Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[POSTPONED: January 21, 2021] The Beths / Lunar Vacation [rescheduled from April 29 Kung Fu Necktie and August 27, 2020 from World Cafe Live; moved to February 24, 2022]

indexThis show has been bounced around now to three different venues.  I was sure I’d finally get to see The Beths, but then this new uptick pushed their tour back.  I don’t know how wise pushing back a show for one month is during this pandemic nonsense.  Especially since they’re saying the spike will drop away in mid-March, but darnit, I really want to see The Beths.

I was looking forward to Weakened Friends opening, but Lunar Vacation…

Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the story of Lunar Vacation can be traced back to eighth grade, when Grace Repasky and Maggie Geeslin met and started sharing musical ideas. As soon as the pair became old enough to drive, they started to take Lunar Vacation on the road, playing venues across the sprawling suburbs of their home city and fulfilling so many teenage dreams along the way. As the buzz around the pair grew, so did the band, as they expanded to their current four-piece line-up, and upon finishing school, they started to self-release their music, in the shape of two EPs, Swell and Artificial Flavors.

And their new album, Inside Every Fig Is A Dead Wasp which dives into the the waters of dreamy-indie, psychedelia and bedroom-pop.  Sounds pretty great!  Come on boosters, let the bands play. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 10, 2020] Dr. Dog: The Last Tour / The Districts / Natalie Prass


I never really got into Dr. Dog but I’ve liked a bunch of their songs over the years.  But I’d always heard they were great live, so I’ve had them on my “gotta see” list.

Back in June, Dr. Dog announced their last tour.

“It is a disturbing thing to read, I’m sure, and trust me, an equally unsettling thing to write, but it’s all good,” they wrote. “It’s important to us that you understand that this is not a break up or anything like that. We don’t know what Dr. Dog will do, we just know it won’t include going on tour, except the tour we’re announcing now, which is going to rule.”

This seemed like the perfect (and only) opportunity to see them.  I tried to get tickets to the TLA show, but it sold out in a minute.  Then I managed to score a ticket to the Fillmore show.  I also found out that The Districts were opening, which was pretty cool. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: December 16, 2021] The Joy Formidable / Cuffed Up

indexThings were looking up, shows were back, we had a vaccine.  And then shitty people refused to get the vaccine and it mutated and now we’re back where we were a year ago with shows getting postponed.

I was really looking forward to this show.  It would have been a great show to end the year on (I would have gone to this one if they had been in town).

The Joy Formidable are from Wales.  The trio Ritzy Bryan, Rhydian Dafydd and Matt Thomas play diverse sounds, but tend towards guitar based rock in various formats).  They even sing in Welsh sometimes.  Their newest album into the blue brings back some of the noisier sounds that the band used on early albums and explored their way away from for a time.

Cuffed Up is an L.A. based band who is getting a lot of buzz.  They play rocking songs with a great dual vocal set up between Sapphire Jewell and Ralph Torrefranca.  I was glad to have heard of them when this tour was announced and I look forward to experiencing them live.

I’m really looking forward to when this is rescheduled.

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[ATTENDED: December 15, 2021] Chicano Batman [rescheduled from May 3, 2020 and June 16, 2021]

I’ve enjoyed a bunch of Chicano Batman songs over the last few years.  When I saw the Tiny Desk concert, they seemed so cool, that I really wanted to see them live.

This show was postponed twice.  I waited until a couple of weeks before the show to get tickets, and I had no idea it would be my last show before COVID struck again.

The band started in a delightful way.  The (new) keyboardist came out first followed by their (absolutely insane) drummer Gabriel Villa.  The keyboardist started hitting a cowbell and Villa laid down a funky beat while bassist Eduardo Arenas and guitarist Carlos Arévalo came out to rapturous applause.  Moments later, singer Bardo Martinez came on stage in an Adidas tracksuit.

The band used to dress in full matching suits, so this was a bit of a surprise.  I was also surprised at how mellow and low key Martinez was.  I would almost say he wasn’t into the show, but he definitely was.  I guess he’s just a low-key kind of guy.

I had moved away from the center of the stage because a bunch of people wouldn’t leave their masks on.  I wound up in front of Arévalo who was a lot of fun to watch (his solo during “Color My Life” was awesome).  But to me, Chicano Batman is all about the bass lines.  Arenas lays down great lines and his sound was fantastic. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 15, 2021] Los Retros / Le Butcherettes / Inner Wave / Crumb [rescheduled from May 3, 2020 and June 16, 2021]

This band had several different opening acts planned over the many different shows.  I knew Le Butcherettes, but not Inner Wave or Crumb.  When I walked in, I wasn’t even sure who was opening, although I did note that the signs announced Los Retros.

Los Retros is Mauri Tapia, from Oxnard CA.  For this show, he had a bassist and a drummer (my little brother) with him.

Tapia started on guitar and I could hear right away why they were called Los Retros.  They played a retro sound–shimmery guitars and a soft rocking sound.  The three of them were very tight with the bassist keeping a nice low end while Tapia plays some really wicked solos.  The songs varied between upbeat and slower–but the vibe was the same.

I was amazed to see that all of the people around me were singing along.

After three or so songs on guitar Tapia switched to keyboards and the rest of the set took on a very different feel–more of a smooth, soft rock vibe.  One that I didn’t like as much (I really didn’t like his keyboard sound).

But that’s because the retro in the name doesn’t apply to me.

Al Dia News notes:

The name ‘Los Retros’ pays homage to the Chilean pop group, Los Ángeles Negros — “the black angels” in English — which originally formed in 1968. …  Los Retros had a quick rise to stardom after the release of his single “Someone To Spend Time With.”

I didn’t enjoye the second half as much, but the first half of the set was great–Tapia’s guitar chops are right on.


Le Butcherettes I also know from a Tiny Desk Concert.  Teri Gender Bender is a great punk front woman. She channels different vocal styles and can rock with the best of them.  She is also unafraid to stare at the audience.  I imagine she’d be an intense experience.

Inner Wave is a five-piece ensemble, and three of the bandmates – lead vocalist and guitarist Pablo Sotelo, bassist and vocalist Jean Pierre Narvaez, and guitarist and keyboard player Elijah Trujillo – go all the way back to middle school. Some back-in-the-day homies left the band in 2016, and keyboardist Chris Runners and drummer Luis Portillo joined the group. But their departure from the original line up hasn’t thrown off the band’s energy in the slightest, as evident in their most recent full-length release, last summer’s Underwater Pipe Dreams. The 18-track LP is the best testament to Inner Wave as they are now: an indie rock quintet who seamlessly float between psychedelic and synthwave sounds, poised for a breakthrough.

Indie Current described Crumb‘s sound on ‘Locket’ as psychedelic slacker-rock.[11] Paste Magazine called their sound a meld of “60s psych, loose jazz, and freeform indie rock into a soothing pop amalgamation.” Others describe them as psychedelic jazzy Lofi dream pop.



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[DID NOT ATTEND: December 12, 2021] Bully / Graham Hunt Band / Slomo Sapiens

Look at this, yet another great show at Underground Arts that I didn’t go to. That place has really got my number–we just need to get our calendars to synch up better.

Bully is basically Alicia Bognanno and whoever she chooses to play with.  She writes great songs and has a unique and cool voice.  I really enjoyed Bully’s first album, Feels Like, but when it was announced that she was touring a new album (and playing Philly with Spirit of the Beehive AND Control Top!) well, I checked that album out right away. And it is very good.

I was pleased when it was announced that she’d be playing Underground Arts instead.  World Cafe Live is a better venue, but UA is much easier for me to get to.  Sadly the opening bands were not the same, but that’s okay.

And then…. Baroness announced they would be playing three nights at Kung Fu Necktie.  I couldn’t make the Saturday one (holiday party), so my only choice was Sunday.  Later they added another date for Monday, but I had already purchased my ticket and it seemed like way too much of a hassle to try to change it.  So Bully had to miss me.  Drat.  Come back again Alicia!

I’d never heard of Graham Hunt although apparently he is been in a lot of bands.  According to this write up

Hunt’s solo work continues to be an oddball amalgam of the best traits of his other projects: Midwives’ exacting focus, Reruns’ strong songwriting structures, and Sundial Mottos’ winsome, relaxed aesthetic all are apparent throughout the excellent new solo album Painting Over Mold. Even the distinct imprints of Dusk and Mike Krol, both acts Hunt has appeared with as a touring member, find cohesion across the record.

Slomo Sapiens continues the tradition of great band names from Philadelphia.  I didn’t know much about them, but they are described as a psychedelic “sludge rock” trio, which sounds pretty good to me.  Their newest album is called Cabin Fever Dreams.

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[ATTENDED: December 12, 2021] Baroness: Your Baroness Tour

Back in 2017 I saw Strand of Oaks play Union Transfer.  Toward the end of the set Tim Showalter called John Baizley on stage.  I didn’t know who he was but I was taken by his look (bald with a big beard) and his terrific voice (and guitar playing).  Turns out he’s the main force behind Baroness (he draws/paints all of the cover art, too).  I got into Baroness and wanted to see them live.

Since then I’d had a few chances to see them, all of which were dashed or one reason or another.  I did get to see an acoustic performance when they put their last album out in 2019, but that’s not the same, obviously.

Finally, Baroness announced the Your Baroness tour–a tour of small clubs which would feature an all-request set.  And the three (!) Philly shows (where Baroness is based) would be at Kung Fu Necktie, a club I’d never been to but always wanted to check out.  (It has about 100 person capacity, so…intimate show!). (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: December 11, 2021] METZ / Preoccupations

I saw METZ open for Modest Mouse four years ago and my ears might still be ringing.  I knew of Metz from their noise filled chaotic but amazing albums.

Their live show was less about the abrasiveness and more about their intense stage presence.  I knew I wanted to see them headline a show.

And then they announced it.  A headlining show at my favorite small venue (actually, this place might have been too small for them).  I was so psyched, until I saw that it fell on the same day as our holiday party.

Realistically there was no way I could go.  What a bummer.

Turns out later on, the band Stars announced their show for the same night and since I’ve never seen Stars, I would have picked them instead.  But what a drag when schedules can’t line up.

I’ve actually seen Preoccupations twice already, once in the Foundry opening for Protomartyr.  They used to be called Viet Cong, but wisely changed that name.  They put on a great live show.  This would have been a killer double bill.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: December 11, 2021] Stars / Kevin Devine

Back The Montreal band Stars, whom I loved in the early 2000s and would love to see live, announced plans to play some Christmas shows in New York.  I knew I couldn’t go–logistically there was no way.

Then I saw that they also announced a show at World Cafe Live.  Yes!

But it was the same day as our holiday party.  There was no way I could get to this one either.  I held out hope that our party might end early, but again, the logistics were not in my favor.

Kevin Devine, whom I love and whom I have seen live a few times was opening.  I would love to see him again as well.  It really was a perfect bill.  But sometimes timing doesn’t work out.

So Stars, please come back to Philly or NJ.  I will cancel everything else for you.



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[DID NOT ATTEND: December 10 & 11, 2021] Ween

When I was in college, Ween was a new novelty band singing silly songs about Daisies.  I enjoyed them and explored their back catalog a bit.  Then I forgot about them.

In the intervening years they apparently turned into a jam band favorite, with devoted fans and three hour concerts.

In 2015 I saw Gene Ween open for Modest Mouse (I think Ween was on hiatus at the time).  I was surprised by Gene’s set because it was goofy but well done.

I put Ween on my “bands to see” list, but I put them in the least urgent category.

I thought about seeing them at the Met Philly, but it seemed too fancy or something.  And the more I thought about it, the more I decided I just couldn’t bring myself to go to a Ween show.  I have (unfairly, perhaps) made their audience into a bunch of people I don’t want to be near for two hours.

So I won’t take them off my list of bands to see, but I feel like circumstances will need to be perfect for me to go.

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