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.
Striding on stage as a lurid neon script spelling out ‘No Photography’ flickers to life, Father John Misty seizes his microphone like a starving man after the last loaf of bread on earth. Everything about him is magnetized, engaged; he is aflame singing the opening and title track of his most recent album, I Love You, Honey Bear, swinging the microphone stand.
At the end of the song the front row, all male, all under 25, clap deliriously and snap photos. Thanking the audience for a great night and bidding us safe return home, Father John and his band leave the stage. The same techs who set up the guitars and tested all of the mics return, unplugging gear and ripping up a set list from the stage, handing it to a kid in the front row.
- I Love You, Honey Bear
April Fool complete, the band return to the stage and attack.
I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be going to the Marilyn Manson show at the Electric Factory on Friday night, the second stop on his Hell Not Hallelujah Tour, which opened on Thursday in, of all places, Silver Spring, Maryland.
I’ve never owned a Manson album, never downloaded a tune, never seen him live, so I guess you could say I’m not exactly a fan. Plus, Philadelphia’s forecast called for a wintry mess, and my couch and Black Mirror on Netflix sounded like a much better Friday.
It’s an unseasonably warm Wednesday in October and I’m on my way to see a golden-throated, moppy-haired, tattoo-covered 23-year-old perform an acoustic set at World Café Live. It’s a long way from the typical heavy metal show that I usually attend. How did this happen?
I got sucked in to NBC’s The Voice, thats how. I am a huge fan of the musical talent show that overflows with so much positive energy, it makes Pat Croce look like the old man from Up. Like last year, this season’s show features some gifted contestants from our corner of the bar—Danica Shirey and Matt McAndrew—the latter of which I am here to see.
Live EDM shows can sometimes be a little disappointing. Case in point: Disclosure‘s recent romp at Union Transfer. Now, I’m a huge fan of these beat-tastic British boys, but seeing them live, well, I was pretty much watching two dudes playing off a laptop who barely looked up to acknowledge the crazy crowd. Not the most engaging experience in the world, to say the least. So, when I found out that I was going to see remixer and music producer RAC (aka Remix Artist Collective) at TLA this past Saturday night, I was leery—but then the music started.
Kicking off the night were indie artists Speak (Austin, Texas), followed by Chris Glover’s New York electropop project, Penguin Prison, which got the packed house amped up before the headliners came on.
Then, much to my surprise, RAC entered with an army of indie artists armed with keyboards, drums, electric guitars and synths. Throughout the show, they all contributed to songs, playing and taking turns doing vocals on the mics. From start to finish, RAC and his crew dazzled in their upbeat set. Whether it was on hits like “Cheap Sunglasses,” and “Hard To Hold,” or their crazy-good remix of Foster The People’s “Houdini,” there wasn’t a number played that RAC and his merry band of indie music-makers didn’t absolutely slay. And the crowd ate up every bit of it.
Patrick DeMarco is the creator and author of Philadelphia music blog Philly Mixtape.
Saturday night brought a sold out crowd to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park for a performance by Billy Joel. And Joel, who has a reputation for giving it all in his live shows, did not disappoint. Read more »
On Wednesday night, Queen stopped at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for a fast-paced 23-song set with American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert at the mic.
More than a few people that I spoke with in the days and weeks before the show were, to put it nicely, a bit skeptical of Lambert being the man tapped to sing the songs that Freddie Mercury made famous. But none of the 19,500 people at the Wells Fargo Center for the sold out show seemed to mind. Lambert is a gifted vocalist and flamboyant frontman who sang the songs competently while adding his own dramatic flair. Read more »
Is there a more exhilarating sound to a concert-goer’s ears than Diana Ross wailing the opening notes to her signature hit “I’m Coming Out” from somewhere far off-stage? The 1980 hit and unofficial gay anthem has been a staple at Ross’s concerts since its debut, most frequently serving as her opener as she races through the audience, futzing with her always-gargantuan wrap, and singing. It’s a gambit that perfectly encapsulates the legendary performer’s appeal—it is both extravagant and intimate, the gesture of a true diva who still wants to be close to her fans.
Ross, who returned to Philadelphia last night after a 10-year absence, has not changed her M.O. The signature horn blasts of “I’m Coming Out” and Ross’s reedy voice shot out across the twilight before she’d set foot on the stage of the Mann Center. As part of the “In The Name of Love Tour,” the 70-minute Wednesday night concert was a reliable trip down memory lane, revisiting a surfeit of the former Supreme’s hits from the ’60s and ’70s. Indeed, the 34-year-old show opener was the most current of Ross’ hits to be performed.
There is likely nowhere in Philadelphia better suited to host Willie Nelson than the Mann Center — if not because nothing says summer like sitting on a blanket under the stars listening to “On the Road Again,” then because the smell of weed just doesn’t waft so discreetly in, say, the Academy of Music as it does from the Mann’s, er, grass seating.
On Monday night, Cher brought her “Dressed to Kill” tour to Philadelphia with special (and I do mean special) guest Cyndi Lauper. Naturally, Philadelphia soul legend Patti LaBelle sat in the seat next to me, adding another level of fun to an already fun evening. Here, ten observations from the most entertaining Monday night I’ve seen in a while. Read more »