Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: January 20, 2023] Oxymorrons

My son and I saw Oxymorrons open for grandson about a year ago.  No opening band has made such an impact o me. They were intense and fun and catchy and crazy and just all around wonderful.

So when they announced this mini tour and that it would hit the Foundry, I knew that he and I would have to check them out again.  But I was sure the tint Foundry stage wouldn’t be big enough to keep them in.

I was also sure that the show would sell out and we’d be in for a massive thrashing mosh pit.  That’s why we stayed to the side the whole night (he wasn’t in the mood for slam dancing).

This meant we were right next to guitarist Jafe Paulino.  I suggested that the stage was too small for them and he laughed and said he’d be hopping over those guardrails in no time.

When they came out, drummer Matty Mayz, (I had forgotten how much fun he was) had his laptop set up and he got the intro pumping as the frontmen, Demi “Deee” and his brother Kami “KI” came bouncing up on stage.

Deee and KI were great at engaging the audience.  They are excellent at getting everyone hyped up. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 20, 2023] Pinkshift

I was really excited for the show–the Melanated Punk Mini Tour featuring Oxymorrons and The OBGMs.  At the last minute, Pinkshift was added to the bill, which made things even better!

I’ve seen Pinkshift three times.  Each show is really intense, because this band does not hold back.

This set felt a little different.  First because they were playing songs mostly from their new album.  I hadn’t heard the new album yet but it turns out I’d heard many of the songs live before.

Pinkshift is officially a trio now.  Although they do have a bassist of tour with them, the main trio was made up with pretty cool eye makeup.

This was the closest I’d been to the band so I really got to see drummer Myron Houngbedji in action.  He was, frankly, amazing.  In fact, a few times, someone in the audience shouted something like My man on the drums is really bringing it! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 20, 2023] THE OBGMs

I was really excited for the show–the Melanated Punk Mini Tour featuring Oxymorrons and The OBGMs (who I didn’t know but after listening to them, I realized how good they were.  At the last minute, Pinkshift was added to the bill, which made things even better!

The show was listed as starting at 7:30 (which on a Friday night usually means a lot of traffic).  Bu then Pinkshift said the fun started at 7, so my son and I left stupidly early to avoid traffic and arrived earlier than ever only to find out that the show did not start at 7.

And that’s fine.  It’s nice to be early.  Also, that Pinkshift wasn’t the first band.

The OBGMs (The oOohh Baby Gimme Mores) are from Toronto.  They came out and proceeded to tear the roof off of the place.

After playing a weird riff that sounded like a wild version of Black Sabbath, the whole band started bashing out “Cash” from their new album The Ends.

Dreadlocked lead singer Densil McFarlane also played guitar as he pogoed and screamed the lyrics.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 12, 2023] They Might Be Giants [rescheduled from March 13, 2020, September 8, 2020, April 15, 2021, March 22, 2022 and June 16, 2022]

After five failed attempts, They Might Be Giants FINALLY got to play Union Transfer.

It was only mildly anti-climactic that they played Union Transfer the night before with a show that was billed as an entirely different show but which, when setlists were compared, turned out to be almost exactly the same.

January 11 (left): note the similarly-named show title which implied something different.  From the venue:

We assume that means songs from their latest album, ‘Book’ and some ‘Flood’ “faves”, and a bunch of horns on stage. How many horns? We can’t say for sure…Maybe 5, maybe 100!?

It felt a little cheaty that this day-ahead show got the same (more or less) show as us.  But hey, who cares, at least we didn’t splurge for the second day.  Because I’d have been a little cheesed to get the same show two nights in a row, no matter how good it was.  And it was really good!

So I saw They Might Be Giants about twenty-five years ago in Boston.  I don’t remember a lot from the show, but it was the Factory Showroom tour and they played a lot of my favorite songs as well.

I haven’t seen them live since then, even though I know they put on a good show.  I’m not sure why it neve happened.  Possibly because when I try to see them a pandemic occurs.

We arrived a little later than intended, had to stand on a huge line (there was no opening act), although everyone at a TMBG show is friendly, and then wound up on the side lower balcony in Union Transfer–where I’ve never stood before.  It was actually kind of nice-we were above most of the heads and still felt a part of the mass of people.

The band also was giving out “paper crowns” that said THEY on them.  John F:  “Be sure to grab one so you can sell it later.”

The Johns came out at 8 as promised and jumped right into “Letterbox” from Flood.  But it’s not the first song from Flood.  So clearly, they weren’t going to play the album in order.  They never said they were going to, just that they were going to play the whole album.  Aha! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 15, 2022] Modest Mouse 

Last year, Modest Mouse was the first concert I saw after the pandemic. This year, Modest Mouse was the last concert I’ll see in 2022 (nothing dramatic about that, I just don’t have any more shows lined up until next year).

As I’ve said before, I wasn’t planning to see them.  In fact, I felt like I had seen them even more recently than last year.  But this was a special tour–the 25th anniversary tour of their album The Lonesome Crowded West, with a really stripped down band.  Last time I saw them, there were six people on stage (there were like nine the previous show).  This time it’s just a four piece: Isaac Brock and co-founder Jeremiah Green joined by (regular) bassist Russell Higbee and guitarist Simon O’Connor who played last time I saw them.

This meant a stripped down, really rocking show.  Which befits the far more stripped down and rocking sound of this earlier album. 

Normally I’m all about seeing the opening band.  But I’ve had a few liberating experiences lately where i have deliberately blown off the opening band and been pleased with the decision.  I hadn’t heard of the band Mattress.  I looked them up before the show and learned that Mattress is the project of Rex Marshall.  And that the act is pretty much Marshall wearing a gold lame suit and acting like an abrasive lounge singer.

I listened to a song online and decided that I did not need to stand through that.  Sidenote:  It reminded me a lot of Wetface the weird, is-it-a-joke band who opened for Built to Spill this summer.  I sat through that twice and consider that my penance.  (incidentally, I often think of Built to Spill and Modest Mouse in the same breath for some reason, so it’s interesting that they would have similar bands on this year’s tour).

So that mean I got to the Fillmore around 8:45.  The evening happened to be one of the rainiest nights in recent memory.  It rained hard.  All day.  I very much considered not going to this show because of the weather.  But I decided to go and drove through the terrible lashing rain.  I kinda thought that the rain might keep others away and, if I was arriving late, maybe I could get free parking at the the Fillmore lot.  Indeed no.  In fact, it was full.  So I went past the lot and immediately got lost in the bowels of the roads beneath 95.  Holy cow.  I drove for about 8 minutes in crazy rain knowing where I was but having not idea where I actually was.  I finally found my way to the casino for parking and hurries across to the venue only to find a lineup! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 14, 2022] Lemonheads

Back in 2018, I saw Evan Dando play a solo set in Jersey City.  It was him with an acoustic guitar and he played over forty songs.

It was a shambolic affair, but fun.  I didn’t really feel compelled to see him again, but I thought it would be fun to see him with a band.  And when he announced this 30th Anniversary of It’s a Shame About Ray, my favorite album of theirs, I grabbed a ticket.

Juliana Hatfield finished and didn’t really need to clear her gear (as we’ll see).  And yet for some reason, it took Evan and the other two guys almost 45 minutes to come out on stage.  

This wasn’t an auspicious sign.  I was actually 40% surprised the show hadn’t been cancelled outright.  But it sounds like Evan Dando has gotten his shit (somewhat) together, so maybe this is a new lease on life for him.  

Eventually the band came out on stage.  Bassist Farley Glavin and drummer Lee Falco came out first.  Then Evan came out on stage, grabbed an acoustic guitar and they launched right into “Into Your Arms.”  This is one of my favorite songs of the 90s–so sweet and delightful.  I had literally no idea that it was a cover until I was reading someone else’s review of this tour (it was written by Australian duo Love Positions (Robyn St. Clare (who wrote the song) and Nic Dalton).  It sounded like he hadn’t really warmed up yet and this was his way of easing into the show.  He didn’t hit any of the higher notes.  But he still wounded quite good. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 14, 2022] Juliana Hatfield

I was a big fan of Juliana Hatfield back in the 90s.  I thought she was the bomb.  And I was really excited to see her play live when she opened for the B-52s at Boston College back in 1993.  I actually hated the B-52s (they were so overplayed at my college in 1991 that I never wanted to hear “Love Shack” again in my life) so I left before they came on.

And then, some time around 2000 I lost track of her.  I was always happy to hear she was putting out new music, but I didn’t give it much of a listen.  However, her 2018 album that is all covers of Olivia Newton John songs is pretty sweet.

She had toured Philly back in 2015 and I considered going because it was the Juliana Hatfield Three playing again (I should have gone!).  She also played in 2019, but I wasn’t quite as sure about that one for some reason.  But here she was opening for The Lemonheads!

A few minutes after On Being an Angel cleared their stuff, Juliana came out.  It was just her and her guitar plugged into a tiny amp.  The volume was perfect  She sounded great as she started singing a song I knew immediately.. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 14, 2022] On Being an Angel

On Being an Angel are a four-piece from Austin.  Given that they were opening for Lemonheads and Juliana Hatfield, I was expecting a sound that fit in with them.

They were actually a bit heavier and a bit more fuzzy than I would have expected.  And I loved their sound instantly. 

And then singer Paige stepped up to the mic and…we couldn’t hear her at all.  Was it Union Transfer’s fault?  That seemed unlikely.  We were very close to the stage and that can certainly impact how you hear a band, but it seemed like the lead guitar (from Nick) was just cranked up super loud and drowned out everything else.

The guy next to me even typed out on his phone (fix the vocal levels) but no one reacted to that.

Then I saw this comment in a 2019 review of them in Austin: “[On Being an Angel] tore apart the crowd’s broken chatter with a roaring wall of sound. Rumbling electric fuzz nearly drowned out Paige Applin’s faint vocals as the slowcore quartet played.”  The rest of the band sounded great–a big grungy sound that I was really excited to hear on record, too.

But when I listened to the (first) record, the sound was really different–far more mellow, far less noise.  The opener, “Eyes Shut” has a fantastic 90s alt rock sound with a catchy lead guitar riff.  But on record, it’s a quiet folk song with no riff at all.

The newer record (on being a tape vol. 2) has a much heavier sound.–much more satisfying.  Paige’s vocals are also forward in the mix.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 3, 2022] Stars

I have been a fan of Stars since about 2004.  I have wanted to see them for a really long time.  I thought I’d be able to see them last year on their Christmas Together Tour.  It was at LPR in New York (which is just too much of a pain to get to) and at World Cafe Live.  But it happened to be on the same night as our holiday party, so I couldn’t swing it.  I never guessed they’d do another one.  So this year I made sure to get tickets and schedule our party around this show.

The show came around and it was cold and I didn’t really feel like going out, but oh I wanted to see them.  So I drove out to Philly.

Turned out there was a wedding in the Fillmore main floor so parking was free (yes!).  I even wound up talking to some nice people around me and we had an enjoyable time waiting for the band.  There was a little girl (maybe ten) who was bouncing with excitement over seeing Amy Millan.  She couldn’t wait to meet her and get her autograph. I was so curious about this!  How did this little girl get excited about this (relatively) obscure band from Montreal that sings about relationships and breakups? (I’ll never know). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 3, 2022] Lydia Persaud & Christine Bougie

I have been a fan of Stars since about 2004.  I have wanted to see them for a really long time.  I thought I’d be able to see them last year on their Christmas Together Tour.  It was at LPR in New York (which is just too much of a pain to get to) and at World Cafe Live.  But it happened to be on the same night as our holiday party, so I couldn’t swing it.  I never guessed they’d do another one.  So this year I made sure to get tickets and schedule our party around this show.

I didn’t know who would be opening.  technically, the opening act was just Lydia Persaud, but since it was just Lydia and her guitarist Christine Bougie, (and I’d never heard of either before) I’m listing them both here.

Lydia was speaking for herself, but I believe that they both play together in a lot of things.  Lydia has been a member of The Soul Motivators, The O’Pears and Dwayne Gretzky and she and Christine are part of the the Queer Songbook Orchestra.  

They played a jazzy set of remarkably sad music. (more…)

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