Sunday, August 30, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2015, 1:03 PM
Michael Rault on "Living Daylight" album cover. (Pitch Perfect PR)

Call it fate, but Michael Rault has taken up residence in the same areas as two of Canada’s most prized musical exports: Nickelback and Justin Bieber.

Worry not, young listeners — he doesn’t sound like either. A colorful blend of psychedelia, garage and surf rock, with just a dash of ‘50s rock ‘n roll/blues groove, the only similarities Rault and his Canadian counterparts share are old zip codes.

Like many rolling stones, Rault is still on the move this summer, introducing his strain of guitar-lead rock to Philadelphia audiences, performing at Boot and Saddle on Thursday.

POSTED: Friday, July 10, 2015, 3:00 AM
Bridie Monds-Watson, a.k.a. SOAK, plays in Philadelphia for the first time on Saturday. (Photo by Joshua Halling)

Bridie Monds-Watson sounded tired. She was calling from Copenhagen, Denmark, where it was around 9:20 p.m., and she’d just gotten offstage at the Roskilde Festival. The 19-year-old musician is in high demand overseas, yet American audiences largely are still getting to know her.

The Northern Ireland-based singer-songwriter, who goes by SOAK onstage, fought off yawns as she shared tales of her experiences all over the world: Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain. She gets her first true taste of America this week on a six-date headlining tour that includes her first Philly gig, tomorrow at Boot & Saddle.

Few 19-year-olds have touring with Chvrches and Tegan and Sara on their resumes, or a debut CD — in her case, the emotional “Before We Forgot How to Dream” — and a roster of festivals to their name, including Glastonbury, Primavera Sound and The Great Escape.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 12:29 PM
Recording artist Meek Mill performs onstage at a Roc Nation curated Samsung exclusive concert at Samsung Studio LA on June 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Samsung)

Dreams may be worth more than money for Meek Mill, but apparently those dreams have translated nicely into album sales.

The Philadelphia native moved 246,000 albums in the week ending July 5, according to Nielsen Music, landing his sophomore effort Dreams Worth More Than Money at the top spot of the Billboard 200 during its first week of release — a first for the rapper.

This release, out on Maybach Music/Atlantic Records, bests his 2012 debut Dreams and Nightmares, which sold 165,000 copies in 2012, according to Billboard.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 7, 2015, 5:10 PM
Aziz Ansari and special guest Amy Schumer are set to headline Funny or Die's 2015 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival. (Getty Images)

If you attended Funny or Die's Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival last year, you’ll recall Susquehanna Bank Center box offices displaying signs informing show goers that Amy Schumer would not be appearing at Camden’s festival date. (She made select appearances on last summer’s multi-city run.) Make no mistake this year — comedy’s leading lady will be there.

Headlined by Aziz Ansari — another comedian on last year’s bill (though not Camden’s) — and Schumer, the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival again returns to the Susquehanna Bank Center for a Sunday, Sept. 13 show. The rest of the lineup is filled out by Anthony Jeselnik, Bridget Everett, Dave Attell, Jay Pharoah, John Mulaney, Michael Che, Nick Kroll and Nikki Glaser. The Redd’s Apple Ale Stage will be hosted by Big Jay Oakerson. 

Tickets are on sale Friday, July 10 at 10 a.m. while a number of presales kick off on Tuesday, July 8 at 10 a.m.

POSTED: Sunday, July 5, 2015, 7:23 AM
Filed Under: Music & Nightlife
During the closing of Saturday Night’s Philly 4th of July Jam, Philadelphia Mayor Michal Nutter drops the mic during a surprise performance of ‘Rapper’s Delight' with The Roots. (ABC 6)

Michael Nutter ended his final Fourth of July as Philadelphia’s mayor with a bang. Or more appropriately, a thud.

During the closing of Saturday Night’s Philly 4th of July Jam, Nutter made a surprise appearance onstage with The Roots and showcased his rap skills to a cheering crowd with his performance of ‘Rapper’s Delight.’

Following his rendition of The Sugar Hill Gang’s immortal classic, an out-of-breath Nutter emphatically dropped the microphone to the delight of the cheering crowd gathered on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

POSTED: Saturday, July 4, 2015, 10:48 PM
Singer, songwriter and producer, Miguel performs during Philly 4th of July Jam & Fireworks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, July 4, 2015. (Michael Pronzato/Staff Photographer)

After The Roots played a second wildly energetic set featuring ginger-haired special guest Jeremy Ellis on the beatbox — plus a break for TV commercials — the band brought out Miguel, the songwriter whose just-out third album, Wildheart, keeps him on the leading edge of a movement of alt-R&B artists who freely mix musical elements from all over the pop and rock landscape into their sound. 

Dressed in flowing white from head to toe — in contrast to Nettles’ black evening gown — he played the role of the genre-blending love man who at his best — as in the falsetto-fluttering come-on “How Many Drinks” — makes music that lives up to the example of his musical heroes like Prince.

POSTED: Saturday, July 4, 2015, 10:31 PM
Jennifer Nettles performs during Philly 4th of July Jam & Fireworks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, July 4, 2015. Nettles is the lead singer for country music act Sugarland. Photo: MICHAEL PRONZATO/ Staff Photographer

The Roots took the stage for the first part of their expansive performance shortly after 9 o’clock, introduced by a hyped-up Mayor Michael Nutter. He reminded the crowd that they were part of “the largest free outdoor concert in America” and called the Roots, led by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, “the best house band in America, if not the world!”

The band then launched into a free-flowing jam, starting with “Game Theory,” the title track from their 2006 album, located in “downtown Philly, where it’s realer than a heart attack.” They moved during which they moved for sharply snapping funk to playful marching band rhythms and jazzy interstitial interludes. Black Thought, shadowed by sousaphone player Damon Bryson (also known as Tuba Gooding Jr.), displayed dazzling verbal dexterity and a breath control so impressive it made you gasp just to listen to him.

Nettles, one half of the Nashville country-pop duo Sugarland, brought members of her band to play along with The Roots, and with Questlove snapping her songs to attention, the results were impressive. As popular a mainstream country force as Sugarland are, Nettles was hardly a natural fit for a Philadelphia audience more open to an “urban” act like Miguel, but she’s an undeniable powerhouse singer, and she had the gumption both to play an as yet unreleased single called “Sugar” for the first time live and to remake Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock” with gospel overtones in a way that surpassed the original.

POSTED: Saturday, July 4, 2015, 8:58 PM
MKTO performs during Philly 4th of July Jam & Fireworks along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, July 4, 2015. The group consists of Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller. Photo: MICHAEL PRONZATO / Inquirer

Los Angeles pop band MKTO — the duo of singer Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller — preceded the three principal acts on stage, presumably on the strength of their fitting-for-the-Fourth signature song “American Dream,” which establishes the band’s generational identity by contrasting themselves with John Cougar Mellencamp: “This ain’t the same summer song that you used to know, because Jack left Diane 30 years ago.”

They followed that na-na-na singalong with the relentless hybrid hip-hop rock positivity of “Just Imagine It” and, lest they come across as overly serious types, reminded listeners that what they're really interested in is “Bad Girls.”

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Encompassing the sounds and beats of the city, we're here to turn you on to the local notables and under-the-radar artists, while showing you more of the bands and hot spots you already know and love.

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