On the heels of Neil Young’s Israeli concert cancellation comes news that the rock legend will perform two shows at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Music. Read more »
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. Since that day, Jackson’s estate has been rolling in dough, due to booming music royalties, two successful posthumous albums and Cirque Du Soleil’s “Immortal World Tour,” which has logged in over 500 sold-out performances since its launch in 2011. It certainly seems as if Michael never left us.
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The music director for the School of Rock outpost in Charlotte, North Carolina decided to show his camp kids (ages 5 to 11) a live video from the weird and wonderful Philadelphia band Man Man. He prefaced it by telling them that they were about to see the world’s best rock band perform the best song in the world. He recorded their reactions. Priceless. Read more »
This summer, the Mann Center will house the Philadelphia Orchestra for a three-week summer residency that kicks off with an awesome-sounding collaboration with singer-songwriter Ben Folds on Tuesday, June 24th.
Ben Folds is no stranger to tinkering with new ways to present his music — remember the whole Chat Roulette thing in 2010? — and this new blending with classical orchestras is apparently a winning combo. Described as “part piano concerto, part pop hits,” The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience was recently tried out with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Here’s what one reviewer from the St. Louis Post Dispatch had to say about that performance:
The centerpiece of the concert’s first half was Folds’ newly written piano concerto. Folds performed its first movement, which he said is designed to “kick ass” before giving way to a more sedate second movement and then going out with a bang during the third. More than anything, he seems determined not to reinvent the wheel in terms of composition. The piece draws on Folds’ pop sensibilities while also offering an opportunity to show off his digital dexterity: clearly, he’s been practicing.”
His romp with the Philly orchestra will be conducted by Steven Reinke. Tickets, ranging from $15 to $49.50, can be purchased here.
We pick out some of the biggest and boldest beards in the indie scene right now.
The Hippy: Whether you want to believe him or not, Edward Sharpe's sing-along, sunshine style attempts to evoke an era of the "Summer of Love." His long hair and unruly beard make him look like someone you saw in a Woodstock documentary. The Hippy is for musicians who care so much about spreading the message of their music that they refuse to pick up a razor. "Beards are free, brother. It's the Man who keeps telling you to shave."
The Young Gun: Andy Hull must have been the kid in middle school who grew a mustache before most other boys hit puberty. The Manchester Orchestra/Bad Books frontman seems to grow and alter his beard at will. The youngest on the list, Hull's beard is more style than statement, and certainly one we see creeping into the music scene more and more. He could cut it off tomorrow and you'd see it back by the time they hit the stage later this month.
The Teddy Bear: For a guy who raps about weed, women and a slew of other illegal activities, there is something about Action Bronson that is just so darn lovabale. The big man's bushy beard has become part of his light-hearted, fun personality.
The Titular Beard: Jeremy Styles is one-third of the harmonic group Pearl and the Beard, though, according to the band, the group's name does not have anything to do with the only male member's facial hair. Regardless, Styles' prominent beard and tall hair, like his deep voice, are a crucial component of this unique trio. This is a band to keep an eye on, and a beard to admire. Also, how could we not include a band with the word beard in the title?
The Philosopher: How does a man find time to shave when he has so much worldly wisdom to impart? Iron and Wine's Sam Beam is known for his poignant lyrics and "deep thinker" persona. His world-weary beard and dark-set eyes convey a knowledge of the world learned through experience. Or maybe he's got us all fooled, and just thinks it looks cool.
The Quintessential Beard: If you were to Google "How to grow a beard," Ray LaMontagne's mug would clearly be the top search result. Perfectly lined up and trimmed, the Quintessential Beard is what all true singer-songwriters strive for. It is usually combined with an attitude of not really trying, but you know those who rock it have their beard trimmers pre-set should anything happen.
The Radical: Death Grips frontman MC Ride's beard is a statement-beard, and that statement is loud. Usually combined with tattoos and deep rage, The Radical can be as long and gnarly as it wants to be — and screw you if you have anything to say about it.
The Dearly Departed: The Fleet Foxes debut album was a breath of fresh mountain air to the synth-heavy music scene. Lead-singer Robin Pecknold. was the bearded, rugged-but-sensitive mountain man come to shake us of our modern ways. That was six years ago. Popular music is turning away from folk and facial hair. The Fleet Foxes' haven't released an album in three years, and Pecknold recently shaved to a more modern stubble. It's always sad to see the good ones go.
The Salt and Pepper: Be it in hair or a beard, a little bit of gray is meant to reflect wisdom and experience, right? If that's the case then TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone is a bonafide genius. The 41-year-old guitar player's face fuzz has been steadily growing lighter, but his commitment has not faltered. Those rocking The Salt and Pepper should be prepared at any moment around the holidays to be asked to play Santa at the mall.
The Fitzsimmons: How does William Fitzsimmons' whisper-like voice make it past his beard? The thing has its own Facebook page with almost 1,500 fans. Apparently, it's a Fitzsimmons traditon for the men to grow beards, which makes me envision a family reunion looking like a ZZ Top concert. Fitzsimmons is such a chill guy; he says he sometimes forgets he even has the thing, though by now Fitzsimmons and the beard have become synonymous. Hmm, Fitzsimmons and the Beard. Sweet band name!
Eagles Linebacker Connor Barwin’s “Make the World Better” charity project is hosting a concert to raise money for much-needed improvements to Ralph Brooks Park in South Philadelphia. The park was constructed in honor of Ralph Brooks Jr., who, when he was 7 years old in 1988, had his spinal cord severed when he was struck by a bullet in a gang-related incident. While the park was named in his memory, the violence in the area has continued, leaving the park in dilapidating condition. The purpose of the effort is to give kids a safe place to play and have fun.
The concert will be on Friday June, 20th, and will feature local groups Kurt Vile and the Violators and the Districts, and Houston’s The Tontons. All money raised will be used to improve the park, which involves adding a new, state-of-the-art basketball court, safe and well-lit play areas, a large community garden and a mural by local artist Steve Powers.
VIP/Meet and Greet tickets are available, giving you the chance to hang with Barwin and his Eagles teammates LeSean McCoy, DeMeco Ryans, Jason Kelce, Brent Celek, Trent Cole and more. There will also be raffles for Eagles memorabilia, and some of Kurt Vile’s personal pedals and keyboards. Union Transfer has agreed to offer their venue for the concert free of charge and will be donating all bar proceeds from the night. Connor Brown has promised to match the funds raised from the show, doubling the total amount raised. It’s a night not to be missed. Get your tickets here.
Wildwoods Beach will see an all-new music festival this summer, taking place a day after our 4th of July hoopla on the Parkway. The BeachGlow Music Festival is hosted by BeachGlow Concerts for Charity, the only non-profit EDM concert producer in the nation. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. More on the afternoon’s lineup from a press release I received today:
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You know what the doctor says: A little music every day keeps the blahs away. To help, we round up a concert for every day of this week.
Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit first plucked their way into our hearts with their cover of Fleet Foxes' "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" in 2008. They soon became buddies with indie poster boy Connor Oberst and their popularity soared. Now a full-fledged headlining act, these young artists have been busy doing the late night circuit and selling out shows. Be sure to see them as they hit Philly Monday before tickets are gone. Monday, June 9th, 8:30 p.m., Union Transfer, 1026, Spring Garden Street.
Also known as "Jr. Gong" and "Gong Zilla", Damian Marley has made a name for himself as a reggae artist, despite the towering shadow of his father, legend Bob Marley. Damian has been performing since 13, and has six studio albums under his belt. Along with hip hop group Atmosphere, Damian will light up the Electric Factory with music and good vibes. Tuesday, June 10th, 7:30 p.m., The Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th Street.
Experimental rockers Animal Collective have been touring all over the place since the release of their album Centipede Hz two years ago. Ten bucks is a steal to catch this trippy act. Group members Deacon and Geologist will be manning the DJ table and playing from the bands catalog of music. The show is only for those 21 an older, so younger fans will have to wait until the next time these guys hit Philly. Wednesday, June 11th, 10 p.m., Dolphin Tavern, 1539 Broad Street.
Eric Goulden, aka Wreckless Eric, recently celebrated his 60th birthday by starting a tour across his native England as well as several stops here in the states. The Brit rock and roller has not lost a step , with the singer-songwriter continuing to produce music. While it has been almost 40 years since his hit single "(I'd Go the) Whole Wide World", Eric is showing no signs of slowing down. WXPN is hosting the show this Thursday at the Tin Angel - a great place to sit, eat and enjoy the music. Thursday, June 12th, 8 p.m., Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd Street.
Music legends Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss are touring together for the first time this summer. This will be an unforgettable show with two of the best artists country has to offer combining for a night of music at one of the city's best venues.Get your tickets now before they go. There won't be a bad seat in the house. Friday, June 13th, 7 p.m., The Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Avenue.
California based group Rebelution have created a unique rock/reggae sound that has grown more popular with release. On June 10th, Count Me In, the groups fourth studio album hits shelves and they have wasted no time in spreading the word. Rebelution will hit the newly renovated Festival Pier Saturday as part of their Count Me In Summer Tour. An outside venue is the ideal place to see these guys. With several other bands set to open, make a day out of the beautiful scenery and good music. Saturday, June 14th, 6:30 p.m., Festival Pier (at Penn's Landing), Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street.
One of the few shows on their tour to have not sold out, tUnE-yArDs will bring their pop-electronic-downright fun sound to Union Transfer. A show for all ages, tUnE-yArDs is the project of New England native Merrill Garbus. By layering live instruments with drum loops made up on the spot, their sound is equal parts catchy and fun. Nikki Nack, the groups third album was released last month, so expect to hear some new tunes that are sure to get you moving. Act fast. Sunday, June 15th, 8 p.m., Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
Extra Reading: More shows in our 2014 Summer Concert Guide
We sent writers/photographers/brothers Christopher Sarkis Graham and Bryan Armen Graham to Randall’s Island in New York to check out this weekend’s three-day Governors Ball 2014. Here’s their photographic recap of the day, which kicked off with Philly’s own Kurt Vile:
Who better to help kick off a weekend of world class, genre-spanning pop music than Philly’s own Kurt Vile?
Early on Friday, Vile and his Violators helped usher in this year’s Governors Ball, a music festival that's settled into a three-day format since launching as a one-day event with an emphasis on dance acts in 2011.
Vile's vinyl psychedelia-flavored lo-fi was the perfect volley to Janelle Monáe’s cosmic funk that would soon follow.
OutKast might have had a bumpy start to their festival comeback run after a (in)famously lackluster Coachella reception, but Friday night's confident set — backed by a live band — showed they've worked out the kinks.
Guest stars kept the energy level cranked to 11, with Sleepy Brown weaving in and out of songs through the night, and Killer Mike emerging just in time for his verse in the finale, “The Whole World.”
Day 2 brought more pristine weather and hometown talent in West Philly expat RJD2.
The collage artist’s celebrated electro-analogue style laid just the tone for the day, leaving the crowd in a sea of fist-pumps with the “Ghostwriter” set closer.
Later, The Strokes took the main stage for their first festival appearance since 2011 — but if there was any dust to shake off, no one could spot it settle.
Soon after came a far-and-away fest highlight in Jack White, who may have swapped his trichromatic theme from a red to blue base, emerging on Saturday night’s cerulean-drenched stage — but White was sure to remind us he’s not turned on the work that’s secured him as rock’s saving grace for near 15 years.
Seems the only Jack project left untapped was the Dead Weather (something of a missed opportunity, considering the super-group cofounder Alison Mosshart was on deck for a Kills set on Sunday.)
Tyler, The Creator joined Earl Sweatshirt, Jasper Dolphin and Taco for a raucous, profanity-laden afternoon set that drew a massive crowd on Day 3, demonstrating why Odd Future is the biggest punk attraction in the business. Seattle folk-rockers The Head and The Heart alleviated the adrenaline rush with a set drawn heavily from Let's Be Still, their sophomore effort for Sub Pop Records. British singer and electronic producer James Blake reached into his back catalog with a sexy set drawing on his inimitable blend of R&B, soul and electronic influences. Homestanding veterans Interpol delivered a tight, focused set before a massive crowd that conflicted with eccentric Australian electro-pop duo Empire of the Sun, whose "Walking On a Dream" set an overflow tent crowd into hysterics.
Vampire Weekend drew the bigger crowd of Sunday night's two headliners, but Axwell & Ingrosso — veterans of EDM kings Swedish House Mafia — closed the festival with a bang (literally) with a fist-pumping set punctuated by fireworks above the stage.
The trail of defunct, failed New York City music festivals is long (remember All Points West, Vineland, Field Day, Across the Narrows or Bonnaroo N.E.?) but another successful weekend on Randall’s Island proves that Governors Ball just may have cracked the code. Keep scrolling for more photos from the three-day festival.
Kurt Vile and the Violaters
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz