A Saturday night with the Old 97’s is one well spent. The dynamic grouping of lead singer and guitar slinger Rhett Miller, bountiful bass and vibrant vocals of Murry Hammond, guitar guru Ken Bethea and drumming professor Philip Peeples were on fire. And as part of double headlining show with the rocking Heartless Bastards it was a Saturday one would not soon forget. Read more »
M. Ward brought his special brand of folk and mid-20th-century rock to Union Transfer on May 2nd. Playing behind his 2016 LP More Rain, a large Philly contingent drank in his guitar and unique vocals. Read more »
May got off to an auspicious live music start on Sunday the 1st with a hometown sold-out show by Santigold at TLA. Supporting her 2016 knockout 99¢, Santi White, aka Santigold, put on a stunning show. Read more »
1992 was a formidable year for me and the music world. I certainly remember being floored the first time I heard Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy.” As a young band making their way across the country, Pearl Jam played small venues at that time, and one that certainly left an impression on them was Philadelphia’s now-closed J.C. Dobbs.
Fast-forward two-plus decades and I still had yet to see Pearl Jam in concert (despite seeing Eddie Vedder in guest duties with R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen) until Thursday, April 28th. In the first of two nights at Wells Fargo Center, they delivered a sucker punch to the soul with high-octane showmanship from song one to the finale 30-plus songs later. Read more »
Toward the end of Kristin Chenoweth‘s set on Saturday evening with The Philadelphia Orchestra, she turned to the audience and said, “There’s only about 20 minutes left, and then you can go and pee. Oh, and if there are any straight men in the audience, my name is Kristin Chenoweth.”
That’s the typical kind of camp one would expect from the Broadway star who has both a Tony and an Emmy to her name. Let’s be clear: Ms. Chenoweth and The Philadelphia Orchestra are odd bedfellows at best, but how can you not adore the pint-sized soprano sipping soda from a giant cup between her big musical numbers? And how could you not love her commentary on Wawa (“You can buy a candle there. You can buy a Slurpee there. Heck, you can buy an entire five-course dinner there!”)? It worked as an evening of endearing entertainment. Read more »
On Sunday, folk rocker Dar Williams graced the stage of the New Hope Winery for two shows: one in the afternoon and one at night. She has played the intimate venue regularly over recent years. It suits her introspective and unique folk talents. Featuring drummer G. Wiz and keyboardist Bryn Roberts, Williams opened up her vast songbook for the performances. Songs from her 2015 work Emerald (which was recorded and mixed at The Hooters co-founder Rob Hyman’s Elm Street Studios) sounded wonderful next to her later works, which included the rock-infused “FM Radio,” which she co-wrote with Jill Sobule, and the jazzier “New York is a Harbor.” Conversant and obviously enjoying herself, Williams was a pure delight. She ended the evening with a performance of her Christmas tune “The Christians and the Pagans,” making a fitting end to a rousing night of music.
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Someone once told me that a movie only has to be worth the price of one ticket — regardless of whether it cost $50 million to make or $5,000. So was the Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz show worth the $69.69 ticket? By the response of the sold-out crowd, many wearing full-body animal onesies at Electric Factory on Saturday night, that answer would be an emphatic: “Hell yeah!” Cyrus has been getting some heat about this indie project for it being self-indulgent and too eccentric, but I can’t imagine anyone left that show feeling cheated out of a night of entertainment. The evening was like one of Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers — a continually permutating theater of nutty costumes, colorful LED screens, shimmering confetti, fog cannons, balloons and lots of adult chatter and themes all united by Cyrus’s powerful, beautiful voice.
Saturday night, World Café Live Upstairs saw a trio of bands warm up a brisk night. First up was Brooklyn-based Ponyhof. Usually a fourpiece, on this night it was just lead-singer and keyboardist Carrie Erving and cellist Chris Loxley. The duo lit the night with their shimmering indie rock currents.