Archive for the ‘Johnny Brenda’s’ Category

[DID NOT ATTEND: December 9 & 10, 2021] Strand of Oaks / Pat Finnerty

In 2015, Timothy Showalter played his first Strand of Oaks Winter Classic at Boot and Saddle.

Every year since then he has played two to four shows around Christmas time to a small but rabid fan base.  Obviously he didn’t pay one in 2020.  And now Boot & Saddle is closed

I have been to three of these fun winter events.

When he announced December shows at Johnny Brenda’s, it just didn’t occur to me that these would be Winter Classic shows.  I’m not sure why it would have made a difference, but had I realized, I would have gotten a ticket before they sold out.  Even S said, you love those, I can’t believe you didn’t go.

When I’m looking for it now I see that it was clearly stated that this was a Winter Classic, but I guess I was looking in the wrong places. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: November 18, 2021] Vagabon / Angelica Garcia

I was planning in seeing Vagabon in March 2020, but her show was cancelled of course.

I really enjoyed Vagabon’s debut album.  It had a great indie rock sound, but the fact that Lætitia Tamko is originally from Cameroon gives her music a unique quality that makes it stand out.

There is no way I would have missed this show if I hadn’t already purchased Dinosaur Jr. tickets for this night [Dino Jr. was the first new show announced as lockdown ended and I grabbed tickets immediately].  In fact, if they had been announced at the same time, I would have happily grabbed the Vagabon tickets. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: November 13, 2021] Half Waif / Lightning Bug

I have wanted to see Half Waif for a couple of years. I’ve heard her live shows are great.  And a venue like Johnny Brenda’s would probably be perfect for her intimate songs.

Initially I wanted to see this tour (back in May, and then October) because Ian Chang was opening for her and he is an amazing drummer whom I need to see live.

But that didn’t take away from my desire to see Half Waif as well.  But this show happened right in the middle of a bunch of other shows and I try not to do too many nights in a row.

It transpired that most of the shows were cancelled anyway, but I had pretty much committed to being home so I didn’t go.  But she’s fairly local so I hope she plays again soon.  With any opener.

Half Waif is the project of former Pinegrove singer Nandi Rose.  I find her music very pleasing.

Lightning Bug is the project of Audrey Kang (although I believe she has a full band now).  She sings lovely, quiet songs, which seems like it would be a nice companion to Half Waif’s music.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: October 30, 2021] Garcia Peoples

I discovered Garcia Peoples by accident a couple of years ago.  They were opening for Heron Oblivion and I’d never heard of them.  But their show was outstanding.

So when they played a small headline tour I saw them again.  And I’ve seen them a couple more times at weird events (like a free show after a Phish concert in Atlantic City).

I kind of made it a mission to see them as often as I could.  But sometimes things just get in the way.

I would really have loved to see them at Johnny Brenda’s this night, but I had neem out the night before and the next night was Halloween.  It was just too much going on. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 18, 2021] Torres

This was my third time seeing Torres.  I had actually bought tickets for this show back in December of 2019.  She was going to be touring the album Silver Tongue, which I never got.  In a way I’m glad the show was pushed back to 2021, because her latest album Thirstier is outstanding.

Mackenzie Scott has fallen in love and Thirstier is a happy album.  And Mackenzie is ripping it up on stage.  She’s been wearing essentially workout clothes and she comes off stage covered in sweat.

Her band was amazing keyboard/synth player Erin Manning, was terrific even though I could never really see her from where I was.  Bryan Bisorti rocked out the drums and J.R. Bohannon played pedal steel and matched her on lead guitar.


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[ATTENDED: October 18, 2021] Sarah Jaffe

I had convinced myself that the opening act for this tour was Sarah Jarosz.  Probably because I would like to see Jarosz and I knew that she was touring at the same time.  Although sonically it didn’t really make any sense (and I assume that Jarosz is probably bigger than Torres.

But anyhow, a few days before the show I confirmed that the opening act was Sarah Jaffe, whom I had never heard of.

Jaffe came out of stage and proved to be a versatile musician.  She sang, she played guitar, she rapped, she played synth pop.  All within a brief opening set. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: May 29, 2021] Kool Keith [rescheduled from May 29, 2021]


Johnny Brenda’s has pretty much cancelled everything on their spring calendar.  This show is listed as postponed, which always makes me feel a little bit better–like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Kool Keith is a wacko alternative rapper.  I really liked him a lot back in the 1990s. He was part of the Ultramagnetic MC’s and Dr. Octagon. he also had the alias Black Elvis.

I had more or less forgotten about him and didn’t realize that he was still making music, but he has been consistently releasing music since the 1990s.

A lot of his music is aggressively, explicitly, sometimes disturbingly sexual (Dr. Octagonecologyst, anyone?) which was once amusing but feels really wrong now.

I didn’t really know about this show until it was cancelled and I’m not sure that I’d actually want to go (I had a few other shows I was more interested in that night).  I’ve also heard mixed things about Keith live, but I feel like it would be a fun experience.  The postponed date is a year away–we’ll see.


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[CANCELLED: March 24, 2021] Ratboys / Another Michael [rescheduled from September 9, 2020]

indexIt looks like Johnny Brenda’s is simply cancelling everything through the spring.  Which makes sense.  I’m glad they have a restaurant downstairs to keep them going, because it’s one of my favorite venues.

This date seemed to have been scheduled and then immediately moved with little fanfare.  There is evidence online that this show was planned.  But it has quietly  been moved to March of next year.

I really like the new Ratboys record Printer’s Devil. It’s got a lot more rocking sound than their earlier albums.

The guitars are more distorted.  The drums are louder and Julia Steiner’s voice seems a bit bigger.  But they still have a pop sensibility.  They seem liked they’d be fun live.

I could have seen Another Michael open for Pinegrove at House of Independents.  I picked a different night with a different opening band.  They play a kind of mellow indie rock with lead Michael’s vocals veering into R&B styles.  They don’t exactly seem to go together, but maybe it would work.


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[POSTPONED: November 14, 2020] Torres / Sarah Jaffe [rescheduled from May 19; moved to October 18, 2021]

indexTorres is a wonderful musician who I feel has really gotten the brunt of the industry and now the coronavirus.  She really counts on shows and it’s a real shame that her shows keep getting postponed.

I have seen Torres in a small, intimate show (which was amazing) and then in a slightly larger venue (which was excellent in a different way).

I didn’t think I ‘d need to see her again, but I follow her on Instagram and was really interested in seeing her new show (especially in a different venue).  I haven’t heard all of the new album, but I did like the first single.

Sarah Jaffe is a singer from Texas.  She seems to play a lot of different styles, from folkie (“Clementine”) to more pop rocking (“Glorified High”). I enjoyed the few tracks I listened to and imagine she’d be a fun live performer.

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[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.


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