Say this for Hall & Oates—they are nothing if not punctual. Last night’s curtain-raising show at the new Fillmore Philadelphia was set to start at 8pm, and I was still exploring the new venue when Michael Nutter introduced the hometown duo on stage. But no one in the sold-out crowd was there for the mayor, and really, the night felt more like a grand opening featuring a special musical guest than a Hall & Oates concert. The music was what you’d expect from two guys in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, who both gave requisite props to their hometown. But the star of the show was the Fillmore itself.
The following is a typical day on the air with Josh Innes, the new afternoon-drive host on 94 WIP, Philadelphia sports-talk radio’s long-running leader. If you don’t like sports radio — or sports, period — bear with me for a minute. The Josh Innes Show rarely goes where you’d expect.
It’s late July in the station’s studio overlooking 4th and Market, and Innes is praising Jonathan Papelbon, the crotch-grabbing closer the Phillies just traded, to almost no one’s dismay. Innes says he appreciated Pap’s big-mouthed jackassery, especially in a town where “there’s nobody interesting who plays sports.” His co-hosts — Spike Eskin, WIP’s program director and son of Howard, and ex-Eagles lineman Hollis Thomas — disagree that the pitcher’s honesty about his lousy team was a good thing. Spike tries to run the old “Would you tell your girlfriend her new dress looks horrible?” scenario. Read more »
Move over, Francis—there’s another Papa headed to town. One of the more bizarre subplots surrounding the papal visit involves the costumed Swedish rockers Ghost, who were forced to move their scheduled concert at Union Transfer from tonight to this Tuesday. That didn’t sit well with the band, whose skull-faced frontman, Papa Emeritus III, dresses in black pontiff robes and sings tunes with titles like “Satan Prayer” and “Deus In Absentia.” One of Ghost’s guitarists—a Nameless Ghoul, as each masked instrumentalist is known—called from their gig in Pittsburgh to discuss (in an exceedingly polite manner) how their live show is like mass, his love of certain Philly institutions, and a most unholy competition between the band and “Frankie.”
When I heard Dave Grohl fell off the stage in Sweden last month and broke his leg, I had two thoughts—I hope he plays the rest of the Foo Fighters tour on a replica of the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones, and I really hope they don’t cancel their Philly dates.
The funeral begins at parking lot C, marching slowly past the team’s corporate offices and into the plaza, where kids kick soccer balls on a grassy expanse and folks line up for fast-food giveaways. It’s a gorgeous spring evening in Chester, at the city’s biggest attraction — PPL Park, the waterfront coliseum that’s home to Philadelphia’s pro soccer team, the Union. The stadium is also the rallying point for the most dedicated fan base in town, the Sons of Ben. Before tonight’s match against rival D.C. United, they’re marching in unison to protest the team’s front office. Loudly. “We’ve had enough!” they chant while carrying a massive banner that reads UNION FANS DESERVE BETTER. They’re also carrying a coffin for the team’s CEO, whose photograph is labeled “Serial Franchise Killer.” Read more »
Archbishop Ryan and LaSalle alum Bill Ricchini has earned praise from Rolling Stone to NPR’s World Café to Vogue for his brand of wistful, thoughtful pop. With this week’s release of Himalaya, his second record under the moniker Summer Fiction, Ricchini says his material is “more fully realized and ballsier, not afraid to be eccentric.” We caught up in advance of his record-release show this Saturday at Boot & Saddle to discuss the new tracks, recording in England and stalking Morrissey.
Last night was my first Taylor Swift concert, and I learned a Taylor Swift concert is many things. There are costume changes—10 by my count, over the course of two and a half hours—and each one will involve sequins or rhinestones or fringe, perhaps leather or thigh-high boots, and almost always an exposed midriff (though never, ever navel). There are Fitbit-like wristbands for each concertgoer that flash and flicker, creating a mesmerizing light show across the crowd. There are surprises, and for anyone attending tonight’s second sold-out show, beware of potential spoilers ahead. There is excessive pandering to the hometown, though most of the assembled will consider it bonding, and weirdly, I sort of did, too. And you will become a part of a 50,000-strong group therapy session. There is also music.
Halestorm has performed drunk exactly once. As frontwoman Lzzy Hale tells it, the show was in 2005, at what was then called Whiskey Dix, next door to the Electric Factory. The rockers from Red Lion had just signed a deal with Atlantic Records, and one celebratory shot led to five. The end of their set faded into a blur. “Our bass player’s dad said, ‘You know that rule you have about not drinking before a show? You might want to stick to that,’” Hale recalls.
Tomorrow night marks the premiere of Showtime’s Iverson, a 90-minute documentary that traces Allen Iverson’s life from his childhood in the mean streets of Newport News to the day the Sixers lifted his #3 jersey to the rafters, through archival footage and a new one-on-one interview. Considering the project is executive produced by Gary Moore, Iverson’s longtime advisor and father figure, it’s also a more balanced view of his career and personal struggles than one might expect. For those who experienced the AI era as Sixers fans, following every game—along with all the controversies—much of the film plays more like a nostalgia trip than a revelation. But even die-hard fans of the Answer will find a few surprises. (And that time he crossed up Jordan!) Read more »
It’s official — Mo’ne Davis is the new James Brown. In addition to (deep breath) pitching for the Taney Dragons, playing high school basketball, schooling Kevin Hart at the NBA All-Star Game, writing a book and pardoning the Bloomsburg University baseball player who talked trash about her on Twitter, the hardest working 13-year-old on the planet is both a sneaker mogul and a humanitarian. Read more »