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Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 6, 2017] Alvvays

Sarah and I were really excited to see Alvvays.

But holy cow were we surprised that they sold out!  (And good for them).

I had no idea that people even knew that much about them.  But the sold out crowd were huge fans as people were singing along left and right.

I joked with Sarah that between their two albums, they had a total of 60 minutes of music, so their set couldn’t be all that long.   I had imagined that they would play all nineteen of their released songs, but that was not to be (they left out one slow song from the new album and three songs from their debut).

I was also pretty excited that Nap Eyes fans seemed to be quite short.  But by the time Alvvays came on, some of the taller fans pushed forward.  This didn’t hinder us too much, but it was still a little disappointing to have to weave around them. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 6, 2017] Nap Eyes

Sarah and I were excited to see Alvvays again.  We saw them open for The Decemberists and it is always great to see a band as a headliner–especially when you can get up nice and close.

We hadn’t heard of Nap Eyes but we wanted to make sure we arrived early to get a good spot.  And I’m so glad we did.  Nap Eyes is a four piece from Halifax, Nova Scotia consisting of vocalist Nigel Chapman, guitarist Brad Loughead, bassist Josh Salter and drummer Seamus Dalton.

Between the tone of the band and Chapman’s vocal delivery, there was a distinct Velvet Underground vibe.   But II joked it was like they had given up the heroin.  Because the songs had a faster tempo, a number of time changes, and some rocking guitar solos. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 5, 2017] Tash Sultana

WXPN starting playing Tash Sultana’s “Jungle” gosh… over a year ago.  I liked the song fine, but it was as I learned more about her–that she plays the entire song–every single sound–herself and she does it live using looping pedals that I became really interested in her.

I was totally blown away when I saw her Tiny Desk Concert and realized that she was an amazing guitarist and so much more.

I decided then that it would be very cool to see her live.  So when I ordered my ticket for her show back in June, I had no idea that anyone else had ever heard of her.  Much less that she would sell out the venue within a week.  Realize at this point she has only released one official EP (and has released dozens of YouTube videos–which is where her fanbase is).

Tash came out and started playing guitar.  She played two songs that she built step by step.  First playing some chords that she looped and then adding some solos which may or may not get looped in.  Then a riff or drums or various other percussive sounds (including beatboxing) and within a couple of minutes she had a complete backing track (usually very danceable) to sing over. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 5, 2017] Pierce Brothers

This new construction on the way to Philly is really cramping my style.

I got to Union Transfer about 15 minutes late (unavoidable this time).  And that delay meant I missed some of the best supporting act that I’d never heard of before.

Pierce Brothers are Australian twins Jack and Patrick Pierce (that’s Jack on the left).  I saw three or four songs–walking in during a rollicking “Genevieve” that had the crowd going utterly nuts.

I don’t know what the crowd (which was quite large when I arrived) was like when the guys first started, but we were eating out of their hands by the time of this song.

During “Genevieve,” Jack was on electric guitar while Patrick played acoustic and sang lead.  Jack was jumping around and inciting us all to sing along and have a great time. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 28, 2017] Torres

I saw Torres play Union Transfer about four months ago.  She opened for Frightened Rabbit and I really enjoyed her set.  So I was pretty excited to see her at Boot & Saddle, where she was headlining.

I didn’t realize it was the first night of the tour for her new album Three Futures–she claimed to be very nervous.

It was quite a different show and Torres herself, Mackenzie Scott, was quite different.  At Union Transfer, she seemed kind of distant and aloof.  And it was a really effective persona–she really wowed the crowd who may not have been there to see her.  But at this show some of that veneer dropped away–there were some jokes and some smiles.

Torres’ previous album, Sprinter has some great noisy guitar stuff.  The new one has more synth and a much more spare, but interesting, guitar. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 28, 2017] Aphra

Up until about a week before this show, there was no support act listed for Torres.  And then a few days before the show, it was announced that The Dove & The Wolf, a Philadelphia band, would be the support.  I’ve heard rumblings about this band, and I was looking forward to seeing them for myself.

Then I saw that they were starting the tour on her second night, not our night.  A day or so later it was revealed that our opening act was another Philly musician named Aphra.

My night was surprisingly hectic getting to the show, so I walked in a few songs into Aphra’s set.

She had an electric guitar and was singing along to it.  The volume didn’t balance well for some reason and I didn’t really like the song all that much.

But after she took off the guitar she switched to a more electronic sound and for those last two or three songs, she sounded great. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 22, 2017] X

The very first CD I ever bought was by X (More Fun in the New World).  My college friend Anita was a big fan (I’d never heard of them).  When I got my first CD player, rather than buying music I already had on vinyl (why would anyone do that?), I bought this band that I really liked.  That was in 1987.

So, while X was celebrating their 40th Anniversary, for me it was a 30 year anniversary.

Either way, I was really excited that all four original members were playing: John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Billy Zoom, and D.J. Bonebreak.

My friend Kelli told me about this show and I was instantly intrigued about going.  And boy am I glad I did.  The band sounded great.  The crowd was really into it and I got to hear a bunch of songs that I really love.

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