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Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[CANCELLED: October 24, 2020] Half Waif / Ian Chang [rescheduled from May 13]

indexIt sure seemed like five months of lockdown would be enough time to beat this thing.  The experts said it wasn’t long enough for live music.  And they were right.

I looked up this concert recently and there was no mention of it on the venue website. I wrote to Nandi Rose (thanks Instagram) and this is what she wrote back

yes I had a tour planned for this fall but with touring off the table for the foreseeable future, all shows are on hold 😦 We are still waiting to see when will be the right time to reschedule and perform safely. Thanks for your patience, can’t wait to come back to Philly.

(more…)

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[POSTPONED: October 22, 2020] King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard / Leah Senior [rescheduled from May 22; moved to October 23, 2021]

indexI was bummed when KGATLW had to postpone a show in May. I mean, come on, Coronavirus, would certainly be over by May, right?  Well, now it’s October and things are still crazy.  I really hope they can do this again next year.

Of course, knowing them, they’ll have three more albums out by then.

I have become a huge fan of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (are there any other kinds of fans of them?) since I first heard about them a few years ago.

I’m sad that I missed them on the tour just before the first time I saw them (at a smaller venue when newbies like me hadn’t heard of them yet), but I have seen them twice since.

In both cases, the band overcame somewhat unpleasant (to me) situations (obnoxious capacity crowds and unreasonable heat) to change my mind from swearing I’d never bother seeing them again (before the show), to hoping they’d come back really soon (after the show).

I’m not at all surprised that this show was postponed and they have already rescheduled the new date.  So we’re all good.  I just hope the damned air-conditioner works next time.

The last time I saw KGATLW, the two opening bands were kind of doom/psychedelic–perfect matches for KGATLW’s more recent sound.  This year’s opener is a singer named Leah Senior.

Leah Senior did the narration on KGATLW’s Murder of the Universe album.  But her music is a completely other thing.  She sings gentle folk songs with delicate guitar playing and her beautiful soft voice.

I can;t imagine how well she would go over with a rowdy KGATLW crowd and I also wonder if that means that KGATLW would play their more mellow stuff?  Nah.

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[CANCELLED: October 10, 2020] Peter Bjorn and John / Methyl Ethyl [rescheduled from April 7]

indexWhen this show was postponed back in April, October seemed so long ago.  But it also seemed like a reasonable amount of time before we could see live music again.  Bigger bands postponed until 2021, but surely a small club would be ready by October.

Sigh.

I really got into Peter Bjorn & John a few years ago.  Then they fell by the wayside for me.  When I saw they were playing at Johnny Brenda’s I thought it promised to be a good show.  I have since heard that PB&J put on an amazing live show, so I was even more excited about it.

Methy Ethyl is a band from Australian who I don’t know anything more about them except that the solo show was going to be done by Jake Webb, the creative force behind the band.

On July 28, the band officially cancelled the tour

Dear PBJ-people and supporters!
It is with utter disappointment and sadness that we are forced to announce that the North American tour-dates supporting #endlessdream have been cancelled, due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the virus.

The #endlessdreamtour has so far been but a dream and continues to be so for the time being. We hope, of course, to return as soon as it is safe to play shows again. In the meantime, refunds should start to process soon. If you have any questions, please contact your point of purchase.

We firmly believe “Endless Dream” is one of our strongest albums yet, and also ideally suited to the stage, so we can’t wait to get out there and bring those new songs to life. If you want to support the band until we can, purchase the beautiful vinyl-album or other merch-items.

All our best and talk soon!!
Peter Bjorn and John

 

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[CANCELLED: October 8, 2020] Soulwax [rescheduled from February 29]

indexAfter having this concert postponed for technical reasons back in February, I was quite interested in seeing it in seeing the rescheduled production.  So I’m pretty bummed that the whole tour has been cancelled.

I hope they decide to try again when it’s safe.

I haven’t thought about the Belgian band Soulwax in about 15 years.  I bought their 1998 album Much Against Everyone’s Advice and then really enjoyed brothers David and Stephen Dewaele’s side project 2ManyDJs (whose release As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2) was an amazing mash-up album).

I really had no idea they were still making muisic (and apparently putting on incredible shows).

BrooklynVegan said

If you’re never seen Soulwax live, David and Stephen Dewaele treat a live band show like a DJ set, with songs flowing into one another, and builds and drops. (Their 2006 show at long-gone Brooklyn club Studio B was one of the best shows I saw that decade.) You can get a feel for what to expect on their 2017 album, From Deewee which is a seamless one-hour set they recorded live in their Deewee studio in one take.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to this show, but then the show was inexplicably postponed.

As Brooklyn vegan put it

Dammit! Soulwax were to have started their first U.S. tour in forever beginning in February but they’ve just announced that it’s been postponed. It’s not visa issues, for once, but production design for the group’s new stage set:

We are always committed to delivering the best show we can and have designed a brand new set up which sadly just won’t be ready in time for March. We are working on new dates – please look out for an announcement very soon.⁣

We would like to thank everyone who bought tickets for these shows and look forward to seeing everyone later this year.

 

soulwax

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[CANCELLED: October 7, 2020] City and Colour / Katie Pruitt [rescheduled from May 16]

indexIt really seemed like October would be ample time for things to settle down and for concerts to start again.  It’s really disappointing to see that it’s not yet.  At least as of June, Green had cancelled his entire fall tour.

I’m also fascinated by the posters below.  This rescheduled date was not part of his original fall tour.  Katie Pruitt is not with him for any other shows–although he did initially reschedule the shows with her.

City and Colour is Dallas Green, the clean singer from Canadian band Alexisonfire.  I liked them a lot (especially his parts).  I’ve also enjoyed some of his solo stuff, which tends to be more folkie.

I’ve often thought it would be interesting to see him live.  He seems like a decent guy and I imagine is shows would be enjoyable.  But I have to say that i am shocked that he could headline Franklin Music Hall.  It just seems way too big for him.  Do more people in the States know who he is than I realize?

Anyhow, I had tickets for Tenacious D on this night, so I wasn’t going anyhow.

I’d guess he’d be more of a Boot & Saddle-sized performer.  So, good for him.  I wouldn’t want to see him in such a large place, but maybe someday he’ll come somewhere smaller.

Katie Pruitt is a folk/country singer from Nashville.  She has a wonderful song called “Loving Her’ that she released for National Pride Day (with a great video).  She veers a little too much into the country twang for my tastes, but if she can get country music to embrace the LGBTQ community, then, I’m all for her.

city color

city-and-colour

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[CANCELLED: October 7, 2020] Tenacious D / Wynchester

indexS and I saw Tenacious D and Wynchester together a couple of years ago and it was great.

Tenacious D sound amazing and are funny as hell.

Wynchester is some of the guys from The D with a different singer.  They are countryish but still rock out.

The crowd was mixed for me.  Tall and frankly obnoxious, but fun when they needed to be.  I thought it would be fun to see them again, so i was pretty happy to hear about this tour.  And to see that they were in a better venue–The Met Philly will be great for a band with a big visual component.

On July 8 The D posted:

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This concert was paired with 46 for 46.  What’s that?

With the Democratic campaign to unseat *** already well underway, a pair of music industry veterans-turned-activists are announcing a new initiative entitled 46 for 46, described as a “strategically planned series of 46 unique concerts in 46 different cities in the states that matter most during the lead up to the 2020 election.” The goal: to help launch the Democratic presidential nominee into the White House using the inspirational power of music.

This was supposed to be a big time anti-**ump concert.  One hopes that when the D come back around it will be a moot point and **ump will just be in jail.

ten d

 

 

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[POSTPONED: October 5, 2020] Waxahatchee / OHMME [rescheduled from April 14; moved to May 16, 2021]

indexI’ve seen Waxahatchee twice–once with a full band and once solo.  I like her, although I wasn’t sure I wanted to see her again.  She has a new album out and I’ve heard it’s much more mellow than her last couple, so that doesn’t really appeal to me.

Since then, though I have heard a few songs and really enjoyed them.  I would definitely consider going to this show now.

However, Ohmme is phenomenal live.  I saw them open for Jeff Tweedy and I have wanted to see them again.  I’d prefer a headlining show (but I seem to keep missing out on those).  However, this would have been a solid double bill.

wxa

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[POSTPONED: October 2, 2020] Ty Segall and the Freedom Band [moved to August 19, 2021]

indexTy Segall is one of the more prolific artists out today.  He’s in about a dozen bands, and he releases a solo album (or two or three) a year.  He plays a garagey rock that has lots of energy and fuzz.

I can’t say I like all of music mostly because I haven’t even heard most of it. But everything that I have heard I’ve enjoyed.  And every live videos I’ve seen of him makes me think that his live show is not to be missed.

I was hoping to see him playing with his band Fuzz also this year, but that was postponed as well.  It’s interesting that Fuzz was going to play at the tiny Underground Arts while Ty and his Freedom Band were going to play at the much larger Union Transfer.

I hope both shows go on as planned–it would be a fun comparison.

tysegall

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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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