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Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 8, 2019] Illiterate Light

I had heard of Illiterate Light from NPR, but didn’t really know them.  They played at Newport Folk Festival but were early on Saturday and we arrived after them.

Traffic getting to this show was terrible and I was annoyed that we’d miss Illiterate Light (or part of their set anyhow).  S. said she didn’t mind missing the opening act as long as we made it for The Head and the Heart.

We walked in just as Illiterate Light took the stage and we got seated around the middle of the first song.  And I couldn’t get over how loud they were (particularly opening for a not-especially-loud band like The Head and the Heart).  They had big rocking guitar and crashing drums.

Then I looked up and realized that there were only two of them on stage. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 7, 2019] Death Valley Girls

I had the opportunity to see Death Valley Girls twice in August.  The first time was with The Distillers who had to cancel their second show at Union Transfer due to a different injury.  The second (and it probably happened because of that cancellation) was with Sharkmuffin, a band I really wanted to see but wasn’t free that night.

So I was pleased that they were opening for The Distillers again a few months down the line.

I actually didn’t know much about them before seeing the show.  I had an idea of what they sounded like but, for instance, I had no idea that they were founded by Patty Schemel, the original drummer for Hole.  I also had no idea that there was a man in the band (Larry Schemel–Patty’s brother).  Patty Schemel has since left, replaced by Laura Kelsey.

So what exactly do the Death Valley Girls sound like?

Well, they’re sort of a fuzzy rock band with goth leanings.  The goth leaning come primarily from their look and their lyrics–not their sound. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 3, 2019] Team Dresch

Back in the mid 90s (when things were pretty great), as I was exploring more and more indie music, I was drawn to the Pacific Northwest scene.  There were a lot of great bands fronted by or comprised entirely of women–it was like discovering a gold mine of new sounds and voices.

This led to discoveries like Sleater-Kinney and Team Dresch.

This also led to exploring the Candy Ass record label (run by Team Dresch singer/bassist Jody Bleyle) and the amazing Free to Fight compilation.  As well as the Chainsaw records label (run by Donna Dresch).  They shared a lot of bands.

Team Dresch is one of the great queercore bands and they opened my eyes to a lot of avenues of queer culture that I didn’t know about.  I’ve become a huge LGBTQ+ advocate over the years and I attribute much of that to discovering Team Dresch and all that they stand for. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 3, 2019] Screaming Females

I was surprised and excited to hear the Team Dresch were doing a tour of our area.  They were playing at Monty Hall (a venue I love) as well as Union Transfer (a much bigger venue that I love).  It was a little hard to parse that they would play a venue with a capacity of 200 followed by a capacity of 1,200, but there ya go.

I would, of course, prefer the show at Monty Hall; however, for some reason, the Union Transfer show was also featuring Screaming Females.  So there was no way I could miss a chance to see this great band one more time.

Before Des Ark, I was looking at Screaming Females’ merch and actually wound up buying a CD directly from King Mike, which is pretty cool.

After Des Ark ended, Screaming Females came out.  They set up their own gear quickly and efficiently and then started playing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 3, 2019] Des Ark

I had never heard of Des Ark.  This show was a double bill of Screaming Females and Team Dresch and I had kind of forgotten there was another opening act.  So I didn’t look into them at all.

I was amused when the drummer came out and was texting on his phone before their set began.

Turns out that drummer is Ashley Arnwine who I had seen play with Waxahatchee (that band was fantastic, too).  He is also in the band Pinkwash.

The other two guys in the band were brothers Chris Taylor and Mike Taylor who were both in Pg. 99.

But these three guys are just with the band for this short (5 day) tour.

Des Ark is really the creation of singer/guitarist Aimee Argote.  Des Ark has three albums out Loose Lips Sink Ships (2005), Battle of the Beards (2007) and Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker (2011).   In between these she released three live albums from Durham, North Carolina radio station WXDU: WXDU v. 1 (2006); WXDU v.2 (2007) and Live at WXDU Vol. 3 (2013).  On these she plays new songs which may or may not make the next record.

Note the dates. That last WXDU record was from 2013.  And, it turns out that Des Ark hasn’t played live (despite being amazing) for over three years.  Why is that?

 because main member Aimee Argote quit music for the past three years. She posted a lengthy statement explaining on her hiatus on Instagram, which reads in part: “I left music because I felt unsafe, exhausted, unsupported, poor as shit, and my body was super, SUPER fucking broken. I had no plan, no health insurance (w/ chronic health issues), no stability, and I knew I would never have consistency in my life or in my relationships if I was going to keep touring as much as it would take for me to make a [pretty shitty] living.” She also later added, “Being talented isn’t enough. It simply isn’t enough to keep me or others safe in an industry that tries to destroy women, POC, and queers at every turn.”

But I didn’t know anything about this when Aimee came out on stage and started playing and singing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 2, 2019] Aldous Harding

Aldous Harding came through Philly back in April.  She played Johnny Brenda’s and I bought a ticket but was unable to go.

I was resigned to the idea that she wouldn’t be back in the area again for a long time.  So I was happily surprised to see that she was passing through town again (in my head she came from England, landed in the east and went west and then wended her way back east to go home again).

I also was happy that she was Underground Arts, which is a venue I really like.

I knew a couple of Aldous Harding songs, but I primarily wanted to see her because I’d heard that her live show was fantastic. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 2, 2019] Tiny Ruins

I had originally planned to see The Tallest Man on Earth at the Met Philly on this night.  But some time ago he cancelled the entire North American tour.  Which is a bummer, since I’d really like to see him.

However, that allowed me to go to that night’s other wonderful offering–Aldous Harding.

Tiny Ruins opened for Aldous.  Tiny ruins is a band from New Zealand led by songwriter Hollie Fullbrook.  In fact, for this tour, Tiny Ruins was only Fullbrook and her guitar.

She came out front and sang about a half dozen songs in her beautiful voice accompanied by her exquisite guitar playing.

She opened with “Tread Softly” and she admitted the words were written by W.B. Yeats.  But she promised that the words for all of the other songs were her own.

I enjoyed listening to Hollie speak, although her accent wasn’t as strong as I imagined it would be. (more…)

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