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Archive for the ‘Johnny Brenda’s’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 10, 2018] Gruff Rhys

Super Furry Animals was one of my favorite bands of the 1990s.  Their music was great and I loved that they were Welsh.  It’s unfathomable that some of their singles weren’t huge here.  Even their all-Welsh album Mwng is catchy as anything.

Since the mid 2000s they’ve been in a different musical space (and on hiatus).  Lead singer Gruff (pronounced Griff) Rhys has released several solo albums and just recently released the album Babelsberg.

I hadn’t heard any of Babelsberg, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to see Gruff live for the first time.  (I saw SFA back in the 90s, but this would be very different).

Gruff was supposed to come to Johnny Brenda’s a few years ago (he explained), but Visa issues caused him to miss the Philly date.  That show was supposed to be solo, but for this show he had a four piece band: bassist Stephen “Sweet Baboo” Black and Osian Gwynedd on piano (who I could never see because he was behind Gruff, but whom I talked to after the show).  And he had Kliph Scurlock from the Flaming Lips on drums (!).  Kliph was selling the merch (while the other guys were talking Welsh backstage) and I chatted with him for a bit.  He has moved to Wales! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 10, 2018] Lorkin O’Reilly

Lorkin O’Reilly is a Scottish musician who has been living in upstate New York for the past while.  He opened for Gruff Rhys.

Other than the fact that he worked construction a bit (and wrote a song about his boss), I don’t know much more about him.

However, because Philadelphia loves to start construction projects before adequately preparing the drivers for said projects, I wound up being a little late to the show.  I don’t think I missed much from Lorkin (maybe a song and a half?) and what I heard was excellent.

Lorkin is a wonderful guitar player.  He has an excellent fingerpicking style and really creative use of capos and tuning. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville

I have been a fan of Kid Koala since the early 2000s.  He’s not a DJ so much as a magician on the turntable.  He is able to make vinyl do amazing things.  His hands are fast, his timing is impeccable and he uses puppets too!

But I had no idea that his live show would be so much fun.  I mean, sure it was called Vinyl Vaudeville, but could it live up to his calling it “the silliest show on earth?”  Well, I dispute the silliness aspect because silly implies that it’s not also awesome, which this definitely was.

So what exactly does a turntablist do so it’s not just a guy scratching records?

Well, primarily he uses props.  Almost every song has a visual element.  In fact the very first song started out in total darkness with a black light and a sloth puppet.  I don’t know what the song was called or if it had anything to do with sloths, but it was fun to watch.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Adira Amram

I hadn’t heard of Adira Amram, but Kid Koala assured us we would be laughing our butts off during her very short set.

And her set was very short, only about 20 minutes.

She came out by herself in the glittery gold lame top and pink spandex pants.

She had a keyboard and she proceeded to get the crowd hyped.

She pressed a key and the sound of the end of a record skipping began to play.  Over and over.  She waved her hand back and forth getting us amped up to that staticy sound.  It grew funnier and funnier. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] DJ Jester

I was pretty excited to experience Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville: Floor Kids Edition, even if I didn’t really know what I was going to experience.

The traffic and parking situation was terrible around Johnny Brenda’s and I was sure that I missed the opener, DJ Jester.  He was supposed to go on at 8, and I didn’t get into the club until about 8:45.

Well, imagine my surprise to discover that he had not even gone on yet.

Kid Koala came out and told us that DJ Jester was the DJ at his little brother’s wedding and after that night, Koala knew that he’d have to bring this Texas-based DJ along on an opening slot.

So DJ Jester got behind the turntables and basically DJ’d a 45 minute set of music. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 16, 2018] Palehound

I saw Palehound three months ago at Johnny Brenda’s.  This may be the shortest span between concerts for any band that I’ve seen.

Last time they were opening for Weaves.  For this show Palehound was opening of Courtney Barnett.

I was very excited to see them again because I enjoyed their last set so much.

Guitarist/songwriter Ellen Kempner, is a great front woman–she blasts the guitar and is really great at her solos.

The set was similar to what they played last time, with a different slow song and no “My Pet Carrot.”  But it was full of raging rockers that got us pumped for Courtney. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 24, 2018] Bit Brigade

I had never heard of Bit Brigade, but I saw an ad in Johnny Brenda’s for a band who would be playing music from The Legend of Zelda and I was very intrigued.

Clark and I have been to see Symphonic Zelda twice, so I thought it would be interesting to hear a rock version of it.

But as I investigated, I saw that they also had a “Player One” who played the game while the band played.  What was going on here?

It turns out that, as bassist Luke Fields explained to us:

Noah is going to play The Legend of Zelda as fast as he can.  And we are going to play the soundtrack as loud as we can.

(more…)

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