On Saturday, April 27th, the Philadelphia Science Festival gathered a group of experts, educators, artists and performers at Laurel Hill Cemetery to explore a zombie outbreak from the point of view of an actual scientist. Dr. Steven Scholzman, Harvard University professor and author of the book, Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse, gave a talk about what it means to be dead—and how a zombie virus, if possible, could arise.
On Saturday, April 27th, Broad Street was flooded with artists, electronic dinosaurs, acrobats, circus acts and dancers for the PIFA Street Fair.
Below is a gallery of photos from the day’s festivities. Click on any photo to make it larger and learn more.
For some music geeks, it’s practically a holy day. Loads and loads of labels and bands release, re-release and reissue all kinds of obscure stuff. Let’s be real: Most of it’s on vinyl. And for music nerds out of the vinyl loop, you’ll probably be sorely disappointed. Sure, there’s a bunch of discs and box sets for your purchasing pleasure, but this is a day for the unconventional lo-fi music nerd who’s convinced that digital music and CDs are the last medium for sonic consumption.
First, let’s just quickly plug some of our local bastions of non-iTunes brick-and-mortar havens of shopping for hard copy tuneage for this Saturday’s Record Store Day.
Long In The Tooth (2027 Sansom Street) has been posting little blips of Record Store Day arrivals via their Facebook page, like this one: “more just showed up… Light quantities of Double Dagger lp, Burger Records Cassette, Kill Rock Stars Cassette, De la soul 3 ft high 3xlp, Komeda Lp, Captain Beefheart Lp very limited!!, Beak 10″, Eminem Infinite lp, Frank Ocean Nostalgia lp, Half Japanese Lp Boxset very limited!, Jay z/Kanye watch the throne 2xlp, probably more to follow.”
AKA Music (27 N 2nd Street) has a slew of RSD releases along with this great little in-store performance lineup, also via their Facebook page: “AKA MUSIC & PHILEBRITY PRESENT ***RECORD STORE DAY 2013!*** WITH PERFORMANCES FROM: RESTORATIONS (SET TIME: 4PM) (http://restorations.bandcamp.com/) BRIDGE UNDERWATER (SET TIME: 3PM) (http://bridgeunderwater.com/) HEYWARD HOWKINS (SET TIME: 2PM) (http://heywardhowkins.bandcamp.com/) MIKELE EDWARDS (SET TIME: 1PM) (https://soundcloud.com/medwards) AND THANKS TO NARRAGANSETT FOR THE POUNDERS, BRAH!”
Repo Records (538 South Street) actually has a great lil’ website/blog, plus they’re giving away sweet screen-printed posters, and there’ll be cheap beers: “For Record Store Day this Saturday (April the 20th) to our first 100 customers we’re gonna be giving away a 14×17 limited edition, 3 color silk screened poster! Inspired by a movie poster and made by hand these babies are all yours if you’re lucky enough to get here in time. So come on down and get some awesome records (the Big Star record…) and some free stuff!”
Those are just a few of our favorites. Here’s a more complete list with some links to their respective websites of area record stores participating. In the meantime, here are some picks for exciting RSD-specific moments of release:
A dozen finds, if you can find em’, via Pitchfork’s The Top 45 Releases of Record Store Day 2013:
The Black Keys/the Stooges: “No Fun” split 7″
The Stooges’ classic backed by the Black Keys’ cover on tye-died orange vinyl.
Brian Eno/Grizzly Bear: Nicolas Jaar remix 12″
Eno’s “LUX 2″ and Grizzly Bear’s “Sleeping Ute”, both remixed by Jaar.
GZA: Liquid Swords Chess Box
[Get on Down]
Two LPs of the original album, two LPs of the instrumentals packaged in a 12×12 box that doubles as a chess set (!!!!!!!!! – our emphasis). It also comes with a sticker pack.
Stephen Malkus and Friends: Can’s Ege Bamyasi 12″
Recorded at last year’s Week-End Fest in Cologne, this features Malkmus, backed by Cologne band Von Spar, covering Can’s 1977 album in its entirety. Pressed on green vinyl, comes with a Japanese resealable mylar bag.
MGMT: “Alien Days” cassette
Cassette single of a new track from the band’s upcoming album. Comes with digital download of the song.
Public Enemy: Planet Earth 12″ picture disc
A greatest hits compilation re-recorded and mastered for vinyl to celebrate their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Rhye: “Open” 12″
The original, the instrumental, and a live version available on vinyl for the first time.
Shearwater and Sharon Van Etten: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” 7″
A cover of the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty track along with a new song called “A Wake for the Minotaur.” For more Sharon Van Etten, Jagjaguwar is releasing the “We Are Fine” 7″.
Titus Andronicus: Record Store Day 12″
Local Business track “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter” and two new songs: “(I’ve Got A) Date Tonight” and “The Dog”.
Various Artists: Astralwerks: 20/20 box
Exclusive and rare tracks from 20 artists to celebrate the label’s 20-year history, all pressed onto flexi discs. Features Kraftwerk, Hot Chip, Air, the Chemical Brothers, Royksopp, Empire of the Sun, Fatboy Slim and more.
Various Artists: Kill Rock Stars: The Compilations cassette box set
[Kill Rock Stars]
Three out-of-print cassette samplers reissued. Features music by Nirvana, Bikini Kill, Smog, Melvins and many more.
The White Stripes: Elephant
10th anniversary reissue. One LP pressed on red and black vinyl, the other pressed on white.
10 Things We Saw, Heard, And Learned At Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival At Madison Square Garden Last Night
This is a fairly atypical ‘10 Things’ for a number of reasons: this show wasn’t in Philadelphia (it was a 4.5-hour seated Madison Square Garden show), I’m writing it on a Bolt Bus (though, not the first time one was written in transit to/from New York City), I’m writing with limited internet access and therefore writing without the power to provide tons of researched insight, and the faint odor of bus toilet is drifting in and out of my nostrils. But anyway, my dad and his best high school buddies planned to get together for this fourth installment of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival and I got to tag along. Here are 10 things I saw, heard and learned:
1. The Crossroads Rehabilition Centre in Antigua is an important effort to Clapton, who’s no doubt experienced and overcome addiction in his lengthy career. The Centre, founded by Clapton and Richard Conte (CEO of the Priory Hospitals Group of London), and focuses on drug and addiction rehabilitation in a holistic manner in the idyllic environs of the Carribean. It’s amazing how he put together this humongous roster of guitarists to join him on stage and to support a pretty big-ticket sold out weekend at MSG. The whole effort from Clapton also completely informs my review of his most recent record, Old Sock (”Sounds Like: Well, he’s 67 and still playing, I guess; these Raggae and surfy versions of Otis Redding and Peter Tosh are sunny and stonery, dude’s chilling hard. Free Association: Slowhand Lebowski loves Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats.”) No disrespect!
2. Clapton opened the show promptly at 7:30pm (ticketing information advised concert-goers be in their seats by 7:20pm) with “Driftin’” (or “Driftin’ Blues”), a delicately acoustic, soft opening. After one song, he did “Tears in Heaven” and all I could think about was how devastating this song once was a result of his stirring “Unplugged” version of it that’s over 20 years old already. Then he did “Wonderful Tonight,” a beautiful and classic old romantically slow elegy to the beauty of his date at a party. The crowd, nearly 50% sat, sang along enthusiastically. A lovely mom/grandma-type tried to clap along and did so on the off beats; not unpleasantly, just sayin’. More on this later. Vince Gill came out and did “Lay Down Sally” with him and it was totally lovely.
3. Yup, it was an old crowd. I felt extremely young and that felt, fine, a little nice. There were lots of bad ponytails (on dudes), greyheads, and couples in their 50s and 60s. It was actually kind of nice. A relatively sophisticated change of pace from getting bumped and pushed around at, say, Union Transfer, the Troc or the TLA. Yet, the same frustrating tropes were still there: folks moving around the whole show, going to the bathroom, buying extra-expensive beers (Bud and Bud Light bottlers were $9), and trying to take tons of pictures on their smartphone. A fascinating thought I had that stays with me hours later is, what kind of band or artist would galvanize an MSG full of people my age in 30 years? I can’t even start answering that. This is a generation that loved music on vinyl, on eight-tracks and before the internet existed. They made out in backseats of cars to these songs and danced at proms to these guitar-heavy hits. Will YouTube hits determine a My Generation version of this roster?
4. Booker T. & The MG’s came on next with an introduction from Dan Akroyd, who played emcee for the night. They did “Green Onions” and everything; he was joined by Matt “Guitar” Murphy,” Keb’ Mo’ and a handful of others and delivered some gems. The STAX legend sounded pretty stellar, and for that matter, the sound for the whole night was crisp and strong. There was an amazing rotating stage with a screen of LED panels that lifted, and the circular stage spun to allow for tech to set up and soundcheck while another set was performed.
5. Akroyd introduced Robert Craig, and shortly thereafter, Craig introduced B.B. King. Holy shit. Dude’s 87. He hobbled onstage and into a seat and was quickly left, only to look around for help because his guitar wasn’t plugged in. Man, that dude can still man-handle a guitar AND sing like the dickens. It was amazing watching his side-positioned mic pick up his singing because he was barely aiming at the mic head. He sang “I don’t care if you’re young or old / You only live once / And when you’re dead you’re done.” Amen, dude. He did “Sweet Sixteen” with such a smile on his face, it was contagious. It was at that moment that I thought ‘Man, it’d be cool if B.B. was my grandaddy.’ Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever see B.B. King live. His blues is real, deep blues. When he sings “Nobody loves me / Nobody sees me here,” you’re like ‘Damn. That’s the blues.’
6. Doyle Bramhall II was the next feature and he was joined by Citizen Cope and Gary Clark Jr. After one song, he brought on a beautifully enchanting young lady to provide a guest vocal and I can’t figure out her name, even though I thought I heard Ellis Smith. She was in a beautiful white sheath dress and her hair was perfectly unkempt and bounced as she felt every note and emoted like a thoughtful chanteuse. It prompted the thought – ‘Jeese, this is a boy’s club, isn’t it?’ Not a single female walked on stage to shred. My dad even said ‘A young lady! I’d love to see her pick up a guitar but it looks like she’s gonna sing.’ It prompted a brainstorm: Who’d be invited if a female were to pick up a guitar on this hallowed stage? Bonnie’s been at a Crossroads before, so she’d be the #1 nominee. Maybe Sheryl Crow (but she and Clapton have a past – remember “My Favorite Mistake”?). Chrissie Hynde, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, or Emmylou Harris? In a way more and unlikely modern vein, I thought maybe Marnie Stern, St. Vincent, Carrie Brownstein or PJ Harvey. But the theme of the night was way bluesy with a focus on virtuoso skills. It just would’ve been nice to see some estrogen on stage.
7. John Mayer proved to be a shockingly fitting addition to the night, and, as it turns out, was one of the few four-Crossroads performers. At this point, we’d been in our seats for over three hours. He did a beautiful version of a favorite Mayer track of mine, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” and wowed with his guitar skills and head of hair. The man is handsome. His most currently popular special guest was Keith Urban, and together they did “Don’t Let Me Down,” an old Beatles staple. It really got the crowd going, again, an accomplishment in that it was one of the first songs to elicit a standing, rowdy round of applause. It was great energy.
8. Perhaps the most memorable set of the night came courtesy of Buddy Guy, who was joined by Robert Randolph and his protege, an astoundingly-talented 14-year-old guitar prodigy named Quinn Sullivan. The energy was just sick; the most thrilling of the night. Mouths were agape and looks were shared that expressed ‘Can you believe this kid?’ It wasn’t just the kid, though, Guy was on fire. His blues are deep and dark, too, and came from a similar place that B.B.’s came from; dudes have been through A LOT and everyone wasn’t necessarily shocked but definitely wowed by the prowess of these oldheads.
9. The night finished off with a lively set from the Allman Brothers. Dan Akroyd introduced them as lords of vinyl, beacons of southern and blues rock for four decades. We’d also been in our seats for four hours when they took the stage. They nailed their set, though, doing “Ain’t My Cross to Bear,” “Statesboro Blues,” and an AWESOME version of “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” with Eric Clapton, an amazing Derek and the Dominos song. When “Whipping Post” began, the crowd started to shuffle out. It totally ripped.
10. I didn’t know what I was going into on my Bolt Bus ride to the city on Friday afternoon, and as my bus crept through early evening Friday traffic up Eighth Avenue, and I hemmed and hawed over the inching traffic, I wouldn’t have been so angry had I known I was about to see the lineup of a lifetime. B.B. King and Buddy Guy, y’all!
* Photos c/o the Fest’s Facebook page. Mine were terrible.
You may’ve heard about Jay-Z and Beyonce’s fifth wedding anniversary trip to Cuba and the ensuing mini-scandal brought on by two Republicans calling for an investigation into the legality of the trip. We know that tourism and traveling to the Communist island’s restricted for Americans, but why The First Couple of Hip-Hop are being questioned for their sponsored and planned-out trip is pretty weird. Then, this morning, on SoundCloud, Jay-Z unleased a friggen’ nasty response called “Open Letter” and It. Is. Sick.
And maybe it was Stacey Dash’s dumbass tweet that sent Jay over the edge (probably not). But Dash’s used her Twitter to express lame views in the past, including a Mitt Romney endorsement and other inane conservative tidbits in 140 characters or less (often with less-than-savory grammatical attention to detail, one of the many dangerous pitfalls of trying to communicate something serious via Tweets).
Here’s what she tweeted:
Here are some of they lyrics from Hova’s venomous track addressing many different kinds of haters:
“Politicians never did shit for me/ Except lie to me, distort history/ They wanna give me jail time and a fine– Fine, let me commit a real crime/ Obama said, ‘Chill, you’re going to get me impeached’/ You don’t need this shit anyway, chill with me on the beach,” and “I woulda moved the Nets to Brooklyn for free/ Except I made millions off you fucking dweebs/ I still own the building, I’m keeping my seats/ You buy that bullshit, you better keep your receipts.”
The Swizz Beats and Timbaland-produced track is pretty much straight-up fire. And the fact that it seems like he whipped it up in a matter of days is an even more impressive feat. Let’s hope it slays a thousands-strong crowd in Philly this summer with it if he decides to get on the mic at his Made In America festival on the Parkway.
With only four more performances left, you don’t have much time to debate whether or not you want to book yourself a ticket. So allow me to help guide you in this decision as quickly as I can…
Pro: The troupe’s signature choose-your-own-adventure narrative structure is incredibly innovative and fun. And unless you’ve seen an Applied Mechanics performance, chances are, it’s unlike any other theater experience you’ve had. The audience is free to roam the space as they choose and wherever they go, they become engulfed in the action.
Con: This “narrative” is convoluted to the point of unintelligible. It’s sorta like being led on a wild goose chase only to find out there was never an actual goose for you to chase—maybe a mutated duck, but no goose.
Pro: Every single member of the show’s whopping 26-actor ensemble is spectacular. With this having been my second or third time seeing several of the performers, I’m convinced they don’t get nearly as much praise as they deserve. Seriously, a bomb could have gone off and not a single one would have broke character.
Con: You may leave with a headache. There’s a lot happening around you and between trying to process all of it, making sure you’re not in a performer’s way and occasionally referring to the provided program/map/guide, it can be quite overwhelming.
Pro: They feed you chocolate. If you happen to be following the right character(s) at the right time, you might even get a little wine.
Con: As the explained by its subtitle (“The Epic Feats of Notable Persons in Europe After the Revolution”), the show revolves around the Napoleonic Empire and the French Revolution. I don’t know about you, but a lesson in 19th century European history doesn’t exactly elicit a great deal of enthusiasm.
Pro: For better or worse, you’re going to be enthralled. And for $15 bucks, I think it’s worth finding out yourself.
8pm. Through April 13. $10-$15. Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American St.
The 2013 Made In America Lineup Is Being Announced This Afternoon Via Spotify And, Well, It’s Not Bad
Sweet baby Jesus, Nine Inch Nails. Beyonce. Kendrick. Phoenix. BEYONCE. Wait, Public Enemy!?!
We knew the lineup was being unveiled today, but didn’t realize that it was painfully slowly via a Spotify playlist. Interesting technique, Jay. Not mad. By tomorrow, I’m sure all the deets will be solidified.
Wanna get mad? Read Dan McQuade’s PhillyMag blog post entitled “The Made in America Festival Is Going to Be Lame Again: It’s a Big Corporate Music Fest, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Here’s how to make it fun for Philadelphians.” It’s one really maddening piece of. Something.
Nine Inch Nails
The Gaslight Anthem
Schoolboy Q (and maybe A$AP Rocky)*
Walk the Moon
Kendrick Lamar (and maybe Drake)
Fitz and the Tantrums
Queens of the Stone Age