22 Concerts You Can’t Miss This Fall in Philly
Whether its emerging/hilarious Elkins Park rapper Lil Dicky, the legendary Ringo Starr, or Philly’s own indie rockers Dead Milkmen there’s a nice variety of musical acts rolling through the city between now and December. No matter what your taste, there’s something here — on our guide to the 22 must-see shows of the season — that’ll suit you. Think of it as the soundtrack to your fall.
October 22: Chance the Rapper
This hip-hopper went from nowhere to everywhere with his 2013 mixtape release, Acid Rap. Now 22, he’s proving himself to be unafraid to assert his artistic interests. The Chicago native joined forces with a collective of jazz and soul artists, The Social Experiment, and released Surf this summer to warm reviews. You know he’s the hot ticket when Madonna snapped him up for a song on her Rebel Heart album. He’s known for giving it his all during concerts, so expect to dance, sweat and cheer. Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th Street.
October 23: Powerhouse
This show’s line-up is seriously no joke. This is the hip-hop all-star squad. Kendrick Lamar is fresh off of winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at this year’s Grammys for “I,” and has a new album, To Pimp a Butterfly, out this past spring. Meek Mill, from Philly and famously or infamously dating Nicki Minaj, has his new album, Dreams Worth More than Money. Big Sean, who recently broke up with Ariana Grande, released his third album, Dark Sky Paradise, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. And one-eyed Fetty Wap might just have the most traction of all at the moment. He just released his first self-titled album months after his infectious single “Trap Queen” climbed the charts, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard 100 this summer. Should be a fun night. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street.
October 25: Lil Dicky
Elkins Park rapper Lil Dicky aka David Burd is on the verge of the hip-hop big leagues. Though he’s only just released his first full-length album this July, Professional Rapper, he’s received plenty of attention via Youtube since 2013, notching viral sensation hit after hit with “ExBoyfriend,” “Lemme Freak,” “Jewish Flow,” “White Dude,” “Too High.” One look at his animated video “Professional Rapper,” which features an interview between Snoop Dogg and Lil Dicky, shows you what this comic rapper can do. The vid has amassed 1.7 million worldwide YouTube views since its July 31 release. Catch him in a small space while you can. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street.
October 26: The Ex and Ken Vandermark
Who doesn’t want to check out what an underground Dutch punk band can do? Performing since 1979, the band has evolved significantly through the years and has released twenty albums of experimental music that blend punk, jazz and folk music — most recently incorporating sounds from Ethiopia, Congo and Eritrea. Saxophonist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Ken Vandermark brings his forward-thinking improvisational jazz to the evening. Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad Street.
October 28: Cypress Hill
Stoners pay attention, here comes the band that’s been penning weed-themed classics for the last twenty years, including “Insane in the Membrane,”’ “Hits From the Bong,” “I Wanna Get High,” “Boom Biddy Bye Bye.” But even if you don’t partake, this band’s mighty hooks, funky melodies, atmospheric spookiness, sinister awesomeness and dope beats are simply a good time. TLA, 123 Chestnut Street.
October 30: Ringo Starr and his All Star Band
Umm, hello? It’s one of the Beatles. That makes it a must right there. Will it be a nostalgia-fest? Yes. Will the drummer be goofy but charming? Probably. One critic described it as: “less rock and roll, more Vegas lounge act.” Who cares, it’s Ringo. Let’s go. Tower Theater, S. 69th Street, Upper Darby.
October 30: Dead Milkmen
These are our iconic 1980s punk rockers with the bracingly thick Philly accents. Remember “Bitchin’ Camero” or “Punk Rock Girl”? Lace up your Doc Martens and get to the Troc to see the band that reunited in 2008, minus the late Dave Schulthise. The Milkmen released Pretty Music for Pretty People, their tenth studio album last year. Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street.
October 31: Sun Ra Arkestra
Sun Ra died in 1993, but the Arkestra carries on making avant-garde groovy jazz. Besides being a band leader and pianist, the late Sun Ra was a poet and philosopher who believed he was from Saturn. Despite that cosmic philosophy, Sun Ra was taken quite seriously by many jazz musicians for his creative innovation. The group is now under the leadership of 91-year-old alto saxophonist Marshall Allen. He’s been with the group since the 1950s. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Avenue.
November 1: Gary Clark Jr.
He’s got blues, psychedelia, hip-hop, classic rock all swirled together to create a sound that befits a cat coming out of musically rich Austin, Texas. The 31-year-old released his latest album this month, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, and plays guitar in an R&B soulful way that gives a nod to Prince, B.B. King, Lenny Kravitz and Jimmy Hendrix. The Fillmore Philadelphia, 1100 Canal Street.
November 3: The Skatalites 50th Anniversary Tour
For fans of reggae, this is a must. The original incarnation of this Jamaican band recorded the first ska album in 1964, which melded R&B, jazz, calypso and Cuban music together to make its distinctive sound. The band recorded with Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, and sowed the seeds for all reggae and dubstep music to blossom. The band reformed in 1983 and has been touring ever since, with founding member Lester Sterling at the helm. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street.
November 6: Django Django and Wild Belle
Former Edinburgh College of Art students, this charming quartet puts together a tight show of art-pop that spans psychedelic dreamy grooves to minimalist propulsive electronica dance tunes. These Scots won’t be boxed in and do what intrigues them whether its harmonies akin to the Beach Boys, robotic emoting like Devo or rhythm-heavy Middle Eastern infused sound. Born Under Saturn, their latest album, dropped this summer with more grabby synth-pop tunes on offer. Wild Belle is a brother-sister team that created a sensation in 2013 with their reggae-infused indie-pop album, Isles. There will be plenty of catchy dancehall songs on display. Maybe they’ll sing this summer’s “Be Together,” the collaboration with Major Lazer that sounds very Amy Winehouse. We like that. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
November 7: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
An intense, bearded hipster with a huge, booming, authoritative voice and a thing for James Brown dance moves, Nathaniel Rateliff is a fascinating combination of traits. The Denver-based group has a devoted following, including TV’s Jimmy Fallon who raved so much during an appearance you’d be forgiven for thinking he’s on their payroll. And If they only played one song all night — “S.O.B.” from the self-titled album released this summer — it would be enough. They’re that fun. TLA, 123 Chestnut Street.
November 7: Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera
This show is for a specific slice of music lovers out there. But if that’s you, this is the ticket. Ian Anderson has put together a rock opera about the band’s namesake, the 17th-century agriculturalist and inventor. The opera incorporates the band’s classics including “Heavy Horses,” “Aqualung” and “Farm on the Freeway.” Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street.
November 11: Public Image LTD
This is another one of those “must-sees” even if you don’t want to or even like punk music. Fronted by John Lydon aka the infamous Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols the band is touring with its newly released album What the World Needs Now…, which is quite good and pulling in solid reviews. Get ready to pogo. Once the wild boy that terrified the English government and monarchy, Lydon now is the eminence grise of punk, yet he’s still loud, boorish and unpredictable in concert. Thank god. Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street.
November 11: Odesza
The Seattle duo (Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight) is rapidly achieving cult status among the EDM crowd who can’t get enough of their chill house sound. In Return (Deluxe Edition), just dropped this month and rolls out another pleasurable electronica soundscape. These former college buddies have already conquered the festival scene making appearances at Coachella, SXSW, Bonnaroo, Firefly and Lollapalooza. Hard to believe these guys just formed their “band” three years ago. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street.
November 12: Buddy Guy
Okay, so this is the legendary blues guitarist whose fans include Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Nuff said. Even at age 79, his live shows are described as spellbinding with his ability to make the guitar do anything he wants — and there’s no end to his improvisational flourishes and creative bluesy riffs. Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood N.J.
November 12: Ry Cooder, Sharon White and Ricky Skaggs
This show is pure country gold. Well, that and more, with some gospel, rockabilly and bluegrass thrown in the mix. Ry Cooder has major cred in the music biz for his serious guitar prowess (Rolling Stone has him at No. 31 on its 100 greatest guitarists), his singular tone on guitar and his role in promoting and preserving music history including propelling the Buena Vista Social Club into prominence. He joins husband and wife duo Sharon White and Ricky Skaggs. The couple join forces to perform old-time favorites by Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Buck Owens and Kitty Wells. Keswick, 291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside.
November 18: Azealia Banks
Twenty-four-year-old Harlem hip-hop artist Azealia Banks creates dance party hip-hop flows like no other — “212,” “Desperado,” “Yung Rapunxel,” “Nude Beach A-Go-Go.” Her work is layered, surprising, and loaded with Latin, funk, neo-punk and trippy house music influences. But, she is a drama queen for sure with Twitter squabbles and a recent incident with a Delta flight attendant. She’s also boldly reclaiming the “C” word in her work, notably in “212.” She’s told reporters she doesn’t “tolerate bitchassness.” Noted. Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th Street.
November 21: English Beat
It’s a blast from the rollicking ska-band past with this revival band going on tour promoting the new album, Here We Go Love. Hunky Dave Wakeling leads the band (minus Ranking Roger) that was known for massive new wave 80s hits: “Save it For Later,” “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “I Confess.” With its infectious house band vibe, The Beat still know how to light up a room. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street.
November 21: Arlo Guthrie’s 50th Anniversary of “Alice’s Restaurant”
Arlo Guthrie, son of folk legend Woody Guthrie, made a promise that on 10-year anniversaries of his folk Americana classic “Alice’s Restaurant,” he’d agree to perform it. And never in between. So get your tickets to hear this classic 18-minute musical yarn about a series of hilarious, incredibly stupid events in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, back on Thanksgiving 1965. The incident in question led to an arrest, which fortuitously made him ineligible for the Vietnam draft. Don’t worry, he’ll tell you all the details in his deadpan, charming way. Played on public radio every Thanksgiving, this guitar-backed monologue has become a holiday tradition for many. Keswick, 291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside.
November 27: Robin Schulz
German deejay Robin Schulz, shot to fame last year in the world of electronic tropical house music. The phenom released his latest album, Sugar, last week and its funky EDM title track will tear up the charts. Last year’s remix of the single “Waves” went multi-platinum, and the follow-up single, “Prayer in C,” became a global dance hit. Regularly sending thousands of fans into a dancing frenzy with his melodically driven, bumping beats, he’s been busy working the festival circuit including London’s iTunes Festival, the Belgian Tomorrowland, Mayday and Miami’s Ultra Music Festival. Acts like Coldplay, David Guetta and Axwell have come calling to work with him. Not bad for the new kid on the block. TLA, 123 Chestnut Street.
December 18: Beanie Sigel
South Philly’s notorious rapper, Beanie Sigel just keeps coming back. The 41-year-old is a survivor, that’s for sure. A convicted felon for a variety of reasons, he was shot last year, again, and has recovered from surgery and will bring his streetwise lyrics and flow to the TLA. His debut album, The Truth, dropped in 2000 on Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records. It got critical praise as did his 2005 The B.Coming, which he completed just before heading to jail. There will be a lot of love in the room for Philly’s unstoppable street poet. TLA, 123 Chestnut Street.