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Archive for the ‘World Cafe Live’ Category

[POSTPONED: May 22, 2020] Mew

indexI saw Mew a few year ago at The Foundry. I was really, really excited about the show because in addition to really liking Mew, I knew that they would put on a good show.

But the show was utterly spoiled by the guy behind me who sang every word right into my ear.  This would irritate me under any circumstance, but when the singer of the band has a gorgeous angelic falsetto and the guy behind you… does not, it was a terrible experience.

I actually had to move away from him about half way through the show which made it better but put me in a much worse spot.

This tour is a the 15th anniversary of the first Mew album that I heard from them: And The Glass Handed Kites, the album I know best.  I was really looking forward to this show especially because the venue will be great one.

I held out hope that this one might not get cancelled, since it was so far into May, but it was pretty inevitable.

I sure hope it can be rescheduled.

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[ATTENDED: February 27, 2020] Sarah Harmer

I don’t remember when I first heard Sarah Harmer.

I think it was back in 2000 with her first album You Were Here.  (She has an album that she recorded before it but it wasn’t officially released until later).

You Were Here had the song “Basement Apt.” which was a reasonably big hit.  I also checked out her previous band Weeping Tile who are unjustly overlooked.

Harmer put out consistently great records, including I’m a Mountain, a bluegrass album that is totally awesome.  It took her five years to release the next album, Oh Little Fire, because she became an environmental activist and performed music mostly in guest roles.

Now it’s been ten years since Fire and she is back with a new album called Are You Gone.

She told us that this was the second night of her tour–a warm up for the big times in Canada.  Sarah had a four piece band with her.  She introduced them twice and I couldn’t make out a single name in the bunch.  But I was able to look them up. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 27, 2020] Chris Pureka

I had not hear of Chris Pureka before this set, but they really blew me away.

Pureka has been making music for about twenty years and they have a fantastic stage presence.

Chris is never rushed, calmly getting things set up between each song and maybe chatting with us–or not.

For the first song, “Holy,” they played acoustic guitar and the song was really quite pretty.  But it was when Pureka turned away from the microphone and yelled a “Hey!” that I really paid attention to how they were singing.  Pureka’s voice is quiet, but when they did those “Hey”s their voice was loud and filled the room.  Fantastic.

Introducing “Tinder” Pureka says that they wrote the song back in 2009 when tinder had an entirely different (and nicer) meaning.

One of the cooler things was Pureka’s use of an electronic drum pad.  What I especially liked what their sparing use of it.  Because whenever that cavernous echoing drum jumped in to keep the beat, it made the song so much bigger.  But the spare use of it meant that it gave the song parts some extra oomph.

Pureka played acoustic and electric guitar and for the fourth song, they sat down (after joking about how the microphone was going to fall into their lap for sure).  The reason for sitting was because in addition to the electronic drum, there was also a tambourine and Chris used both feet to add the drum and a tambourine to these songs. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 30, 2020] Nada Surf

I’ve been a fan of Nada Surf for a really long time.  I was so excited to see them live two years ago (on the 20th anniversary tour for Let Go).  That was two sets and a ton of music.

I was pretty excited that t hey were coming back to World Cafe Live to tour for their soon to be released album.

I arrived just in time for the opening act and was really surprised at how empty the venue was (last time it was packed to the rafters).  By the time Nada Surf came on, though, it was pretty crowded, so that’s good.  Nevertheless I was right up front.  So close that I could read Matthew’s water bottle.

I assumed that the last show was so comprehensive (all of Let Go, plus a full set of 20 songs) that there wouldn’t be a lot of difference in this show.  And I didn’t mind at all, because there’s hardly a dud in their entire musical output).

Amazingly they played NINE new songs at this show (including three brand new ones).  And as I was comparing the setlists, I couldn’t believe some of the songs they didn’t play last time–and that show was so good I didn’t even miss these terrific songs.  Well done, Nada Surf! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 30, 2020] Aaron Lee Tasjan

I knew Aaron Lee Tasjan from a Tiny Desk Concert that I really enjoyed.  He was playing songs from his then new album Karma for Cheap which had a great psychedelic kind of sound to it.  I thought that he and his band played really well together and I was looking forward to seeing them.

So I was a little bummed to find out that he was playing solo (and acoustic!).

But it turns out that Tasjan is a great songwriter and while I definitely preferred the sound he got on the album, I enjoyed listening to his lyrics as he played acoustic guitar. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 29, 2019] Thin Lips

I had heard a Thin Lips track on NPR and really liked it.  So I decided to get to Philly Music Fest in time to see them.

Traffic was tough and I arrived at around 7:58.  They went on at 7:55 and as I walked in I heard them playing already.

I suspect I missed the beginning of the first song–although I could hear it as I was checking in.

But the audience was scattered around (and left a very large space in front of the stage), so I was able to see just fine.

Enough about me, because Thin Lips was fantastic.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 29, 2019] Philly Music Fest

For those counting, this makes four concerts in four nights, which is frankly insane (and thanks to my poor wife who tolerates such excesses).

But the whole reason I wanted to go this evening was to see Man Man (more in their own post).

But, in fact, the entire Philly Music Fest was pretty fantastic.  I would have certainly gone to three of the four nights if I could have.  This little festival is a testament to the amazing music that Philadelphia is producing, and they didn’t even include two of my favorite Philly bands, Mannequin Pussy and Control Top.

The first night I actually didn’t know any of the bands.

  • Wednesday 9/25 at Milkboy (a venue I haven’t been to yet)
  • Secret American
  • Sixteen Jackies
  • Ceramic Animal

The second night was an amazing line up! (more…)

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