Philadelphia Weekly is proud to present a stellar lineup of talent that’s been hooked up for your benefit with three free open-air concerts in Rittenhouse Square on the last three Wednesdays of August. Now in it’s 23rd year, PW’s pulled together three sets of talent from a bunch of different genres, ages and walks of life. If there were to be a theme, this year it’s movement—none of these acts will keep you standing still. And with dope DJs spinning before and during duo sets, each night’ll be sure to send you off into the night loving your fair Philadelphia.
Let’s break down each week, shall we?
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14th
DJ Lil’ Dave, Leana Song, and Leonard “Doc” Gibbs
Lil’ Dave’s an Illvibe Collective mainstay who’s steeped in hip-hop, but that doesn’t mean he’s not well-versed in, from his bio, “house, broken beat, brazilia, acid jazz, funk and UK-inspired soul and rare groove.” Leana Song’s a Northern Liberties-born drum and music group inspired by Ghanaian and Afro-Cuban rhythms, but interpreted through American jazz and folk perspectives. Shawn Hennessey, the group’s ubertalented lead songwriter and percussionist, is also the brainchild behind Hennessey Bonfire, a world pop project. Then the freakin’ legendary Philly percussionist, Doc Gibbs—a decades-long veteran and Philadelphia funk ambassador around the globe—will blow minds. He got his name and start with the late great sax man Grover Washington, Jr. and has been employed by the likes of Erykah Badu, Eric Benet, Wyclef and Emeril Lagasse. (That’s right, the “Bam!” guy on the Food Network).
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21st
DJ Lee Jones, Valvin “V” Roane, and Alma “Lady Alma” Horton
Does Lee Jones need any explanation? The Temple alum’s been spinning parties all over the city since the ’80s and, with friends like King Britt and idols like Jazzy Jeff, specializes in reading crowds and giving them what they want. V has been working with our reigning soul princess, Jill Scott, on and off for about a decade, including backing her up with vocals on tours and on records. He’s also collabed with Anthony Hamilton, Musiq Soulchild, Justin Timberlake and Will Smith as a songwriter and producer – no slouch! Then, brace yourself for a lady who can really blow. Our beloved Lady Alma, who was discovered singing over tracks on the Silk City dance floor, has got a beautiful, full-throated set of pipes the city of Philly is proud to have anything to do with. In one of our favorite moments of hers in recent memory, she appeared on the amazing Kindred the Family Soul’s Love Has No Recession’s “Authentically You.” Man, it’s good, it feels like church, and she’s delivering a sermon. Her voice is truly a gift.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28th
Illvibe Collective’s Sonny James & DJ Skipmode, Mic Stewart and Cee Knowledge and the Cosmic Funk Orchestra
You know any Illvibe set’s going to be professional, knowledgeable and intuitive. Deeply steeped in classic hip-hop, they’ll start the night out right. No doubt Statik and Skipmode will spin some infectious jams like Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Tribe remixes. Thank goodness. Seems appropriate they’ll connect the dots on a night like tonight as Stewart, one of Philly’s most infamous up-and-coming emcees, takes the stage after winning the coveted Red Bull EmSee Competition, which was judged by Big K.R.I.T., David Banner and DJ Premier. Dude’s shared stages with Inspectah Deck, Schooly D, Raekwon and Black Thought, and tonight he’s gonna give us all he’s got. And how awesome is this conclusion? One of our favorite hip-hop groups of all time, Digable Planets, spawned great careers for all involved, including Doodlebug aka Cee Knowledge. Doodlebug’s project, the Cosmic Funk Orchestra, was founded in 2000 but put on hold for some Planets reunion dates; they got rejuvenated when Cee met drummer/engineer Gary Dann. Dann and Doodlebug started playing in the studio, and the CFO was reborn after Dann introduced Cee to guitarist Adam Charlton (reborn Adam Twelve).
And we can’t say who, because that’d spoil the surprise, but you won’t want to miss the night’s special guest. Just sayin’ — you were warned.
All the shows kick off in Rittenhouse Square at 7pm—our stellar DJ lineup starts rocking at 5, though—and close up shop at 9pm sharp. And they’re free.