No Roots on July 4th?

The Roots' Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson performs during an Independence Day celebration Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.

The Roots’ Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson performs during an Independence Day celebration Saturday, July 4, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Say it ain’t so, Questo.

The Roots won’t be headlining the Wawa Welcome America! Festival on July 4th, according to this report from Billy Penn.

The Philly natives have played the annual concert since 2009. But new Mayor Jim Kenney is apparently doing some behind-the-scenes tinkering.

“There are exciting changes going on at WaWa Welcome America and we look forward to announcing them at a press conference in the coming weeks,” Lauren Hitt, the mayor’s spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement. Read more »

Is Nugs.net the Future of the Music Biz?

Nugs.net

Nugs.net

A quick look at Nugs.net suggests it might be a music-loving hippie’s dream come true. There are concert-length live performances from such jam-band perennials as The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, and Yonder Mountain String Band — all just a click (and a few bucks) away from being part of your music collection.

It might also be the future of the famously struggling music business.

At least, that’s what the Associated Press suggests in a new profile of the site, which got started in the 1990s as a way for two Philadelphia area buddies, Brad Serling and Jon Richter, to share their recordings of Grateful Dead concerts. Read more »

Lee Andrews, Singer and Father to Questlove, Has Died

The Greatest Teacher in my life, my dad Lee Andrews June 2nd 1936-March 16 2016. I love you. For every backstage experience. For every drum lesson. For giving me your tireless work ethic. For our father & son record binging expeditions. For our arguments over the summer I discovered #ItTakesANationOfMillions. For the look on your face when I told you “imma give this rap thing a try” (I waited til our 2nd album to have this convo btw) For the look on your face 5 years later when I told you “you don’t have to work no more. For the look on your face when a year later I was like “Seriously dad, you don’t have to work anymore!” For bringing my mom & my sister into my life. For the years we fell out. For the years we put it back together. But really, for the last 2 conversations we had. I understand why you were so hard on me praying I didn’t succumb to a fate not meant for a teenager in west philly in the mid 80s. I didn’t understand it at the time. But I appreciate it now. I hope Donn & I do you proud. #LeeAndrewsAndTheHearts

A video posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Lee Andrews — best known as the father to Roots drummer Amir “Questlove” Thompson, but also a renowned Philadelphia musician in his own right — died Wednesday. He was 79. Read more »

Bob Dylan Playing Mann Center This Summer

Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles in 2012.

Bob Dylan performs in Los Angeles in 2012.

Bob Dylan will play a concert at the Mann Center on July 13th, it was announced today. Mavis Staples will open.

According to this exhaustive concert history, Dylan has played 33 concerts in Philadelphia over 20 trips. That includes the the four-song private concert Dylan gave for a Swedish superfan at the Academy of Music in 2014 as part of a documentary film series. Read more »

“Kathapalooza!” to Benefit Beloved Punk Rocker Battling Cancer

12525396_10206493988002444_8928253392027928759_oSix regionally renowned bands of the ’80s and ’90s are sharing the Underground Arts stage Arts this Saturday for an alternative type of Lollapalooza whose artists are gathering for a greater cause – helping to fund cancer treatment for a beloved punk rocker named Kathleen Mullaney.

After the Levittown native was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer last spring, Jason Cox, a close friend, used his influences as a recording engineer and record producer to organize “Kathapalooza!” Read more »

Why Earth, Wind & Fire Was Huge in Philadelphia

By Chris Hakkens - http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris_hakkens/4638230187/in/faves-24788065@N02/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16299016

Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White (left) and Philip Bailey performing in 1982 at the Ahoy Rotterdam, The Netherlands. White died on February 4th. Photo | Chris Hakkens, CC BY-SA 2.0.

When I reflect on the pivotal moments of my life, my timeline goes back to my ’70s love affair with FM radio. Earth, Wind & Fire were among my favorites bands, with the college stations on the left side of the dial playing esoteric cuts from Last Days and Time and Head To The Sky, while commercial stations on the right side aired selections from That’s the Way of the World, All n’ All and I Am. However, the word on the street was the only real way to experience EWF was live in concert. As much as I longed to see them play, I knew it would be a damn-near impossible sell to my parents. But, luck intervened in the form of my grandmother’s friend’s granddaughter. She was a little older, but not old enough to go alone to a concert, so she suggested taking me. I knew she didn’t like me much, but our mutual desire to see a stellar show made us perfect frenemies. After a long discussion of what clothes I should wear (she wasn’t fond of my bohemian wardrobe), we worked out a plan to get me fresh gear, and, if lucky, some extra spending money for a t-shirt or two.

At school, I casually mentioned to my classmates I was heading to the EWF concert, and I suddenly became an ultra cool kid. By the time I joined the capacity crowd at the venerable Spectrum, I knew I was in for a concert experience the would go down in the annals of great concerts. The show kicked off when the booming voice of the emcee took to the public address to announce — “Presenting the elements of the universe: Earth! Wind! And Fire!” The incendiary band hit the stage and by incorporating the skills of illusionist Doug Henning and fantastical outfits, EWF dazzled their faithful attendees with a sophisticated mix of funk, jazz, Africana and soul.

“The first time I went to an Earth, Wind & fire concert was when they came to the Spectrum in 1977 with The Emotions,” recalls Philadelphia-based professional musician Rhonda Lancaster. “I was hoarse for three days. I screamed the whole concert.” Read more »

New Philly Reality Show Saturday Morning Fever Debuts Tonight

Dancin’ on Air - Saturday Morning Fever - reality TV - Philadelphia

The Stars of Saturday Morning Fever, a new reality TV show based on Dancin’ on Air. It premieres tonight on Fuse at 11.

Dance shows have been a staple of Philadelphia television pretty much since television started. American Banstand got its start in West Philly. In the 1980s, Dancin’ On Air was big on Channel 17. Much like Bandstand, a national show was launched on its back: Dance Party USA. (Fun fact: The first host of Dancin’ on Air was Dave Raymond — the original Phillie Phanatic.)

After a few episodes of the old Dancin’ on Air were aired on WPHL in 2011, the station relaunched the show the following year. The show moved to PhillyCAM on Saturdays at 10 in 2013. Much like its predecessors, the show has inspired a national show. Only instead of another dance show, this time it’s a reality show: Saturday Morning Fever debuts tonight at 11 on Fuse. Read more »

38 Can’t Miss Concerts in Early 2016

Pink Martini plays Scottish Rite Auditorium on March 10.

Pink Martini plays Scottish Rite Auditorium on March 10.

Memories of champagne-soaked New Year’s celebrations are already fading fast: It’s time to start planning your next moves. You can start here, with our list of the 38 concerts that promise to be so good you’ll be happy to brave the cold, dark night for some great music.

January | February | March | April | May

Read more »

RJD2’s New Record Oozes “Sound of Philly” Soul

Photography by Nick Fancher

Photography by Nick Fancher

RJD2, the musician perhaps best-known for composing the Mad Men theme music, has a new album coming out, and it’s filled with Philly sounds.

Check out his new single, “Peace of What,” featuring Jordan Brown and see if you don’t get a Gamble and Huff vibe off it.

It’s from his next album, Dame Fortune, available in March — and was recorded, in part, during the musician’s time living in Philly. Read more »

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