Archive for the ‘Franklin Music Hall’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 5, 2023] Yves Tumor

Yves Tumor had been on my list of artists I wanted to see live.  So when they announced a show at Franklin Music Hall, I grabbed a ticket pretty quickly.  I didn’t think it would sell out.  In fact I thought that Franklin Music Hall would be too big a venue for them.  I mean, had anyone even heard about them?

When I arrived (much earlier than I expected, thank you light traffic), there was hardly anyone in the parking areas that are usually packed.  And the entrance was pretty swift.  But when I got to the floor, it was surprisingly crowded.  Not jam packed or anything, but I couldn’t get anywhere near the stage.

I also realized that this crowd was YOUNG.  I’m usually one of the older people at a show, but this time the gap felt pretty large.  That doesn’t bother me, because usually, the young hyperactive folks rush to the front and I hang out in the middle.  But in this crowd everyone was jumping and bouncing and carrying on.

I’m still not sure how people have heard about Yves Tumor.  My kids hadn’t and they have fingers on various pulses.  I know them from NPR Music, which I think of as a slightly older crowd.  But by the time Yves came on, the crowd was pretty packed in and ready to party.

I had heard that Yves Tumor’s show were must-see.  Their earlier releases were challenging with samples and loops and unexpected diversions.  The songs were spare with Tumor’s voice being one of the things that really held them together.

But on the newest record (and I’m guessing the previous EP), there’s a more glam rock feel to the album. Tumor’s vocals remain the same (which is good) but there are melodies and riffs galore.

Yves Tumor is a star.  They own the stage with everyone following their every movement and step.  Their microphone has some kind of cool attachment  to it (I couldn’t see it from where I was, but it was like a wolf’s head facing them.  They prowled the stage in leggings and short shorts.  They wore a leather jacket and a shirt that simply said FUCK.  Their hair was two-toned.  They were beautiful.

The stage had industrial metal crates with lights permeating from the center.  The lights and feel changed according to the mood and it was quite effective.  The band was few in number but huge in sound.  Gina Ramirez on bass and harmonious backup vocals; Yves Rothman on guitar, keyboard, and samples; Rhys Hastings on drums and lead guitarist Chris Greatti.

Greatti was a star himself, shredding like crazy and being very present as Yves walked around the stage–filling in front and center if Yves walked away and being there when Yves needed to hug someone. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 5, 2023] Pretty Sick

Yves Tumor had been on my list of artists I wanted to see live.  So when they announced a show at Franklin Music Hall, I grabbed a ticket pretty quickly.  I didn’t think it would sell out.  In fact I thought that Franklin Music Hall would be too big a venue for them.  I mean, had anyone even heard about them?

Of the two opening bands, I was looking forward more to seeing Pretty Sick, whose recordings are pretty great.  Their blending of noise with hooks is really terrific.  They allude to all of the best moments of 90s alt-rock.  Grungy guitars, squalling feedback sounds and lead singer Sabrina Fuentes recalls Courtney Love’s best vocal moments.

On their latest album she seems to leave it all on the floor with her intensity.

They came out and I expected a wall of noise and feedback.  But wow, was their sound tepid.  I have to blame the venue, because I think it got better as the set went on, but when they started out, the guitars sounded like they were coming from a teeny amplifier.  Fuentes’ voice sounded out of tune with what I was hearing and the whole thing felt so small after Frost Children.

The rest of the crowd seemed to really enjoy them, so maybe I was just wrong about it.  But I was so disappointed by the set–it felt really puny for some reason.

I’ve since listened to their records and they sounded even better, so maybe I need to see them again in a diffeent setting.

At the end of the show, the guitar player crumbled up a set list and threw it into the crowd right to the guy in front of me (his girlfriend was a big fan, so that was good for them).

There’s no setlist available for the show, but recent shows indicate these songs were played

  1. Angel Landing ∇ 
  2. Black Tar Ü
  3. Devil in Me
  4. Allen Street
  5. Superstar
  6. Human Condition Ü
  7. PCP Ü
  8. Dumb

Ü Makes Me Sick Makes Me Smile (2022)
⇓ Come Down (2021)
∇  Deep Divine (2020)

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[ATTENDED: May 5, 2023] Frost Children

Yves Tumor had been on my list of artists I wanted to see live.  So when they announced a show at Franklin Music Hall, I grabbed a ticket pretty quickly.  I didn’t think it would sell out.  In fact I thought that Franklin Music Hall would be too big a venue for them.  I mean, had anyone even heard about them?

I hadn’t heard of either opening band.  But when I looked up Frost Children, I was intrigued.  Frost Children are siblings Angel and Lulu Prost from St. Louis, now living in New York City.

I listened to their album on Spotify and liked it enough.  Hyperpop with sound effects and glitches and interesting pitch-shifted vocals.  There’s was lots of cursing and aggression, but it was all really catchy.  Going back through their catalog, it’s clear that in the last three years since their debut, they have gotten much more inventive with their creations.  There’s not a lot of depth to the lyrics, but who cares when a chorus like

Like oh my god
what the fuck
who are you?

is so damned catchy and singalong able. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: May 4, 2023] Ministry / Gary Numan / Front Line Assembly [rescheduled from July 18, 2020, April 17, 2021; moved to March 9, 2022]

Ministry had several tour dates scheduled and cancelled in the last few years.  Most were pandemic cancellations, but some seemed out of the blue.

I had once really like Ministry, but I haven’t listened to much by them in ages.  So I think I’m pretty much done with the idea of seeing them live.  Seeing Skinny Puppy took care of my industrial needs and I suspect the Ministry crowd is more aggressive.

Gary Numan is a pioneer in the genre. And boy do I dislike him.  Actually, that’s not fair.  I hate the song “Cars” so freakin much that I’ll never get past it to explore him further. So, even if I had wantedto go to this show, Gary Numan might have kept me away.

Front Line Assembly was supposed to open for Ministry on the original 2020 tours.  They were eventually replaced.  FLA was one of the few bands on the industrial label Waxtrax that I never really got into.  I liked many bands on the label, but really never had much exposure to FLA (in the days before you could listen to things online).


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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2023] Placebo

When Placebo announced their first American tour in ten years, I immediately grabbed a ticket.  I was vaguely surprised that my wife wanted to go–she loves a couple of their songs, but doesn’t know much else by them.

I had forgotten that originally, they had announced the tour in the fall of 2022 (with no Philly date, the closests show was Brooklyn, boo).  But they had to postpone for logistical reasons.

She did, however, guess exactly right what the show would be like–loud rocking guitars, cool lights and a fun time.  I, a big fan for decades, was completely wrong about the show.  I didn’t think it would rock that hard–knowing that they have moody songs as well.

Before the show, I checked setlist, not to see what they were playing but to see album distribution.  I found that they were playing 11 songs from their new album (!) out of 22 songs in total.

I was a little bummed about this, not because I don’t like the new album, but because I’ve never seen them before and I wanted to hear a greatest hits show.  I mean it’s been ten years.  [Turns out the band hated doing their retrospective tour ten years ago and almost broke up because of so clearly they weren’t doing that again].

But they came out (with a very strict policy of no cameras) in a wall of lights.  Brain Molko and Stefan Olsdal stood up at the front.  Brian switched guitars nearly every song and Stefan switched between bass and guitar with stark frequency. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 29, 2023] Placebo

When When Placebo announced their first American tour in ten years, I immediately grabbed a ticket. I was vaguely surprised that my wife wanted to go–she loves a couple of their songs, but doesn’t know much else by them.  I had actually forgotten that they had set up a tour in of the States in 2022 with no Philly date and then cancelled the tour.  But there was the Philly show and there was my ticket

Deap Vally were supposed to open.  We had seen them open for Blondie a number of years ago and I really liked them.

But then it was announced a month or so ago that Poppy Jean Crawford would open.  I thought that it was Poppy and I was really excited because I’ve wanted to see her.  But no, it was Poppy Jean Crawford–whom I had never heard of.

Her brief bio says

Poppy Jean schooled herself in L.A.’s DIY scene, hanging out at places such as the Smell and taking an interest in writing music.  She joined her first band, Crosseyed and Pantyless, at 15. Playing Experimental Folk Punk in the nude.
Feeling she had more to offer, Poppy released her first single, “Dead Girl” at 16.

She was not nude when she came out on the stage, but she was in a bodysuit and I was very impressed with her body confidence.  She sang a few songs without a guitar and a few songs with a guitar.

To her right was a guy who looked like Howard Stern playing keys.  On her left was a woman playing bass.  She was pretty superfluous because almost all of the sound came from the synths.  But she looked good.

I had to assume that PJC was annoyed by the “no cameras” rule, because no one filmed her or her band at all–and a young band needs any exposure they can get.

Anyhow, Poppy has a nice powerful voice.  Her songs are simple but catchy and I mostly enjoyed her set.  Because I have no reference point, I’m remembering that I really liked a couple of her songs and kind of didn’t like a couple other ones for some reason.

The big surprise came about 2/3 of the way through the set when she played a cover of Tears for Fears “Head Over Heels.”  The pacing was much slower which was odd.  I couldn’t decide if i liked it or not.

She didn’t say anything until the very end of her set.  But she had an amazing stage presence–utterly fearless.  (she’s been performing for eight years or so, so that makes sense).

Overall, a thumbs up.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 26, 2023] 100 gecs / Machine Girl

Back in 2021, 100 gecs played Union Transfer.  Two nights.  Both sold out.

I barely know them but I enjoy their hyperactive pop.

Here it is two years later and they have moved up to Franklin Music Hall.  I still think they would be fun to go see, but I  imagine I would be an old age minority at this very young person’s show.

Still sounds like fun.

Machine Girl is described by Pitchfork as Relentlessly smashing together bits of punk, grindcore, rave, industrial, and more, the Pittsburgh duo’s maximalist music echoes the cruel momentum of the modern world.

Which sounds about right for this tour.  The show must have been exhausting.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 21, 2023] M83 / Jeremiah Chiu

Back in 2005 I bought an M83 album, Before the Dawn Heals Us.  I also got the 2008 album Saturdays = Youth.  Then I kind of forgot about them.  Ironically, it was their next album, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, that produce the massive hit “Midnight City,” a song I have known for years since it is on the radio a lot but which I had no idea was M83.

When it was announced that M83 had a new tour coming–the first in a while–I decided to grab a ticket.  I’d heard good things about their live show.  But when I listened to the new album, Fantasy, I thought it was kind of bland.  And I didn’t really relish the thought of standing there for ninety minutes of chillout music.

When I listened to the opening act Jeremiah Chiu, his music was certainly interesting (the nineteen minute improvisational Leaving Grass Mountain–a duet with electronics and viola–was trippy), but it really didn’t change my mind about wanting to see them.

Then it turned out that Acid Dad was going to be playing across town at PhilaMoCAand I really wanted to see them again.

It also turned out that Chris Forsyth and Purling Hiss were playing at Johnny Brenda’s

And that Andy Shauf was playing at Union Transfer.

An embarrassment of riches, so I opted not to go.  I also found out this show sold out and tried to sell my ticket, but I was a little too late for it.

Sounds like the show was really good though.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: April 14, 2023] Caroline Polachek / George Clanton

Caroline Polacheck is a name that I keep hearing in the context of someone that I should be listening to.  It kind of blows my mind when someone I don’t know (but who is in a genre that I like) plays a venue the size of Franklin Music Hall.

Polachek co-founded the band Chairlift who I guess I don’t actually know, but who I’ve at least heard of.

But this review of Polacheck puts her squarely in my wheelhouse of musical taste

At its highest register, her voice is diaphanous and otherworldly, somewhere between the call of a siren and the religious arias of an 11th-century abbess. When combined with Polachek’s futuristic synth stylings, the result is like something from a science-fiction novel. Polachek is lithe and willowy, with a surreal, selkie beauty that matches her ethereal voice. Her visual work deals heavily in the fantastical, where her elven features fit right in — it’s almost hard to imagine what she would look like in everyday clothes (or, rather, it’s easy to imagine that she simply wears leather, buckles and 18th-century corsetry to the grocery store). She frequently co-directs her music videos, which take inspiration from Greek mythology, obscure surrealism and historical fantasy.

Although I don’t really like her music all that much.  I don’t dislike it, it just doesn’t quite do it for me. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 7, 2023] Bikini Kill [rescheduled from November 22, 2020, October 2, 2021 and July 13, 2022]

I bought a ticket for this show on November 10, 2019.  That’s 1,244 days.

And it finally happened!

It felt like a pretty long time before the band came out.  My daughter was a little nervous about the place being sold out and the crowd definitely pressed in on us, but she was a trooper and we enjoyed talking to some of the other people around us.

And then the band came out.

Three of the original Bikini Kill members were touring, Tobi Vail on drums (and vocals) Kathi Wilcox on bass (and drums) and Kathleen Hanna singing (and bass).  Original member Billy Karren was not part of the reunion and was replaced by Sara Landeau who has an impressive musical background.

They came out and launched right into song after song.

Kathleen Hanna is a great front woman–talking to us about the songs, saying how great it was to see so many young people whose parents were into th eband and talking about how different it was back in the 90s when people would heckle and throw things at them.

They played a bunch of songs and the crowd was singing along with them all the way.

After about six songs, Tobi Vail came down from behind the kit and sang a couple of songs.  Kathi played drums and Kathleen went to the bass.

Then Kathleen retruned to the fore for a few more songs.  She talked about “No Backrub” as being about self-care and she was delighted to see punks slamdancing to a song about self-care.

It’s been a pretty long time since I listened to these records very carefully so I didn’t know the songs all that well.  But I enjoyed the energy and singing along to the songs and parts of songs that I knew.  I love “Reject All American.”  And it was soon after that they played a whole bunch from Pussy Whipped, the album I know best.

As the set drew to a close, she said they were going to a play a song that she wrote because her sister used to say it to all he guys who harrassed her on her way to school.  Everybody shout along now: “suck my left one!”

After a short encore break, Kathleen apologized for not introducing the band and shouted “We are Bikini Kill and we want Revolution Girl Style Now!” before playing “Double Dare Ya!”

And then came the moment everyone was waiting for.  They started “Rebel Girl” and the play exploded.  It was great fun.  And at about 80 minutes it still felt pretty exhausting from all the dancing.

  1. New Radio §
  2. This Is Not a Test
  3. Don’t Need You ©
  4. Alien She Ψ
  5. Feels Blind
  6. I Hate Danger § (Tobi Vail singing)
  7. In Accordance to Natural Law § (Tobi Vail singing)
  8. Carnival
  9. Resist Psychic Death ©
  10. No Backrub Ø
  11. Capri Pants Ø
  12. For Tammy Rae Ψ
  13. For Only Ø
  14. Demi Rep §
  15. Reject All American Ø
  16. Jigsaw Youth ©
  17. Sugar  Ψ
  18. Rah! Rah! Replica §
  19. Hamster Baby Ψ  (Tobi Vail singing)
  20. Tell Me So Ψ  (Tobi Vail singing)
  21. Magnet Ψ
  22. Lil’ Red Ψ
  23. Suck My Left One
  24. Double Dare Ya
  25. Rebel Girl Ψ
⇓ Revolution Girl Style Now (1991)
Ψ Pussy Whipped (1993)
© The C.D. Version of the First Two Records (1994)
Ø Reject All American (1996)
§ The Singles (1998)

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