – Brooklyn Bowl (Streamed live via FANS)
July 18 – Station Inn (Streamed live via Station Inn TV)
July 19 – Station Inn (Streamed live via Station Inn TV)
July 22 – City Winery (Streamed live via Nugs TV)
July 23 – City Winery (Streamed live via Nugs TV)
July 24 – Exit/In (Streamed live via TourGigs)
July 25 – Exit/In (Streamed live via TourGigs)
July 26 – 3rd & Lindsley (Streamed live via Nugs TV)

billyu

Read Full Post »

[CANCELLED: November 24, 2020] Squarepusher

index

Squarepusher is an electronic musician (Tom Jenkinson) who has been making weird glitchy electronic noise beats since the mid 90s.

I have an LP and an EP.  I really haven’t listened to him in a very long time.  In fact, I didn’t even know he was still doing stuff.  But his new stuff seems to be just as weird and glitchy and cool as his earlier stuff.

He hasn’t toured the States in five years and hasn’t been to Philly in eight years.

His North American tour was originally in April and was basically Boston and New York on the East Coast.  He rescheduled his shows and added Philly to the tour.  I asked my friend who introduced me to them so long ago if he would consider going.  He said he was never that big a fan and that the man is full of himself.  Not a ringing endorsement.

Since I’ve never been to a show like this–noise and glitchy “dance” music, I would be interested to see what it’s like.  It might also have been a fun first show to return to, although it was officially cancelled.

I do hope he decides to come back in 2021.ca

EUgZB4fWoAEle91

 

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: November 22, 2020] Bikini Kill / Alice Bag [rescheduled from May 13; moved to October 2, 2021]

indexBoy, a band reunites and plans a national tour and then everything blows up on them.  I thought surely this show would go on as planned–a bigger venue, possible social distancing. But how do you enforce social distancing at a rock show?  I sure hope we can go to live music again.

When Bikini Kill did their short reunion tour a couple years ago, tickets sold out in like ten seconds.  When they announced this follow up tour I grabbed a ticket immediately.  As far as I can tell it still hadn’t sold out when it was postponed (which is a surprise, I think).

Bikini Kill are foundation for the Riot Grrl movement although I was not a huge fan of them per se.  I have their records appreciate them for what they did, but they weren’t my favorite,

Nevertheless, this opportunity to see them live sounded like a great time.

Alice Bag has been cropping up in my periphery for quite some time although I realized I didn’t know much about her.  Alicia Armendariz was a co-founder and singer of the 70s punk band The Bags.  After they broke up, she was in about a half dozen other bands, although none of them released more than some singles.  She finally put out a solo album in 2016.

Her album(s) since have gotten strong reviews and it would be excellent to see this feminist icon in action.

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: GRUFF RHYS-Yr Atal Genhedlaeth (2004).

In 2004. Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys released his first solo album. The sung-entirely-in-Welsh Yr Atal Genhedlaeth.  It’s a lo-fi bedroom kind of recording.  Mostly catchy as anything, but with some typically weirdo songs as well.   Most of the songs are well under three minutes.

I’ve included some notes from Wikipedia (in italics) that offer translation advice.

The album opens with “Yr Atal Genhedlaeth” which is 8 seconds of warping looping nonsense.  In Welsh the title means ‘The Stuttering Generation,’ but ‘atalgenhedlu’ is also Welsh for a contraceptive.

“Gwn Mi Wn” is a proper song with Gruff singing over a drum pattern.  As the song moves along more looped vocals are added making the song bigger and bigger–almost trance like by the end.  Gwn Mi Wn translates as ‘I Know [that] I Know’, but could also mean ‘a gun I know’, a reference to the battle in the song.

“Epynt” is a 2 minute rocking raw song of guitar and synth and some shouted lyrics.  It’s oddly catchy.  The song is named after a mountain in Mid Wales, but is about money, with the ‘E’ standing for the Euro, and ‘pynt’ sounding similar to the Welsh word for Pound.

“Rhagluniaeth Ysgafn” is a slower, more electronic-sounding song (from the drums and sound effects).  Although guitars do move the song along.  There’s a kind of scream/laugh effect that’s played here and it gets repeated on other songs.  It translated as ‘Light programming’, but ‘lluniaeth ysgafn’ means a light snack.  This is also a catchy song that is a total sing along, if you know Welsh.

“Pwdin Ŵy” literally means ‘egg pudding’, or “egg custard’, two love songs.  “Pwdin Ŵy 1″ is a swinging song that features some nice layered vocals.  It’s upbeat and dancy.  “Pwdin Ŵy 2” is very different–it’s a mellow guitar song with a harmonica solo.

“Y Gwybodusion” (‘The Experts’) is a garage rock song with a cheesy synth solo.  The addition of a (cool) bass line half way through really fleshes the song out.

“Caerffosiaeth” is literally ‘sewage fortress’. ‘Caer’ is a common part of Welsh place-names used to indicate that there was a castle in the town.  It’s an all drum-machine rap full of sound effects.  As with all of the other songs he manages to make it really catchy by the end.

“Ambell Waith” (‘Sometimes‘) is a quiet folk song with interesting sound effects floating around.  The slight echo on everything makes it feel very full.  And the trumpet (!) solo comes as quite a surprise.

The final two songs are much longer than anything else on the disc.

“Ni Yw Y Byd” means ‘We Are The World,‘ but is not a cover.  It’s upbeat, four minutes long and feels fuller than the others.  It reminds me a bit of the melody of “The Gambler” and is therefore crazy catchy.  It’s even easy to singalong to even if you don;t know Welsh.  There’s a clapalong section followed by a flute solo.

“Chwarae’n Troi’n Chwerw” means ‘When Play Turns Bitter’ and comes from a Welsh proverb.  this song is a Welsh language standard originally written and sung by Caryl Parry-Jones.  It’s got a quiet electric guitar playing some lead riffs as he sings in a deeper register.  It ends with 30 seconds of quiet banjo playing.

This is a true solo record from Rhys–snippets, excerpts and home recordings.  It’s a quiet treat.

[READ: November 17, 2020] “New Poets”

When I started reading this story I was afraid that it was going to be one of those grimy violent stories that doesn’t exactly glorify bad behavior, but kind of revels in it.

The narrator, Monk, is recently sober, but he has had a string of bad luck and has moved in with an old college buddy named Dogman.  Dogman has not stopped drinking.  Indeed, he drinks a lot.  Which is odd because Dogman is an accountant in the Philadelphia office of one of the country’s largest banks.  It’s a boring job, so the weekend is for drinking.

They are in a pub (it’s the middle of the day) and Dogman tells Monk that a surprise guest is coming.  The guest is Sudimack.  Monk is really not happy about that. (more…)

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: November 14, 2020] Torres / Sarah Jaffe [rescheduled from May 19; moved to October 18, 2021]

indexTorres is a wonderful musician who I feel has really gotten the brunt of the industry and now the coronavirus.  She really counts on shows and it’s a real shame that her shows keep getting postponed.

I have seen Torres in a small, intimate show (which was amazing) and then in a slightly larger venue (which was excellent in a different way).

I didn’t think I ‘d need to see her again, but I follow her on Instagram and was really interested in seeing her new show (especially in a different venue).  I haven’t heard all of the new album, but I did like the first single.

Sarah Jaffe is a singer from Texas.  She seems to play a lot of different styles, from folkie (“Clementine”) to more pop rocking (“Glorified High”). I enjoyed the few tracks I listened to and imagine she’d be a fun live performer.

Read Full Post »

[CLOSED: November 11, 2020] Boot & Saddle

COVID-19 has officially closed one of my favorite clubs of all time.  I hoped beyond all reason that all of my favorite clubs could weather this storm.  And hope in the back of my mind that they are able to resurrect it somehow if this Pfizer vaccine comes to fruition.

The official word:

After seven years and 1,500+ shows, we are now forced to close Boot & Saddle.

With Covid-19 cases back on the rise in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and around the country, the thought of having 200 people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our small indoor bar early next year has faded. After eight months without a show, and without a clear reopening date in sight, we no longer have the luxury of paying the bills and expenses for two closed venues. And so, we have made the difficult decision to close Boot & Saddle for good. We hope that this decision will assure that our sister venue, Union Transfer, can survive well into 2021.

We sincerely appreciate all the support over the years. From everyone who saw a show, had a drink, or played on our stage. We are proud of having provided a stage on which local Philadelphia artists can develop and grow alongside national and international touring acts.

It has been a fun and enjoyable experience from start to finish: transforming an old country & western bar, which was shuttered for eighteen years, into a bustling, live music venue with its iconic neon sign lighting up Broad Street. Boot & Saddle was where the likes of Lizzo and Sam Smith made their Philadelphia debuts. It is also where legendary icons like Thurston Moore and Psychic TV performed for intimate crowds. Where gigantic local bands like The War on Drugs, Circa Survive, and The Menzingers played unforgettable, secret shows. We like to think that over the last few years we helped contribute to the best music scene in the United States.

None of this would have been possible without all the hard work of our entire staff, past and present, especially Gina, Andy, and both Jeffs, who did an incredible job in making South Philadelphia’s first music venue in 30+ years into an incredible success.

In memoriam, we will be creating an R.I.P. Boot & Saddle Benefit T-shirt, if you feel inclined to support the venue one last time. Portions of the proceeds will go towards continuing to pay our full time staff’s health care during the pandemic, as well as keeping the lights on at Union Transfer (for which we very much intend to not have to make an R.I.P. Union Transfer Benefit T-shirt). Check our social media channels in the coming days for that!

We would like to take this final opportunity to remind everyone that local independent venues in our city and across the country are in grave danger. Live Music Venues were the first businesses to close and they will be the last to re-open. As other restaurants, bars and stadiums begin to re-open, our doors remain shut. We cannot sell you a contactless takeout or curbside delivery concert. Without some form of assistance, our local music scene right here in Philly, along with countless others across the country, may collapse. We will keep our socials active, so that we can from time to time pass along news and actions that you can take, to help ensure that the remaining venues in Philly stay open.

For the next week, we will keep the neon lights on at Broad Street to remind everyone of what was. Grab a pic while you can and tag us.

Thank you for the memories, and we hope to see you at Union Transfer.

– xo B&S

Here’s the shows I’ve seen there [with many more planned for 2020/2021, sigh]

11/7/2016 Dilly Dally
11/7/2016 Marge
11/7/2016 Palm
12/4/2016 Jason Anderson
12/4/2016 Strand of Oaks Winter Classic II
5/10/2017 Family Crest
5/10/2017 Oh Bree
9/28/2017 Torres
9/28/2017 Aphra
3/8/2018  Jessica Lea Mayfield
3/8/2018 Mal Blum and the Blums
3/12/2018 Active Bird Community
3/12/2018 We Were Promised Jetpacks
5/9/2018 Sloan
7/26/2018 Japandroids
7/26/2018 Mannequin Pussy
12/7/2018 Strand of Oaks Winter Classic IV
12/7/2018 Carl Broemel
12/7/2018 Joe Pug
2/1/2019 claud
2/1/2019 SOAK.
4/15/2019 Big Heet
4/15/2019 Gurr
4/15/2019 Priests
5/10/2019 Kevin Devine
5/10/2019 John K. Samson
5/10/2019 Shannon Moser
6/5/2019 Ages and Ages
11/18/2019 Blushing
11/18/2019 Lovelorn
11/18/2019 Ringo Deathstarr
12/12/2019 Strand of Oaks Winter Classic V
12/12/2019  Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner
2/7/2020 Garcia Peoples
2/7/2020 Suffacox Mach 2
2/21/2020 Sloan: Navy Blues tour

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: November 4, 2020] Diet Cig / Sad13 / Thin Lips [rescheduled from May 14 Union Transfer]

indexI was really bummed when this show was postponed.  I was even more bummed when it was moved to the Church. I really liked the venue when we first arrived, but by the end, I was hot and sweaty and crowded and worn out.

Then back in September, the venue sent out this message

We that brief note of optimism, now for the bad news: The rescheduled show w/ Diet Cig has now been officially “canceled”. When we rescheduled this show a few months back, we thought we would be in a much different place than where we are currently.

Exactly NOT what I wanted to experience in a club.  So this postponed makes sense to me.  Maybe next time they’ll move them back to a bigger venue.

I have wanted to see Diet Cig ever since I saw them on a Tiny Desk Concert–they are a bundle of energy and the duo play super catchy pop punk.  I wanted to see them before they lost their energy.

I missed them the first time they came around and last time around they played at the First Unitarian Church, a venue I dislike.  So when they announced this show at Union Transfer I was so excited.  This cancellation was a major bummer for me.

Especially since now that they rescheduled it is apparently being moved to the Church again (does this mean sales are really poor?)

Sad13 is the solo moniker of Sadie Dupuis the singer of Speedy Ortiz.  They were wonderful live (and I was right in front of Sadie to watch her terrific guitar work).  I don’t really know much about the Sad13 songs but I assume they will be great if she is behind them.

I saw Thin Lips at the Philly Music Fest and they were absolutely fantastic.  I loved them and was looking forward to seeing them again.  They play catchy pop punk with pointed lyrics.  Outstanding.

So, I sure hope all three can come around for the postponed date (and I hope it sells better and has to get moved out of the Church into a bigger venue).

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »