“I graduated from Curtis in 2013, so I haven’t worn out my welcome just yet,” he said. In fact, the highly in-demand cellist, who has been praised for his versatile style and sound, has a plethora of Philly engagements this season, including his upcoming concert with Sandbox Percussion for LiveConnections at World Cafe Live. He later returns for performances with yMusic at the Kimmel Center, the Dolce Suono Ensemble, and with Ben Folds at The Fillmore. We chatted with the talented musician about how Philly helped shape his craft, and what listeners can expect from his upcoming projects.
I always like to ask Curtis grads how that institution shaped them as artists. It’s really insular. It’s a closed experience in a very positive way, which was a good because I could focus and learn music. It was a great place for me because, like most people, in college you discover new things that you didn’t know you liked. I started listening to different kinds of music and playing music that I wouldn’t have normally have looked at. Read more »
The Friday evening show is quite typical when one looks at the offerings LiveConnections has presented through the years. The nonprofit organization prides itself on collaborative music making, and unlikely performer pairings during their six-concert seasons. Read more »
Saturday night, World Café Live Upstairs saw a trio of bands warm up a brisk night. First up was Brooklyn-based Ponyhof. Usually a fourpiece, on this night it was just lead-singer and keyboardist Carrie Erving and cellist Chris Loxley. The duo lit the night with their shimmering indie rock currents.
There is an inherent all-sensory mood in the music of Lera Lynn. Old alcohol and smoke reside in the nostrils while the eyes can only faintly see the figures on the stage through the dimly lit room of sound. And there is the voice: a rich, sultry concoction that veers to country and folk, sometimes simultaneously. The guitar rumbles, sometimes gutturally, sometimes slight, layered with percussion that is never an afterthought. This sound certainly made her the perfect partner to the art of the second season of True Detective (for which she created the soundtrack).
The School of Rock AllStar Concert this week at World Café Live brought me back to a time of pop quizzes and social ladder-climbing. Yet, I doubt any members of the School of Rock band have to worry about winning popularity contests. Their all-star talents automatically make them the coolest kids in town.
An army of teen rock prodigies took center stage on Tuesday night to deliver a psychedelic show that would have made Jack Black proud. Two Allstar teams and two local school house bands took turns working the stage in half-hour increments throughout the night. At any given time there were about a dozen teens rocking the platform at once, accompanied by an instrument of their choosing. Instrumentalists included electric guitarists, keyboard players, and those on bass and drums. And let’s not forget about the show-stopping vocalists whose pipes were so powerful, it was hard to believe they’re barely post-pubescent.
R. Ring, a fairly new rock duo consisting of Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery, will be playing at Johnny Brenda's tonight. Signed with Misra Records, the two use voice, guitar and keys to create beautiful sounds their fans love. They're currently finishing a single to be released soon, and will introduce their unique sound at the show. Listen before you go: "Hundred Dollar Heat." Monday, July 27, 9pm, Johnny Brenda's, 1201 North Frankford Avenue.
This breakout band has taken the music world by storm since their debut in 2011. As talented multi-instrumentalists and singers, these two young girls started their duo while still in high school and have grown to have an edgy folk sound to their music. Since, they have written and recorded two albums, played tons of live shows and are currently on their 2015 national tour. Listen before you go: "Lemons in Chamomile." Tuesday, July 28, 8pm, World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street.
Pop star and millennial sweetheart Ariana Grande will be singing to a packed house at the Wells Fargo Center. Grande's debut album, Yours Truly, was released in 2013 and met with instant success — it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Her second studio album, My Everything, was released in 2014 and also met with appraisal by fans and critics alike. Grande has been nominated for two Grammy and seven Billboard Music awards, and has won an American Music Award, MTV Video Music Award, and two MTV Europe Music Awards. Listen before you go: "Love Me Harder." Wednesday, July 29, 7:30pm, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 South Broad Street.
Radio 104.5 presents a night with Brandon Flowers, lead singer and songwriter of popular rock band The Killers. Flowers, who specializes in vocals, piano and guitars, launched his solo career in 2010 with the release of his debut album, Flamingo, and was awarded the Q Idol Award. Listen before you go: "Can't Deny My Love." Thursday, July 30, 8pm, The Electric Factory, 421 North 7th Street.
J. Cole is a popular hip-hop artist, songwriter and record producer originally from North Carolina. J. Cole's musical breakthrough came in 2009 when he released his debut mixtape and was then contacted by Jay-Z and signed to his record label. His debut album was released in 2011 and hit number one on the Billboard 200, Top R&B Albums and Top Rap Albums chart. Since, J. Cole has released two more high-charting albums and has developed a loyal fan base. Listen before you go: "Work Out." Friday, July 31, 6:30pm, Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Market Street, Camden, NJ.
Laura Marling is a folk singer-songwriter and musician based out of England. Since her 2008 debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, Marling has released four more studio albums and performed and toured internationally. In 2011, Marling won a Brit Award for Best British Female and an NME Award for Best Solo Artist. Listen before you go: "Once I Was An Eagle." Saturday, August 1, 8pm, Union Transfer, 1024 Spring Garden Street.
Philly's most popular alternative station, Radio 104.5, has been hosting free summer block parties since their debut in 2010, featuring some of the most successful alternative artists in the industry. This Sunday, the block party will feature headliners Matt and Kim, a Brooklyn-based alternative dance music duo. With Matt Johnson on vocals and keyboards and Kim Schifino on drums and vocals, the two are known for their DIY approach to their music. Since their debut album in 2006, the group has released four more albums and a handful of singles. Listen before you go: "Hey Now." Sunday, August 2, 12pm, Festival Pier, 601 North Columbus Boulevard.
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Will Anderson strapped on an acoustic guitar at World Café Live on Friday night and opened the show with the powerful yet simple “Hurricane.” After the first song Kit French joined Anderson on stage, multitasking on the keys and saxophone while singing backup. The two performed a couple seamless sets, and then I began to wonder when the third Parachute member, Johnny Stubblefield, would join them.
“Johnny is sick,” explained Anderson. Well, that answered that. They expressed some disappointment in their band member’s absence, but then Anderson turned to French and casually admitted, “More sex for us. Hahaha.” The sold-out crowd of mostly women broke into a fit of laughter. I too let out a few giggles and then I realized they probably weren’t joking.
Jason Vieaux‘s mother was a school librarian who bought him his first classical guitar for $50 when he was a young boy. Fast forward several decades later and Mr. Vieaux is now a Grammy-winning musician who tours internationally, performing to eager audiences at almost every major classical guitar festival in the world. Vieaux is also no stranger to Philly: He’s Curtis faculty, and he’s performed numerous concerts here. He’ll be returning to World Cafe Live on May 7th to perform with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble, part of the LiveConnections concert series which aims to pair unlikely artists for interesting music making. We caught up with Vieaux to discuss his upcoming show and why Philly is such a hotbed for classical music. Read more »
Some of life’s questions are simply too great to ever be answered. Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? But this week, two different groups are tackling the age old question: does beer or wine pair better with food?
World Cafe Live has just announced an event that fits in perfectly with this week’s Meat Week theme. Back in 2013, World Cafe Live hosted Where’s The Beef? A Vegan Beer Dinner. On Monday, March 30th, they’re hosting the counterpart, Here’s the Beef, an 8-course tasting menu of braised meats, dry rubs and slow roasted cuts of beer. All of that meat will be paired with 8 beers, all of which are at least 8% alcohol by volume.
Tickets are $50 per person and include all the meat and beer.