Music: 9 Shows to See in the Next 7 Days
Kendrick Lamar @ Wells Fargo Center | Wednesday, July 19
Everyone agrees that Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar is one of the fiercest (and low-key funniest) performers in the business. His lyrics are bold and powerful, and span the emotional spectrum. His aesthetic is engaging and ambitious, and pushes mainstream hip-hop into weirder territory. Of the three videos released so far for his critically acclaimed latest record Damn, none has fewer than 26 million views. The one below has 248 million. So. I don’t know why this show isn’t sold out yet — except everybody’s strapped for cash and it’s in a big giant sports arena — but that just means you have time to make an impulse purchase. (See Also: Kendrick Lamar brings a pop-up shop to Philly.)
Ghost @ The Fillmore | Thursday, July 20
For all the face paint and the costumes and the Satanic Panic rigamarole, Swedish band Ghost’s music is surprisingly accessible. It’s just as much power-pop as heavy metal. But the lead singer is a “demonic anti-Pope” with a skull face, so I guess it’s a little spooky. “Hey mom, I’m worshipping the devil tonight. \m/” “That’s nice dear. <3”
Whitey Morgan @ Underground Arts | Thursday, July 20
Deep voice, big beard, can’t lose.
Nobunny @ PhilaMOCA | Friday, July 21
You want straight-up creepy, how about a guy who does jangly garage rock in his grundies and a dingy old rabbit mask? But wait, there’s more (and Wikipedia puts it best): “While on stage, Nobunny … is often accompanied by other odd stage-attire choices, such as raw meat, weaves, ball gags, firecrackers, panties, knee pads and coats made of trash.”
The Van Pelt @ Boot & Saddle | Friday, July 21
Chris Leo’s ’90s band is often spoken about with reverence in indie rock circles — largely because they broke up before most of us ever heard of them. A reunited Van Pelt means all those old songs are coming back to life. Here they are in their prime (just a heads’ up, this is not a video of anything bad happening to a cat):
Amadou & Mariam @ World Cafe Live | Saturday, July 22
This blind, married duo from Mali — guitarist/vocalist Amadou Bagayoko and vocalist Mariam Doumbia — has toured the world, playing with Stevie Wonder, TV On The Radio and Damon Albarn. Built on rock, electro-pop, disco and funk, their sound is danceable, dreamy and expansive.
Algiers @ Johnny Brenda’s | Saturday, July 22
Algiers’ new The Underside of Power is one of the most exciting records I’ve heard this year, but not easily defined: It’s gospel and post-punk, hand clappin’ and hard rockin’, political and heavenly, chaotic and clear-headed. Franklin James Fisher’s got a voice like a righteous angel ready to put humanity through the ringer. His passion — for music, for justice — comes pouring through on every song. Desperate times call for a desperate band.
John Legend @ BB&T Pavilion | Monday, July 24
This show is rescheduled from June; Legend had to cancel a few dates on his Darkness & Light Tour to rest his voice. Nothing’s really changed in a month, so here’s what I wrote then: Classy, clarion-voiced John Legend remains one of the most enthralling performers in soul/R&B — and a particular favorite here in Philadelphia. His most recent record is Darkness and Light, released at the end of last year. Plus he just showed up in an episode of Master of None. Now watch this video and cry.
Colleen Green @ Everybody Hits | Monday, July 24
Clean, catchy and kinda space-cadettish indie rock.