PHOTOS: ODESZA at Union Transfer

Photo by Jonathan Gipaya Photography

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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7 Awesome Concerts to See in Philly This Week


The indie and electronica fan will have a good time this week on the music scene, especially at Union Transfer. With the classic indie rock of Minus the Bear, the masterful synths of Neon Indian, or the futuristic pop melodies of Grimes, it might just feel like summer again. Feeling more in the mood for a throwback icon? Catch Don Henley of The Eagles at the Academy of Music. Click through to each day, or check out the full list below.


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PHOTOS: Kurt Vile Comes Home for Chill Set at Union Transfer

Kurt Vile

Every time Fishtown-based rocker Kurt Vile makes the trek back to his home city (technically he’s from Lansdowne, but whatever. Close enough.) it’s a special event. But last night, Vile brought fellow local rock act Waxahatchee with him to the Union Transfer, creating a powerful one-two punch of Philadelphia indie rock and roll.

The night began with Nashville-based acoustic singer Luke Roberts. But it wasn’t until Waxahatchee and lead singer Katie Crutchfield‘s arrival that the Union Transfer really began to fill up. The set was well-received, as the band’s electric, groovy sound was an excellent prequel to Kurt Vile and the Violators’ dreamy set.

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Satantic Rock Band Ghost on Getting Postponed By “Frankie”

Courtesy of BB Gun Press

Courtesy of BB Gun Press

Move over, Francis—there’s another Papa headed to town. One of the more bizarre subplots surrounding the papal visit involves the costumed Swedish rockers Ghost, who were forced to move their scheduled concert at Union Transfer from tonight to this Tuesday. That didn’t sit well with the band, whose skull-faced frontman, Papa Emeritus III, dresses in black pontiff robes and sings tunes with titles like “Satan Prayer” and “Deus In Absentia.” One of Ghost’s guitarists—a Nameless Ghoul, as each masked instrumentalist is known—called from their gig in Pittsburgh to discuss (in an exceedingly polite manner) how their live show is like mass, his love of certain Philly institutions, and a most unholy competition between the band and “Frankie.”

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REVIEW: FIDLAR at Union Transfer

FIDLAR at Union Transfer

FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper.

There’s something not very surprising about the fact that FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper chose sobriety to be the common theme from FIDLAR’s sophomore album, Too. Anybody who’s taken a gander at some of the lyrics from their first album knows the band has – or at least had – a fondness for drugs. There’s easily at least 15 examples I could choose from throughout the album (probably more), but the following lyrics from “No Waves” seem to sum it up best:

I feel, feel like a cokehead I feel, feel like I can’t get drunk no more Cause I’m on the floor Looking for some matches just to cook up a score I feel, feel like shooting up I feel, feel like giving up on my skateboard Cause I’m fucking bored I wanna perfect left down a sunset shore

I feel, feel like a crackhead I feel, feel like I’m not gonna make it no more Cause I’m on the floor Just pick me up and give me some more

Yeah, it sounds like somebody does too many drugs.

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FIDLAR at Union Transfer is #OpenInPHL

Photo courtesy of BB Gun Press.

Photo courtesy of BB Gun Press.

The last time FIDLAR plowed through Philly was in May, when they were the penultimate act of a co-headlining tour with fellow punk rockers Metz at Union Transfer. The result? Absolute chaos. Everything about the night was the embodiment of an old-school punk show, complete with mosh pits, crowd surfing, jean jackets and spilled beer. Since that time, FIDLAR’s released their sophomore album, Too, unleashing an EP’s worth of songs to dance to—almost all of which are about lead singer and songwriter Zac Carper’s rehab and newfound sobriety, including lead single “40oz on Repeat.”

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7 Shows to See in Philly This Week

Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def Coming to Union Transfer for Summer Recess Concert [CANCELLED]

Photo from Facebook.

Photo from Facebook.

UPDATE: [7/6/2015, 11:30 am]: We received a message from the organizers of the show saying that, “due to circumstances beyond Little Giant Creative’s control, the Summer Recess concert has been cancelled. Ticket holders will be given a full refund.]

Yasiin Bey, the MC formerly known as Mos Def, is coming to Union Transfer on July 25th for the first-ever Summer Recess concert organized by Little Giant Creative (LGC). Bey will be joined by North Philly native Freeway in a rare concert appearance that aims to “bring together an eclectic audience of rap aficionados and hip-hop lovers of all ages and backgrounds.” Read more »

Father John Misty April-Fooled the Audience at Union Transfer Last Night


“Are you ready for Father John Misty? He’s gonna make sweet love to your head. Your ears, I mean, and he’s not gonna stop. For at least two hours.” —opening act King Tuff

Striding on stage as a lurid neon script spelling out ‘No Photography’ flickers to life, Father John Misty seizes his microphone like a starving man after the last loaf of bread on earth. Everything about him is magnetized, engaged; he is aflame singing the opening and title track of his most recent album, I Love You, Honey Bear, swinging the microphone stand.

At the end of the song the front row, all male, all under 25, clap deliriously and snap photos. Thanking the audience for a great night and bidding us safe return home, Father John and his band leave the stage. The same techs who set up the guitars and tested all of the mics return, unplugging gear and ripping up a set list from the stage, handing it to a kid in the front row.

Set List

  1. I Love You, Honey Bear

April Fool complete, the band return to the stage and attack.

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PHOTOS: Sleater-Kinney at Union Transfer

sleater-kinney union transfer philadelphia

It’s been 8 years, 7 months and 28 days since Sleater-Kinney played in Philadelphia. I was really lucky to be in the audience on July 31, 2006 at the old Starlight Ballroom because there were only three more shows left on their goodbye tour. Original riot-grrrls Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss called it quits after the release of their seventh and critically acclaimed album, The Woods, shocking the music industry and their deeply loyal fans. When these rockers get together, it’s like lightening in a bottle.

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