Archive for the ‘Union Transfer’ Category

[ATTENDED: January 24, 2020] Temples

2020-01-24 22.38.08_previewTemples were supposed to play Union Transfer back in November.  For some reason, their show was moved to this month and moved from Union Transfer to The Foundry (this is quite surprising considering one venue is a Live Nation property and the other isn’t).  In fact even though my Union Transfer ticket was honored, I had to go through a rather laborious process to get it switched to an official Live Nation ticket (glad I got there early).

I’m still not sure why the show was moved or why it was downgraded to a much smaller venue because Temples was fantastic and the fans were totally into it.

I loved Temples’ first album and hadn’t quite realized that they’d put out two albums since that one.  Their new sound is a bit more keyboardy/dancey instead of the big retro sound of the first album.  But the overall vibe (and excellent riffmaking) hasn’t changed from album to album. (more…)

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[NOT ATTENDED: November 10, 2019] Mattiel/Temples

I don’t know how often bands postpone their shows/tours.  I know sometimes visa problems keep bands out of the country.

Back in September I received this email about this show

Temples have postponed their fall tour and have moved their Philadelphia date to January 24th 2020. The show will no longer be taking place at Union Transfer but at The Foundry (29 E Allen St).

It seems really unusual that they would trade venues for a show. Especially since (I’ve learned a bit about venue politics) it is going from an independent venue to one owned by Live Nation. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 8, 2019] The New Pornographers

Back in 2000, The New Pornographers sprang out of Vancouver and I didn’t know anything about them.  Especially that the band was made up of all manner of Canadian musicians from other groups.  I only knew that the first single “Letter From an Occupant” was awesome and I listened to it all the time.

Over the last twenty years, The New Pornographers have released reliably excellent albums.  It often seemed like out of the blue, suddenly there was another amazingly catchy song from the band.  I’m not really sure why I never thought to see them live before.  I think missing the Neko Case show in January was an impetus to get me to the show if only to see her.  (Sometimes Neko doesn’t tour with them, so I’m pretty psyched she was here on this tour).

As often happens, when a band tours they have a new album out.  Somehow I had missed this new one entirely.  Of course, I needn’t have worried that it would be good, because of course it was.  I was just worried that I wouldn’t be familiar enough with the songs when they played them.

The lineup has remained remarkably consistent for a band made up of people who all have other bands that tour.  They’ve had a couple of drummers, but otherwise, no changes.  Except for one rather large one.  Dan Bejar, the fantastic lyricist and singer of the band Destroyer more or less officially left the band a couple of years ago. Although he is currently described as a former and possibly future member of the band. So no hard feelings. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 8, 2019] Lady Lamb

I didn’t know anything about Lady Lamb before this show.  Normally I look up a band before seeing them, but for some reason, I didn’t really investigate her at all.

Lady Lamb is the stage name of Aly Spaltro, (it was formerly Lady Lamb the Beekeeper).  She is a musician from Maine.

I really enjoyed her set a lot.  Her vocal style is direct and powerful (she can reach the back of a room with no problem) and yet the backing vocals added all kinds of interesting layers to her songs.

What I loved about her music was how unexpected it was.  I mean, yes, it was drums, guitar, keys and bass, but there were so many times when the music would briefly get loud or change directions for a few bars and then move on to something else.  As if her indy rock was battling a dose of prog. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 4, 2019] Kishi Bashi

This is now the fourth time we’ve seen Kishi Bashi.  The first time was magical–he was solo doing his amazing looping and violin playing.  The second time he opened for Guster and even played with them, which was thrilling.  The third time was at Union Transfer with a small band.  The sound was bigger and really fun.  And K crowd surfed.

This was the fourth time and his band was even bigger.  He had stage decor (what looked like grass and a giant crane in the background).  And his latest album is full of all kinds of instrumentation beyond the violin.  K. played guitar and keys as well as violin.

It also happened to be K’s birthday!  He had posted a few days earlier that it was his birthday at our show.  I contemplated bringing him something, but that seemed silly.

The band came out on stage with frequent collaborator Mike Savino (known as Tall Tall Trees) on bass, Ryan Oslance on drums, Dave Kirslis from Cicada Rhythm on guitar and the most wonderfully dressed musician on flute.  It took me a few songs before I learned that Pip the Pansy was the stunning flautist who kept her flute in a quiver on her back.  She was so much fun to watch and made incredible music.

Then K. came out.  K. always looks nice in a jacket with a bow tie.

He then proceeded to play “Marigolds” from the new album.  I listened to the new album a lot and really like it.  But somehow, I didn’t recognize this song until almost half way through it.  I don’t know if its because the band made it sound so much bigger or that I was so overwhelmed by everything happening, but I actually thought it was a new song until the chorus came back around.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 4, 2019] Cicada Rhythm 

The last time we saw Kishi Bashi at Union Transfer, his opening act was Twain.  We hated Twain.  Probably more in retrospect now that we’ve joked about him so often.  But Kishi Bashi talked about how much he loved Twain.  So we were a little concerned about who might be opening for this tour.

The band proved to be a duo called Cicada Rhythm.

They were a delightful couple, recently married.  Andrea DeMarcus plays upright bass (she is Julliard-trained) and and Dave Kirslis plays guitar (electric and acoustic).

They were sweet and adorable and very very sincere. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 15, 2019] Idles

I learned about Idles through NPR (of course).  I can recall Bob Boilen talking about their live show (I think at SXSW) and how amazing it was.  He said that they were very high on his must-see list.  And since then I have wanted to see them.  When they announced the show at Union Transfer I bought a ticket immediately.

I never really understand how bands become popular over here.  Most people I know have not heard of Idles.  And yet this show sold out very quickly.  I don’t understand why, given how many other bands that I think are bigger don’t sell out.  Maybe Philly just loves punk.

I know that Philly loves a mosh pit.  And boy did they ever get one.  Well, technically it wasn’t so much a mosh pit as a pogoing, bouncing, swarming mass of bodies.  And lots of crowd surfing–including from the band!

I knew a couple of Idles songs pretty well, but I didn’t know a lot of their songs.  However, I knew their basic style: lead vocalist Joe Talbot kind of speak/sings/screams lyrics of disaffection and the band alternates between quiet sections and full-on mayhem. (more…)

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