Live EDM shows can sometimes be a little disappointing. Case in point: Disclosure‘s recent romp at Union Transfer. Now, I’m a huge fan of these beat-tastic British boys, but seeing them live, well, I was pretty much watching two dudes playing off a laptop who barely looked up to acknowledge the crazy crowd. Not the most engaging experience in the world, to say the least. So, when I found out that I was going to see remixer and music producer RAC (aka Remix Artist Collective) at TLA this past Saturday night, I was leery—but then the music started.
Kicking off the night were indie artists Speak (Austin, Texas), followed by Chris Glover’s New York electropop project, Penguin Prison, which got the packed house amped up before the headliners came on.
Then, much to my surprise, RAC entered with an army of indie artists armed with keyboards, drums, electric guitars and synths. Throughout the show, they all contributed to songs, playing and taking turns doing vocals on the mics. From start to finish, RAC and his crew dazzled in their upbeat set. Whether it was on hits like “Cheap Sunglasses,” and “Hard To Hold,” or their crazy-good remix of Foster The People’s “Houdini,” there wasn’t a number played that RAC and his merry band of indie music-makers didn’t absolutely slay. And the crowd ate up every bit of it.
Patrick DeMarco is the creator and author of Philadelphia music blog Philly Mixtape.
In less than a week, this utterly catchy mix (yes, I’ve downloaded it) got over one-million hits on YouTube. Lucky enough for us in Philadelphia, the band, which infuses bluegrass, big band, jazz, and slow-jam styles in their covers of popular top-40 hits, is coming to the TLA later in October. Read more »
This three-piece ensemble formed in LA a few years back and has been gaining traction recently with their unique, minimalist sound. Their 2013 album Dysnomia earned them mentions on a number of "best of the year" lists, making them a can't-miss act. Listen before you go: "lo." Monday, September 29th with Cookies, Johnny Brenda's, 9:15 p.m., 1201 Frankford Avenue.
Former Miss Universe Canada competitor and Royal Canadian Navy code breaker (I'm not joking, look it up), Kiesza (or, Kiesa Rae Ellestad) is living in the States, making her own brand of electronic dance music. One listen to her hit single "Hideaway" and you'll see why there is no better way to spend your Tuesday than at her South Philly show. Listen before you go: "What is Love." Tuesday, September 30th, Theatre of Living Arts, 8:30 p.m., 334 South Street.
Rise Against has been a staple in punk rock for over a decade. Their gold-selling album, Siren Song of the Counter Culture, turns 10 this year, so expect a nostalgic night from the Chicago-natives. Listen before you go: "Savior," "Prayer of the Refugee." Wednesday, October 1st with Touche Amore and Radkey, Tower Theatre, 7:30 p.m., 19 S 69th Street.
This candy-pop duo has grown up since their days as "The Naked Brothers Band" of Nickelodeon fame. With all the charm of teen heartthrobs, brothers Nat and Alex Wolff are ready to showcase their skills. They're catchy, they're cute, you'll be glad you went. Listen before you go: "I Won't Love You Any Less," "Rules." Thursday, October 2nd, The Trocadero (Balcony), 8:oo p.m., 1003 Arch Street.
The one-two punch of indie-pop darlings We Are Scientists and the sunny, surf-rock group Surfer Blood has to be the best deal of the week. You'll be sure to find something to like in these fan-favorites. Go early for prime seats and a drink or two before showtime. Saturday, October 4th, with Eternal Summers, Johnny Brenda's, 9:15 p.m., 1201 Frankford Avenue.
Universally hailed by critics and fans alike, Illmatic, the debut album from iconic rapper Nas, turned 20 this year. Now, the East Coast artist is busy, traveling on extensive tours and headlining festivals. This is a rare chance to witness one of the best in the game go back to his roots for what should be an emotional night. Sunday, October 5th, Keswick Theatre, 291 N Keswick Avenue.
In an email sent to its list today, R5 Productions announced it is seriously cutting back on shows in the basement of the First Unitarian Church at 22nd and Chestnut. The Church basement had been hosting all-ages shows promoted by R5 for 18 years.
R5 Productions’ Sean Agnew previously held shows at a club called 4040 at 4040 Locust Street, until overblown spats with neighbors forced its closure, and at the Rotunda at 40th and Walnut on Penn’s campus. Eventually, most of the R5 shows migrated to the basement of the First Unitarian Church.
But now R5 is pretty much ceasing to book shows in the basement. Agnew now co-owns Boot & Saddle, a bar and small venue in South Philadelphia, and Union Transfer, a 1,300-seat venue with a three separate bars in the former Spaghetti Warehouse on Spring Garden. “With these new venues and a slew of other that have opened up around Philadelphia,” R5’s email read, “it’s become increasingly difficult to book bands who want to play the church.” The Church was a victim of its own success. With fewer R5 shows, the church needed a regular tenant to keep revenue up. An after-school group will start booking the venue in a few weeks. R5 will cease doing weekday shows soon, and hopes to book on Saturdays and Sundays.
Shows in the sanctuary or side chapel will continue as usual.
At one point Miss Patti dedicated a song to her friend Joan Rivers, the comedian who died last week at the age of 81. It began with a rift of "You Are My Friend," and ended in a prayer. The 70-year-old diva thanked Philly for supporting her for the past 52 years of her career.
Patti has the energy of women half her age, and legs that go on for days. She ended the set with "Over the Rainbow." At one point she kicked off her heels, with one flying into the audience as often happens in her show. (Once I actually caught one, but gave it to a friend who probably still has it on his shelf at home). But these days she's wearing Louboutins, so she sent her shoe guy into the audience to retrieve that baby. She left the stage to thunderous applause, and returned to sing an encore of "You Are My Friend" to the appreciative audience.
After a brief break Maze featuring Frankie Beverly took the stage and the audience began to dance, holler and party it up as Beverly sang all his big hits. It was a gigantic party for the next hour or so as the audience, many dressed in white to pay homage to Beverly, put down their video devices and seemed to get into the groove.
Comprised of two young guys from Jersey, Saints Rich has already been making waves in the local indie scene. The single “Officer” from their debut album Beyond the Drone is a foot-stomping good time and a good prediction of what their set will bring. For $12, what better way is there to spend a Tuesday than with beer, food, and some new music?Tuesday, September 2nd, with Wild Rompit and Heat Thunder, MilkBoy Philly, 1100 Chestnut Street.
When Jack White isn’t managing one of his dozen different music projects, he is also keeping an ear out for upcoming artists. Through word of mouth, in 2009 Smoke Fairies duo Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire’s found themselves opening for White’s The Dead Weather. Now the English duo has three genre-spanning albums and time on the road under their belt. With two powerful female singers belting over somber yet poignant tracks, World Café Live should be a great venue for the group.Wednesday, September 3rd, with Foxtrot & The Get Down, World Café Live, 3025 Walnut Street.
One-half of the indie-pop band that blew up the London music scene a few years ago, Jamie xx (real name Jamie Smith) has still found time to support a solo career. A noted music producer and remix artist, Jamie xx has worked with Radiohead, Alicia Keys, and even produced the single “Take Care” featuring Drake and Rihanna. As a musician himself, the accomplished beat maker focuses on electronica and experimentation to surprise and engage his listeners.Thursday, September 4th, with Mattis, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
Pretty much everyone knows Lorde’s story. She was 16 when “Royals” invaded the airwaves. She’s already won two Grammy awards before turning 18. She even did a rendition of “All Apologies” with the surviving members of Nirvana at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Love her or hate her, the New Zealand pop star is on her way to Philly. You’ll be sure to hear the single “Team” and the inescapable “Royals” when she takes the stage at the Mann. Just don’t count on any Nirvana covers.Friday, September 5th, The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue.
DJ Shadow is well known among music producers and fellow DJs. With an extensive record collection and a reputation built around diverse and unique sample usage, DJ Shadow is a true artist. Now touring with Cut Chemist, the TLA will become his playground of sounds when they take the stage this week.Saturday, September 6th, Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South Street.
Current leader of East Coast rap group The Diplomats and The U.N., Cam’Ron (formerly Killa Cam) hasn’t been in the spotlight as a solo artist since the release of “Oh Boy” and “Hey Ma” in 2002. But the Harlem-born rapper has still been releasing music, both on his own, as well as with his fellow Diplo and U.N. members. The aggressive performer will be looking to remind fans that he’s still at the top of his game when he hits Union Transfer. Sunday, September 7th, with Sneaker Pimps, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
Young and Sick kick off the weekend with their performance on the Liberty Stage.
The Neighborhood frontman Jesse Rutherford participates in a meet-and-greet backstage
with fans before their set.
Cherub performs on the Rocky Stage at Made in America.
Music fan dances to the music.
Skateboarder near the Skate Stage.
Music fans watch Baby Baby's performance on the Skate Stage.
The Neighborhood performs at Made In America 2014..
Big Daddy Kane performs on The Rocky Stage.
J. Cole performs on the Liberty Stage.
Kanye West performs in silhouette on the Rocky Stage to close out the first night.
Fans waiting for Bleachers to perform.
Bleachers performs on Rocky Stage at Made In America 2014.
When music fans were waiting for a show, there were lots of things to keep their interest:
a ride on the swings, a visit to the cause village to support various charities, face painting and lounging in the Budweiser beer gardens.
Beefy music fans enter the festival grounds.
Skateboarder at Skate Board Park.
Fans spell out MIA
Fans participate in Bean Bag Toss at the Wired 96.5 booth.
Music fans listen to Danny Brown as a light rain shower begins.
Danny Brown on the Liberty Stage
Britt Daniel of Spoon performs at Made In America 2014. After his performance the City evacuated the Festival grounds for severe weather heading our way.
After an hour the gates were opened again and fans returned.
The rain still fell, but the music continued with fans taking cover any way they could.
Pharrell Williams performs on Rocky Stage at Made In America 2014.
Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean are being sued over a song they collaborated on that got it’s name from Jay Z’s Philly-derived Labor Day weekend Made in America Festival. The song in question is, you guessed it, “Made in America.” More from AV Club: