Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: July 13, 2022] Foxing

I saw Foxing three years ago without knowing much about them.  Their live show blew me away.  So when it was announced that they were playing Philly again, I had a choice. Go tothe Bikini Kill show that I’ve had tickets to for years or go to the Kevin Devine show which I had gotten tickets for just in case it sold out, or blow off them both and go to Foxing.

Well, Bikini Kill was postponed (again) and Kevin Devine was a solo show (which is good, but I’ve seen him solo twice already), so I decided to go to Foxing without having a ticket.  Traffic was light, I got free parking (well, technically it cost 68 cents) and bought a ticket in cash with no handling fees!

The two opening acts were really good and I settled in for Foxing.  They had just announced a new live album that you could get online or you could get (autographed) at the shows.  I bought the LP before the show (only 20 were sold each night) and was stuck holding it the whole time (next time bring a bag).

The lights went down and a recorded song played while fireworks were projected on the screen behind the stage.  Then the band came out.  For some reason I thought there were more of them, but there were only five.  And they were loud enough that they could have been ten.

Foxing released a new album last year and this was the tour for it, so there were lots of “new” songs.  But the fans knew them all (I mean the record has been out almost a year).

Singer Conor Murphy is a dynamic frontman.  He moves around, he jumps, he screams, he engages with the audience.  It’s like every note he sings is personally connected to him.  He has a delicate falsetto (not unlike TV on the Radio) but he can scream, like really roar, with the best of them.

And the way the band jumps from quiet to HUGE is really impressive. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Behemoth

Behemoth is a Polish extreme metal band.  I’ve never been to an extreme metal show before and figure it would be fun (I guess) to see one.

Behemoth have been around for over twenty years and have stirred up their share of controversy.  As NME wrote: Singer Nergal was prosecuted for blasphemy a decade ago for ripping up a bible on stage, but he argued his right to free speech and won the case, having to neither draw pentagrams in salt nor shed the blood of any lambs in the process.

NME also notes: When he is not onstage, he hosted the Polish version of Pop Idol, he runs a chain of barbershops and is a qualified museum curator.

I had heard that Behemoth live shows were legendary.  So I waited to see what would come next.

There were three sculpted microphone stands on the stage and a giant drum set in the back.  There was a sculpture behind the drum riser and lots of pyro.

Then the band came out in corpse paint looking ominous and intense.

The music started.  It was relentless and powerful and the crowd went berserk.  There were clearly long-time fans who knew the words to all the songs.  There was a massive pit in the center of the room.  But mostly there was the band.

Lead singer and guitarist Nergal was in the middle, conducting the whole thing.  Behind him was long time drummer Inferno.

We were in front of bassist Orion and on the other side was a behemoth of a guitarist Seth.

At some point Nergal changed outfits and was wearing a Pope hat.  Orion spit blood in the air and at the audience.  Seth stomped all around the stage and Inferno blasted the hell out of his drums.

It was intense and exhausting (especially after three other bands).  I was pretty wiped out by the end of the show and decided that I probably didn’t need to see any more extreme metal bands.

Behemoth had destroyed them all.

  1. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer §
  2. Wolves ov Siberia
  3. Ov Fire and the Void
  4. Evoe Δ
  5. Christians to the Lions ¢
  6. Bartzabel
  7. Conquer All δ
  8. Ov My Herculean Exile Ø
  9. Decade of Therion ¥
  10. Slaves Shall Serve δ
  11. Chant for Eschaton 2000 ¥
  12. O Father O Satan O Sun! §

Ø Opvs Contra Natvram (2022)
Δ A Forest EP (2020)
♥ I Loved You at Your Darkest (2018)
§ The Satanist (2014)
€ Evangelion (2009)
δ Demigod (2004)
¢ Thelema.6 (2000)
¥ Satanica (1999)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Arch Enemy

I wasn’t really familiar with Arch Enemy.  I knew of them, but I wasn’t aware that they have had two female singers who can growl with the best of them.

The band is based in Sweden, but Angela Gossow–a legend among fans–was a German screamer who sang with the band for 14 years.  When she retired, Gossow recommended Alissa White-Gluz from Canadian metal band The Agonist as her replacement, and remained business manager for the band.

So I got to see White-Gluz in all fo her blue-haired glory.

She held the entire audience rapt.  Between her soaring voice and her guttural growls, it was hard to take your eyes off of her.  Which I suppose the band is used to, but it is their band too, you know?

The music was heavy.  Solid, old school metal with some modern flourishes.

Alissa was lead singer on two albums, but they played music from throughout their catalog.

The most notable thing for me, though, was that a Dad had brought his little girl (I think she was six), and she got up to the front (with big noise cancelling headphones on) and Alissa saw her and waved and later on gave her a setlist.  Sweet.

It’s possible that Arch Enemy is the more popular of the two band (I believe they alternated headline acts), but it would be hard to follow Behemoth’s stage show, even with a highly polished and rocking show like Arch Enemy’s.

  1. Set Flame to the Night [taped entrance]
  2. Deceiver, Deceiver
  3. The World Is Yours
  4. Ravenous §
  5. War Eternal ψ
  6. My Apocalypse
  7. House of Mirrors
  8. The Eagle Flies Alone
  9. Under Black Flags We March £
  10. Dead Bury Their Dead §
  11. Nemesis
  12. Fields of Desolation
  13. Enter the Machine [taped exit]

⊗ Deceivers (2022)
¶ Will to Power (2017)
ψ War Eternal (2014)

£ Khaos Legions (2011)
™ Doomsday Machine (2005)
§ Wages of Sin (2001)
€ Black Earth (1996)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Napalm Death

Napalm Death are legends.  They have been around since 1981 although formed a solid lineup in 1987.  Although their Wikipedia page lists 18 former members, the lineup I saw was almost has been with the band since at least 1991.

Current members Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals (1987–present) Mitch Harris – guitars, backing vocals (1990–present) Danny Herrera – drums (1991–present) Mark “Barney” Greenway – lead vocals (1989–1996, 1997–present).

That’s pretty impressive for a grindcore band whose first album contained songs that were almost all under two minutes long. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2022] Unto Others

Despite having tickets to see Girl Talk, I decided I’d go see this North American Siege of 2022.  I’ve been intrigued by Behemoth for quite a while.  The are an extreme metal band from Poland who sing of the occult and thelemic ideas.  But they are known mainly for their intense live show.

I haven’t really ever been to a show like this and it seemed worth a visit.

I arrived absurdly early.  I think doors opened at 6 and I arrived at 6:15 or something.  And there was hardly anyone there.  The guy at the bar said it sold poorly. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Altin Gün / Sessa

Altin Gün sounds like the kind of band I would love–a Turkish psychedelic band from The Netherlands.  Their name means Golden Day).

Their live shows are supposed to be wonderful as well:

Altin Gün’s relentless grooves are truly immersive, anti-elitist, inclusive. It’s truly music for the dancefloor – all dancefloors. Altin Gün are the perfect 21st Century psych band, hinting at a deep record collection while still belonging to a living tradition and having a unique and distinctive voice
[from Forestpunk].

But when I listened to them I just couldn’t quite get into it.  Possibly because I knew I was so overbooked that night I didn’t want to have yet another band I was dying to see.

Sessa is a Portuguese musician whose record label says “a songwriter …. blessed with a flair for the intimate, the enigmatic, and the licentious. Sessa’s songs are sung in Portuguese, with visceral, sensual lyrics, and melodic flourishes.”  He seems more mellow than Altin Gün but I could see people on the dancefloor for both.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Kevin Devine / Kayleigh Goldsworthy / Kississippi

The embarrassment of riches continued on April 29th as there were four more shows I was interested in going to.  And what’s so fun about Philadelphia is that among the eight shows in two nights none were in the same venue.

I’ve been a fan of Kevin Devine for a few years.  I feel like I’ve seen him a bunch because he so often plays around here.  And yet I have only seen him three time (twice solo and once with his Goddamn Band).  I would love to see him again and would absolutely gone to see this show except that it was at the First Unitarian Church, avenue I won’t go to again.  So, this one was really a no-go.

I saw Kayleigh Goldsworthy open for Frank Turner and really liked her.  I didn’t realize she was part of Kevin Devine’s circle of players until recently.  I’d have happily seen her again.

Kississippi is a Philly band who I saw open for someone else.  They write super catchy songs and I would happily see them again as well.  Some other time I’m sure.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 29, 2022] Girl Talk / Hugh Augustine

The embarrassment of riches continued on April 29th as there were four more shows I was interested in going to.  And what’s so fun about Philadelphia is that among the eight shows in two nights none were in the same venue.

Girl Talk is the stage name of DJ Gregg Michael Gillis.  He makes music that is comprised of samples and mashups.  His 2010 album All Day album used overlapping samples of 372 songs by other artists.

His live shows are described as an experience not to be missed and so I immediately grabbed a ticket.  But the more I learned about the experience–a sweaty, writhing dancing mess of people, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be a part of it.  So I decided to do something else that night instead.  I’m not sure if I missed out on something life changing, and I’ll never know.

Hugh Augustine is a rapper, chef and activist.

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2022] Son Lux

April 28th turned out to be a banner night of shows.  There were four I was interested in seeing–three of those I was really interested in.  It was very hard to choose especially since one of them was a show rescheduled to that night and I already had tickets to a different one.

I had seen Son Lux in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert (the NPR folks love Son Lux) and was blown away by all three of them.  Drummer Ian Chang is just amazing to watch as he plays all sorts of different things and in unusual rhythms.  But then I would notice that guitarist Rafiq Bhatia was making some incredible sounds out of his guitar and I would wind up watching him for awhile.  And all along, keyboardist and vocalist Ryan Lott would be singing and playing these heartbreaking melodies.

I knew I had to see them and since I had been waiting the longest to see them, they won out.

And it was amazing.  The band had just scored the film Everything Everywhere All at Once so there were some songs from that in the mix, but mostly this set came from their new trio of albums Tomorrows I, II and III.

The songs were gorgeous and soaring or quiet and meditative or jazzy and fun.  They each went far beyond their own length, with solos from all the members of the band.

At one point Ian and Rafiq played a wonderful interplay and Ryan just stood back away from his keys and watched as we all did.

The only concession to playing a “hit” is that they played an updated version of their song “Easy” which would be the closest thing they have to a popular song.  They even brought out local rapper Low G (I think) to do some freestyling over the middle of the song.

The rest of the set was wonderful and magical.

  1. Vacancy III
  2. Only I
  3. Prophecy II
  4. Plans We Made I
  5. Honesty I
  6. Easy £
  7. Last Light I
  8. Live Another Life II
  9. A Different Kind of Love III
  10. Unbind III

I Tomorrows I (2020)
II Tomorrows II (2020)
III Tomorrows III (2020)
£ Lanterns (2013)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 28, 2022] Trupa Trupa / Haldol

April 28th turned out to be a banner night of shows.  There were four I was interested in seeing–three of those I was really interested in.  It was very hard to choose especially since one of them was a show rescheduled to that night and I already had tickets to a different one.

Trupa Trupa is a band from Poland who I found out about through NPR music.  Their music is dynamic and exciting and I understand they are amazing live.

By the time this show was announced I already had tickets for both Son Lux and Stick Men.  But I was so intrigued by this one that it quickly became my number two choice (sorry Stick Men).  I just wasn’t sure which one I was going to go to.  I honestly don’t know how often Trupa Trupa will be able to come to the U.S.  But I so very much wanted to see Son Lux, that they won out.

Haldol is a post punk band from Philly who I haven’t heard of.

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