Photos by Chris Sikich
Last Saturday, Philly-based folksters Hezekiah Jones served up some aural enjoyment to a loud and receptive Ardmore Music Hall crowd. Playing an album release show for their new LP In Loving Memory of Oosi Lockjaw, they reveled in the new and the past. Leader Raphael Cutrufello switched between guitar and keyboards and even gathered around the microphone with Kiley Ryan and Brad Hinton for acoustic, matters-of-the-heart folk. An extended drumming jam by Daniel Bower was even added in for good measure. All in all it was a great showcase for a local treasure.
Opening was another treasure that once called this area home (but now resides in Nashville) — Lauryn Peacock. Playing with a new band, the keyboard and guitar folk ballad virtuoso brought her 2015 work Eupohonia to life. Grand, glorious and extremely catchy, her new and old works were a welcome rumination before the antics of Hezekiah Jones. Photos from the evening below:
Archbishop Ryan and LaSalle alum Bill Ricchini (aka Summer Fiction) recorded a series of music videos on a windy afternoon in the Divine Lorraine. He’s debuting one of those today, the aptly titled and impossibly charming “Lauren Lorraine.” The video begins with several set-up shots. As the band and crew head into the Divine Lorraine with their gear, you’re treated to some really cool visuals of the abandoned hotel: once-grand entryways, graffiti-stained columns and walls, and old staircase beams. The actual song part takes place in an airy open room on the 10th floor that almost resembles an airplane hangar.
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This week has been a good one in the music world. Although you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the new Beiber and 1D albums, here are a few others that dropped this week that are, in my opinion, more-rewarding listens.
Le1f’s full-length debut has long been anticipated, especially with the infectious track “Wut” from last year’s EP Hey. The title of this record seems to be a nod to the feminist punk movement riot grrrl, and indeed Le1f has been an inspiration to the queer music scene, particularly within spheres of black artistry. In explaining the story of Riot Boi, he told The New York Times “You’re feeling cute about yourself, and so you go with your girls to the bar. There’s some guy hitting on you, but he’s kind of a chauvinistic racist — the average night out in New York. So you’re just over it and you try to leave, but cabs don’t stop for you.” It’s easy to turn the non-mainstream artist into a political statement, but Le1f raps from the heart of life experience and emotion, whether it’s dealing with men or consumerism. Gritty, and eccentric but honest, Le1f, if nothing else, stands out with his own image and sound. Highlights: “Koi,” “Cheap,” “Taxi.”
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Photo by Jonathan Gipaya Photography
Confession: ODESZA is my go-to for both pump-up jams while I’m getting ready for a night out and chill tunes for zoning out on my long train home every day. There are few music artists who can play both roles, and this duo does it to perfection. I had some pretty high hopes for last night’s concert, and ODESZA blew them out of the water.
I’m not sure what I was expecting — a Coachella-esque feel, teens moshing, perhaps? That was certainly the vibe I was getting from the crowd outside Union Transfer beforehand in their booty shorts and headbands, at 7 pm on a Wednesday. (Don’t these kids have school in the morning?) Thankfully, those of us over 21 split off upon entering into a bar area that leads to the upper deck of the venue. If you’ve never been to Union Transfer, this place is off-the-charts as far as concert spaces go. Remnants of this train station’s former life provide grandiose details of a bygone era: soaring beamed ceilings, ornate lighting fixtures, and a pair of squid chandeliers over the bar. Although, you’d never know it when the lights go down and all eyes are on the stage.
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I like to think there’s a universe where Philadelphia got the Beanie Sigel who could have been: a world where B-Si is operating a media empire comparable to that of Jay-Z, where his talent carried him to the very top of the game and beyond. I like to think that someplace, Beans is talking Phillies’ baseman Maikel Franco into shacking up with his sports agency, and Rolling Stone reporters are crafting dispatches from the hull of his yacht. Somewhere, Beanie is to Philly what Kanye is to Chicago, 50 Cent is to New York, and Ludacris, Big Boi and CeeLo are to Atlanta.
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Vivid Seats, a website for buying and selling music, sports and theater tickets, recently compiled a list of the 20 best North American cities for live music. It should come as no big surprise that Philly was at the top of that list. They analyzed factors like number of concerts and average ticket price for upcoming shows to rank the cities, all of them being from the U.S. except for Toronto. They noted that Philly was particularly great for genres like alternative, blues, jazz, country and folk.
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After making a pretty solid comeback with Jack Ü collaboration “Where Are Ü Now,” dropping some catchy singles from his forthcoming album (“What Do You Mean?“, and turning out a tearful performance at the VMAs, sometimes-rebellious Canadian pop star Justin Bieber is back in our good graces. At least he hopes. The singer just announced he’ll be taking his new music to fans on the road in a 58-city “Purpose World Tour” in promotion of his album of the same name, which drops November 13th.
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Although it may surprise people outside the service industry, bars and restaurants must pay music licensing fees for the right to play music in their establishments. That’s live music, dinner music, DJs, jukeboxes. Everything. If you’re going to play Shake it Off at your bar, Taylor Swift (or whoever owns the publishing rights) wants a check.
While the process is legal, it has bar and restaurant owners upset — and a growing list of proprietors claim the “take-it-or-leave-it” fee structure lacks alternatives and transparency in how they’re billed. There are three main music licensing companies: Broadcast Music Inc., the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and SESAC Inc.) To some, the way they operate feels like a shakedown — especially since the companies send spies to the establishment to write down what songs they hear. Then comes a questionnaire asking about the establishment’s square footage, live-music schedule, jukebox situation and other things — outputting an amount they have to pay. But don’t try to argue. If you don’t comply, they’ll just use their big money to take you to court. Just ask Silk City in Northern Liberties. More on that in a minute. Read more »
Just in time for the release of Creed at the end of the month, Atlanta rapper Future has taken the original Rocky theme, that triumphal tune composed by Bill Conti, and remixed it into a hip-hop number. It’s actually pretty good — especially if you’re a fan of the genre.
The song is all about pushing past adversity. The lyrics stay true to the movie, with lines like, “I was down on my last when I found myself. / I’ll be a fighter to the end, to my last breath. / I’ve got angels all around me, yea, yea. / I’ve got love all around me, yea, yea. / … I’m gonna hustle to my last breath.”
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Always-controversial hip-hop star Azealia Banks has put the kibosh on her upcoming eight-city tour that was to begin next week at Philly’s Electric Factory. She tweeted to her fans that she’s “very busy at work,” and that their “coins will be refunded.”
If you did have tickets, you probably expected this. Canceling shows is kind of Banks’s thing. Last year, she canceled a U.S. summer tour to promote her 2014 album, Broke With Expensive Taste. And in June of this year, she nixed a performance at the Glastonbury Festival due to vocal rest.
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