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Archive for the ‘The Fillmore Philadelphia’ Category

[POSTPONED: December 4, 2017] Morrissey

I have been a fan of The Smiths since my friend Garry introduced me to them back in the 80s.  I enjoyed much of Morrissey’s solo output (to varying degrees).  Obviously, I never saw The Smiths live.  I had never really considered seeing Morrissey live until my recent concert-going binge.

When he came around to Philly a couple of years ago I joked that he was probably going to cancel, so I didn’t bother getting a ticket.  But he didn’t cancel and my friends who went said he was great.

Over the past couple of months (alright, years) he’s been saying a bunch of really stupid-ass shit.  The kind of stupid-ass shit that should upset his fans, but probably no one else.  His fans are all a little to die-hard to care, though, so he’s sort of yelling into a vacuum.  Making headlines that people who hate him say “see he’s an ass,” and fans say, “oh never mind him.”

Well, I decided that this was the tour I’d go see him.  Fully cognizant of the fact that he might cancel the show.  And early on, he cancelled a show in L.A. because the temperature wasn’t right.

He played Madison Square Garden the night before this show and all was fine. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 12, 2017] Public Service Broadcasting

I first saw Public Service Broadcasting on their amazing Tiny Desk Concert.  I was blown away that J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth could make such complex and satisfying music with just the two of them (all the while projecting visuals behind them that matched the songs perfectly.

I instantly put them near the top of the list of bands that I wanted to see live.  But I also put them very high on my list of bands that I’d be unlikely to see live since I assumed they played primarily in the UK (whether they have recently played festivals).  Plus, how likely were they to come to the US to tour their most recent album which is all about coal mining in Wales (seriously–and it’s fantastic).

Well, when I saw that they were playing The Foundry, I bought a ticket immediately.  I figured that the show would either be unattended or sold out.  Well, sadly for the band, it was barely attended, but luckily for me, that meant I got to hang out right in front of the stage (and even meet the guys afterwards).

But even if there were only 100 or so people, the band didn’t act like the crowd was puny (because everyone there was really into it).  They played an amazing show and I’m thrilled to have seen it.

In the way of bands who don’t have roadies, all three guys were there to tune up their gear for about ten minutes before they ultimately left the stage and then came back on fresh and new.  It gave them time to put up the test pattern above.

I parked myself right in front of J. Willgoose, which was awesome seeing everything he did.  I joked with my friend Marcus (who has seen the band 6 times in the States and was going to Brooklyn the following night to watch them again) that I didn’t know where to stand.  J. Willgoose overheard and said it didn’t matter because they didn’t do anything interesting.  This was utterly false, as it was great watching everything that J. Willgoose did with guitars, keys, foot pedals, and so much more.  He even played percussion.  I only wish I had been a little to the left because I was actually so close, his keyboard was blocking some of the rest of the stage (the horrors). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 12, 2017] Fire is Motion

A few days before the Public Service Broadcasting show, I saw that a local NJ band (based in Union), Fire is Motion, was set to open for them.  I went to their bandcamp site and really liked what I heard.  I wrote to the band to see if they were going to be bringing any merch to the show, and Adrian wrote back that they were and to thank me for listening.

I was looking forward to seeing them, but when I arrived at like 8:05, they had already started–who knows how many songs I missed.  Such punctuality in rock!

But the remaining four or five songs were really good–bigger and more complex than their recorded sound. And the band sounded really tight. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 7, 2017] Mew [links to video shortly]

Back in 2005 or 2006, I read a review of Mew’s then new album And the Glass Handed Kites.  It was hailed as a minor masterpiece (and was also hailed as one of the worst album covers of the decade).  In addition to their complex melodies, what really won me over was singer Jonas Bjerre’s amazing soaring falsetto.

Mew is a Danish band and, remarkably, they have had the same lineup for almost their entire career (their guitarist Bo Madsen left in 2015).  So technically they are a three-piece, but live they were a five piece.

The best thing was how amazing Bjerre’s voice sounded–so much like the album, but even better.  And from the way he sang, it seemed effortless.

The band and venue were amazing and yet it was one of the less pleasant experiences I’ve had at a show.  Apparently Mew fans are all 6 foot 5.  And they are inclined to gather around the front of the stage essentially creating a six-foot barrier in front of the band.  That was bad, but what was worse was one of the die-hard fans.  I had heard a guy before  the show say that he thought there’s be 30 people at the show (there were maybe 150).  So did I. This is a pretty obscure band, and the fans are pretty intense.  So, the guy behind me sang along to every word.  Now I like this band but I don’t know every word–with Bjerre’s accent it’s not always apparent what he’s singing, anyhow.  But this guy knew every word and good for him.  But bad for the rest of us.  As I said, Bjerre’s voice is soaring and angelic.  And this guy’s was not.  Nor was it in tune.  And my was it ever loud.  At times he was just shouting (some of the vocals soar) in a way that sounded like he was just trying to drown out the band.  After he ruined my favorite song, “The Zookeeper’s Boy,” I had to leave my post in front and go further back (where more 6 foot people awaited but no one sang). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 7, 2017] Monakr

I had never been to The Foundry before. It is a small club (450 capacity) above The Fillmore in Philly. It’s a very nice place–couches, booths, a large bar and a really good sound system.

I had never heard of Monakr before this show.  They are a Chicago band, primarily synth.  I would have even said poppy, but there’s a few different sounds going on–some dance, some R&B and some alt music.

They played a short set (about 30 minutes) and it was all good.  The guys are all pretty good-looking, but that shouldn’t distract you.

Matthew Santos has a really powerful voice (he has the trappings of the pop star with the way he soars and sinks his high notes). And the way he moves his hands with the melody.  He also seemed very confident–well it turns out that he has sung on a Lupe Fiasco song and was nominated for two Grammies, so I guess that explains a lot. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 25, 2016] Trey Anastasio

I saw Phish for the first time last summer.  The show was a lot of fun and I understood why people wanted to go to every one of their shows.  I haven’t really listened to as much of Trey Anastasio’s solo music, although I do like his new album Paper Wheels.  But I thought it would be a great opportunity to see the front man in a small place–getting up close in a way I’d never be able to at a Phish show.

The ticket said the show would start at 7:30, I wanted to get there early to get in front.  I arrived later than I wanted to, but the show didn’t go on until 8, so I was a little annoyed.  And yet it also meant that I got to get up pretty close (right behind the front section which appeared to be the dance section of the floor).

I was really surprised at how little pot there was at the show.  I smelled a little, but for the most part it was more drinking than smoking (and there was much drunkenness at the end). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 14, 2017] The Decemberists

Two years ago Sarah and I went to The Decemberists concert at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. It was spectacular.  A great venue, a dignified crowd and a great set deign.  The only complaint we had at all was that we couldn’t stand up and dance (well, we could, but we try to be considerate of those around us).

We knew we’d want to see them again, so when they announced another show in Philly–this time at the Fillmore, we were super psyched.  We love the venue, the sound is great and best of all, you can dance.

I was telling Sarah that I have become spoiled by smaller venues like Union Transfer, which holds about 1,000 fewer people than the Fillmore, because I can get up really close.  Well, this show was sold out big time (we were packed in a little too tightly for my liking).  I wanted to try to get there as early as possible, but a few things led us to getting there about ten minutes later than I had hoped.  And as such we were just a little too far out for my liking–the tall people seemed to have a wall set up about five rows of people ahead of us and we just couldn’t break through it.

So that meant a lot of leaning side to side depending on who you wanted to watch and, of course, terrible pictures.  But wow did they sound great.  This tour was a little less elaborate than the previous one. There was no real “set,” just lights.  And that’s fine because the focus was on the music! (more…)

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