Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: December 7, 2018] Strand of Oaks

In 2016, Timothy Showalter played his second Strand of Oaks Winter Classic at Boot and Saddle.  I had a really great time.  Then I saw him and his full band later the next year at a bigger venue.  I more or less felt that I didn’t need to go to the winter classic again this year.  But thinking of how much fun it was (and the fact that Carl Broemel was opening) was a huge incentive.  Now I’ve been to one night of his second and fourth Winter Classics.

Showalter came up on stage and Broemel came with him.   Showalter is such a warm and gregarious person and you can see that he is genuinely happy to be there.  He was smiling pretty much for the whole show.

Although I like Strand of Oaks newer album Hard Love, I really like the previous album Heal.  So it was pretty awesome that he played the majority of songs from Heal. In fact. the first three songs were from that album

For a few songs Broemel played lead guitar while Showalter played rhythm and sang.  And the two guitarists took the opportunity to do some great jamming together.  Broemel also played pedal steel (which was really cool) for a couple of songs. (more…)


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[ATTENDED: December 7, 2018] Joe Pug

I had no idea who Joe Pug was before this show. In fact, I’ve never heard of him.  So it was quite a surprise to discover that he had Strand of Oaks open for him on a show when Strand of Oaks Pope Killdragon came out.  Since Strand of Oaks has grown in popularity, he was returning the opening slot favor.

Joe Pug sings folks songs and writes string solid lyrics.  His song “Bright Beginnings” was quite lovely.

Of course, the ones I remember best are the funny ones. Like the one he introduces as an opportunity to tell his wife (here he hemmed and hawed about the right way to say this, until someone warned him to be careful).  Finally he revealed that it was a way to tell his wife that he didn’t work in a bank, so money will likely be tight.  It was a delightfully amusing song. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 7, 2018] Carl Broemel

In 2016, I went to see the second Strand of Oaks Winter Classic at Boot and Saddle.  It was a wonderful night  I wasn’t even that big of a Strand of Oaks fan–I liked the latest album, but that’s all I knew.  The show was terrific and the whole night had a wonderful feeling of warmth and kindness.  Timothy Showalter is a super nice guy and very grateful for his success.

I didn’t think I needed to go again this year, but then I saw that one of the opening acts was Carl Broemel, guitarist for My Morning Jacket.  MMJ have been on my “must see again” list, but they haven’t played anywhere near us for a while.  So this seemed like the next best thing.

I was running late that night and assumed that Joe Pug was the first opener (from the way it was listed).  But when I got there I discovered that Carl was up first and had started already!  Gadzooks. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 30, 2018] Protomartyr

Protomartyr’s second album Under Color of Official Right was one of my favorite records of 2014.  I loved the noisy music that the band made while singer Joe Casey yelled his abrasive ideas at us.

They had an interesting look too, with the band looking like, as I heard described, three kids who called up their old hard-ass teacher to jam with them.

Casey looks not unlike some random drunk guy who felt compelled to get up on stage and just yell at people.  He always had a beer in his hand and had at least one in his coat pocket.  He stared us down, but also made a couple of funny jokes.

The crowd was absolutely devoted though and the slam dancing was fast and furious (despite the sign at the entrance which said there was to be done of that).  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 30, 2018] Preoccupations

Preoccupations is a band from Calgary Alberta Canada.  They were originally called Viet Cong. They put out a stunning album called Viet Cong and then met all kinds of grief for the name (shows cancelled, etc), so they changed it to Preoccupations.  It’s amazing that a band as minor and indie as them would get so much grief, but whatever.

The name is different but the sound is mostly the same–abrasive angular guitars, washes of synths and/or feedback and what I will describe as lead drums, because the power and rhythm of Mike Wallace often distinguishes the songs from each other.

But despite the abrasiveness, they are not just a band of noise.  There is melodicism in many parts (interspersed with great unusual sounds from both guitars).  Plus the lyrics are really good as well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 30, 2018] Rattle

When I got my ticket for Protomartyr, I had not heard of opening band Rattle, a duo from Nottingham England.

When I got to the stage I saw that there were three drums kits up there.  I assumed that there would be minimal time between bands playing, which was true.  One thing I didn’t realize right away is that the drumset that was set up closest to me actually had two stools, one on either side of the bass drum.

It turns out that Rattle is a duo that plays exclusively drums and percussion.  And they share the drum kit and cymbals.  It was mesmerizing and fascinating.  I especially loved near the end when each drummer hit the same cymbal. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 25, 2018] Korpiklaani

I’m not even sure now what inspired me to go see Korpiklaani.  I know I’d never heard of them before this month.  But I somehow saw their name and t heir genre and heard that their shows were just inspired lunacy.  The fact that they were from Finland made it even more interesting and exotic.  I watched a video or two and decided I’d like to see them.  And then, lo and behold they were playing in Philly in like two weeks.

So I rearranged my schedule and got a ticket.

The crowd at TLA was relatively small, but it was incredibly intense.  Nearly everyone there knew the band really well.  Some were in kilts, there were lots of beards.  And that small crowd even got a raging mosh pit going.

Some people feel that they are not really heavy metal, and I can see that.  Even singer Jonne Järvelä, said “Korpiklaani’s music would be seen as “old people’s music with heavy metal guitars” in Finland.

I really had no idea what to expect, so I was delighted when the band came out as a kind of Nordic Folk Village People.   (more…)

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