16 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

See Invisible River's Beck Epoch this weekend.

See Invisible River’s Beck Epoch this weekend.


Beck Epoch @ Strawberry Mansion Bridge
Watch Invisible River dancers swing from the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, while fabric drops from 60 feet above the river and aerialists slide down. You can see the free performance from the river banks at the parking lot next to the bridge (near 2200 Kelly Drive), or rent a canoe or kayak and take it all in from the water — but you have to reserve that in advance. Beck Epoch takes place again on Saturday. Read more »

Op-Ed: Justin Timberlake Isn’t a “Cultural Appropriator”

Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from guest writer Evon Burton.)

During Sunday evening’s BET Awards, actor and Temple alum Jesse Williams accepted the President’s Humanitarian Award and gave one of the most rousing acceptance speeches of all time. One of the many enamored by Williams’ words was triple-threat superstar Justin Timberlake. I, like most of Black Twitter, was a bit caught off guard by his well-intentioned tweet about it, since he has chosen to stay rather silent on issues affecting African Americans, a pattern we have seen quite frequently across America. However, as an aficionado of R&B music, the reactions of Black Twitter were more alarming and concerning to me.

Timberlake broke the internet when he retweeted and responded to local journalist, colleague and friend Ernest Owens’ critique of his “cultural appropriation” and the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. While I agree that Timberlake could have been much more vocal on behalf of Janet Jackson, when it comes to music, he isn’t a “cultural appropriator.” Not in the least bit. He’s just one of the many “privileged” Caucasian artists who have benefitted from a white-run media landscape while truly honoring his musical influences that are primarily African-American. Big difference.

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Music: 7 Shows To See This Week

Deerhoof plays Union Transfer on Saturday. Photo by Asha Schechter

Deerhoof plays Union Transfer on Saturday. Photo by Asha Schechter

Tunji Ige x Michael Christmas @ Foundry at the Fillmore | Wednesday, June 22
Rappers Tunji Ige and Michael Christmas team up for the Bring Yo Friends summer tour. The young Ige came onto the scene in late 2014 with his self-produced mixtape, The Love Project, recorded in the basement of his dorm at West Chester University. Christmas, who has more of a mellow head-bopping sound, is from Boston.

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Kanye West Is Coming to Philadelphia This Fall

Kanye West performing in 2013

Kanye West performing in 2013. Let’s hope Ye cranks up the Kanye-as-Jesus imagery to 11 on his Saint Pablo tour. (Photo by Peter Hutchins used under a Creative Commons license)

If you’re a fan, finally strap on your deadstock Yeezy boosts. If you’re not, then maybe head out of town: Kanye West is coming to Philadelphia.

West announced his Saint Pablo Tour this morning on Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service site. He will play the Wells Fargo Center on October 4th. West’s latest album, The Life of Pablo, came out on February 14th.

It’s his first tour since the Yeezus tour in 2013-’14, and his first stop in Philly since he headlined Made in America in September of that year. Read more »

6 Philly Bands and Musicians to Listen to Right Now

6 Philly Bands and Musicians to Listen to Right Now

Photos in numerical order provided by: Robb Cohen/Invision/ASSOCIATED PRESS; Todd Cooper; Chris Sikich; Ebru Yildiz; Yvng Drew; Radlow and Katz: Natalie Piserchio.

Ethereal chamber pop, growling indie rock, flowing left-of-center hip-hop: Philly’s music scene is bursting with buzz-worthy music. Meet the rising stars and adventuresome veterans producing today’s must-hear tracks. Read more »

What Every Artist Who Will Pay Tribute to Prince Should Learn From Madonna

Madonna performs a tribute to Prince, pictured onscreen, at the Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, May 22, 2016, in Las Vegas.

Hollywood has it right, the music industry has it wrong. When the movie industry pauses during awards shows to honor the deceased they unroll a spool of greatest hits highlights. You get to relive actors’ most memorable lines and performances; the screen lingering over some choice scenes, characters or films closely tied to legacy. It’s as if the performers are briefly given life again — the screen fills up and lets us relive their most iconic moments. It’s a conjuring of sentiment, memory and reverence that makes it feel more like a séance; Chris Rock gathers us together, the room goes dark, and for five minutes Leonard Nimoy is with us again, wizened eyebrows and all.

But if Hollywood is a séance, the music industry is an exhumation. The music industry prefers to unearth the body of work of its deceased and give them a sometimes macabre, typically grotesque, tribute performance. It’s an awkward reanimation of the artist that usually pales in comparison of the original. And with the music awards season fully underway we got our first sight of the Prince of the Undead courtesy of Madonna’s 2016 Billboard Awards performance on Sunday. Her tribute performance was largely pilloried across the spectrum. Though softly aided by Philly’s own Questlove — who introduced her performance and reportedly helped engineer it — in a series of tweets, the internet had already spoken: the performance was horrible. Not even industry-safe props like Stevie Wonder could stave off the poor reception the performance received. Read more »

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?



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 »

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