All photos courtesy of “Dark Chrystal.” Purchase prints here.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 »
One might assume a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day would hinder a band’s drawing power in a city as infamously Irish as Philly. But for Arcade Fire last night, all it really did was throw a emerald hue over a crowd of thousands — many of whom showed up honoring the band’s “formal & costume” dress code in some obnoxious green get-up or another.
At 8:45 p.m. sharp, the band emerged on a small, dimly lit stage toward the center of the arena, plodding through an abbreviated “My Body Is A Cage” before sprinting to the main stage of shimmering lights and mirrors for the proper opener, “Reflektor.”
While the night considerably favored tracks from their latest record, the band hardly shied away from old favorites like “Neighborhood #1,” “No Cars Go,” and the beloved finale, “Wake Up.”
Elaborate costumes, coruscating rotating backdrops and the group’s visceral delivery were more than enough to make up for frontman Win Butler’s occasional fumbling through his own lyrics — (“Ready To Start” started, ironically, with the wrong verse, but a sheepish grin on Butler’s part was all it took to render the flub endearing.)
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You may have heard that Drake was in town on Saturday for the second stop on his “Would You Like a Tour?” tour in support of his third studio album, Nothing Was the Same. You also may have heard about his last-minute cancellation and the ensuing chaos.
I was there. Here’s how it went down:
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