Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer cover Nirvana on their new album. (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Philia: Artists Rise Against Islamophobia Release Party @ Kung Fu Necktie | Wednesday, August 23
This show celebrates the release of Philia, a rock compilation featuring John Vanderslice, Fruit Bats, Mac DeMarco and more, with proceeds benefitting Unity Productions Foundation. The evening performances include contributing artists Small Leaks Sink Ships and Drop Electric, along with Grubby Little Hands.
Deep Purple/Alice Cooper/Edgar Winter Band @ BB&T Pavilion | Thursday, August 24
A lineup of hitmakers from heavy metal’s formative years — although some of their biggest songs sound like blues rock and power pop in retrospect. It’ll be an evening of old songs remembered fondly: Deep Purple is famous for “Smoke on the Water,” “Perfect Strangers,” etc. Alice Cooper gave us “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “School’s Out,” etc. Edgar Winter Band did “Frankenstein,” probably the coolest song you’ll hear that night. Read more »
Samantha Fish plays the Folk Festival tonight. (Brian Rozman)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 18
Philadelphia Folk Festival @ Old Pool Farm, Schwenksville, PA
The annual, jumbo-sized celebration of folk, bluegrass and roots continues. Tonight: Old Crow Medicine Show, Samantha Fish, David Amram, The Infamous Stringdusters and tons more.
Roast of Your 15-Year-Old Self @ Good Good Comedy Theatre
This NY comedy show hosted by Alise Morales features comedians ripping into the people they used to be. Embarrassing secrets will be revealed. Featuring Nick Schug, Dan Vetrano, Molly Hanulec and more. Read more »
In the Valley Below plays Boot & Saddle on Wednesday.
In the Valley Below @ Boot & Saddle | Wednesday, August 16
This California duo first made an impression a couple years ago with “Peaches,” a synthy pop song and a video that would’ve fit nicely between Debbie Gibson and Roxette on VH1 Classics. But In The Valley Below got serious on their Elephant EP, released in July, which was inspired by the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. This song, featuring Michigan gospel choir Majestic Praise, is lovely and passionate and nothing like “Peaches.”
Rita Fishbone @ Everybody Hits | Wednesday, August 16
I like everything I’ve heard from this young indie rock trio from Jersey. Their four-song Spilt Milk EP, released last year, is gritty, jangly, punky and lo-fi, with spontaneous moments of dissonance. Frontwoman Anastasia Lasky sings about tough subjects (rape, gender, eating disorders) in a somber, cutting deadpan. Rita Fishbone do down and droney just fine, but I especially like them when they get loud: Read more »
Maybe stop asking the blind lady if she’s looking for you.
Pop megastar Lionel Richie is currently on the road with his All The Hits Tour — and looking back, it’s an impressive number of hits. Solo and with The Commodores, Richie’s list of memorable songs includes: “Easy,” “Three Times a Lady,” “All Night Long (All Night,)” “Say You, Say Me,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” and on and on. The tour touches down in Philly on Wednesday.
Which brings us to one of the most important music videos of the MTV era. Released in 1984, “Hello” is a gorgeous, wondering love song but it’s the video, placed in heavy rotation, that made “Hello” an inescapable part of the pop landscape.
The premise is a strange one: Lionel Richie plays Mr. Reynolds, a high school acting coach who has the hots for one of his students. First, let’s watch: Read more »
Joe Mande plays Underground Arts on Sunday.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 11
Marah @ Ardmore Music Hall
The veteran Philly rock band always puts on a memorable show. Rolling Stone called one of their records the “Best Americana Album You’ve Never Heard” and they’re right except I’ve heard it. It is really good, though.
Gina Yashere @ Punchline Philly
Standup by the British comedian/actor. She also popped up on the Daily Show in March as their Brexit expert. Through Saturday. Read more »
Detail from the cover of the album Bleach by Nirvana.
The passing of Chris Cornell earlier this summer got me wondering about the legacy of grunge music. There’s an unshakeable sadness attached to a lot of its best music now.
There are plenty of grunge survivors, of course, Courtney Love and Pearl Jam being the biggest examples, but also L7 (recently revived), Mudhoney, the Melvins, etc. But several of the scene’s most important voices are gone. Read more »
Frankie Rose plays Johnny Brenda’s on Friday.
a place both wonderful and strange @ PhilaMOCA | Wednesday, August 9
This scary electro-pop band claims both Janet Jackson and David Lynch as key influences. Imagine a dance party in the Black Lodge.
Gene Ween Does Billy Joel @ The Queen | Wednesday, August 9
Given Ween’s self-aware, post-everything approach to music and fame, you might think Aaron Freeman is being ironic with these Billy Joel tributes. Au contraire. Gener does it right, with a full band, belted-out vocals and a genuine love for the music. Worth the drive to Wilmington. Read more »
The Districts play Union Transfer on Friday. (Caitlin McCann)
The prevailing mood on the new record by Philly band The Districts is urgency. The band has always made music with artful rock vision, but the songs on the Popular Manipulations move with extra confidence and purpose. They need to be heard. This music is cathartic and invigorating, always building to bigger sounds.
Several tracks start out merely moody, almost quiet, but that’s usually a ruse, a ramp-up. When those drums start thumping, it’s a sure bet things are about to explode. “Salt” is like that. Same with “Violet” and “Will You Please Be Quiet Please?” which brings the album to a soaring, crashing conclusion. The Districts are always finding interesting ways to get lush and wild. Read more »
Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble plays Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 3
Ghostly Circus: Heaven’s Theatre @ Laurel Hill Cemetery
BYO blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of fire dancing, aerial performance, theatrical sideshows and more. Food truck and cocktails will be sold. Show up on time or you’re not getting in.
Comedy for Gentlemen @ The Republican
Standup comedy at South Philly’s most revered go-go club. Erin Dohony and Rachel Fogletto host, Raquel Dominguez, Tom McDonough, Jes Bolduc and Dan Vetrano perform. Read more »
Chappie’s BFFs Die Antwoord play the Electric Factory on Tuesday, August 8.
Blondie/Garbage @ The Mann | Wednesday, August 2
Debbie Harry and co. are into bees these days. Blondie’s Pollinator album, released in May, has a bee on the cover and raises money for the band’s BEE Connected campaign to educate people about colony collapse. To hammer home their message, the band will release 10,000 bees at every concert. Collectible epi-pens are available at the merch table. I made some of this up. I’m really pretty scared of bees. If one stings me I have to go to the hospital.
GrandeMarshall @ Johnny Brenda’s | Thursday, August 3
The young North Philly rapper signed to Fool’s Gold Records last year. Download his most recent mixtape here and go to the show so you can say you saw him when. This is NSFW:
Read more »