Monday, July 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Sunday, July 27, 2014, 12:35 PM
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the Mann Center on Friday night. (Dan DeLuca)

I didn't bring a notebook with me when I went to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the Mann Center in Fairmouint Park on Friday, since I had written up the band at the Keswick Theatre on an earlier stop on their current tour for Push The Sky Away back in the spring of 2013.

So this wouldn't qualify as an official review. (If it was, I would have made sure to get there in time to see Kurt Vile & the Violators, who I wish I hadn't missed, but I had to have dinner with my mother before heading over to the Mann. Sorry Kurt, Jane DeLuca comes first.)

But back to Nick Cave. Way back in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Australian punk-goth songwriter Cave was in the early stages of what has become a legendary career, I was a Nick Cave skeptic.

POSTED: Friday, July 25, 2014, 3:11 PM
Nick Cave.

It's a packed summer music weekend.

The WXPN-FM Xponential Festival is happening all weekend in Camden, starting today in Wiggins Park and carrying over to the Susquehanna Bank Center on Saturday and Sunday, when Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams, and Beck and Band of Horses headline, respectively.

Steve Klinge's Inquirer Wkend section cover story on the festival is here, with a sidebar on The Hold Steady, who play tonight, here.  A full schedule for the fest can be found on the XPN website. I'm liking the looks of that Saturday afternoon stretch that starts with Nashville songwriter Caitlin Rose and includes Hurray For the Riff Raff, Marah, Strand of Oaks, and Jeremy Messersmith. Below, check out the video for Lewis' Beck-produced "Just One Of The Guys," featuring lots of movie stars in drag. It's from her new album The Voyager, which comes out Tuesday.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 1:29 PM
Mark Kozolek aka Sun Kil Moon.

Songwriter Mark Kozolek has a two decade career making sadcore or slowcore music with his band the Red House Painters, under his own name, and as Sun Kil Moon.

It's under that rubric that Kozolek recorded Benji, his powerfully emotional, narratively detailed 2014 album that's full of intensely autobiographical artfully rendered drama, ranging from tales of youthful sexual misadventure to the tragic deaths of friends and relatives. By any measure, it's one of the year's best.

Tonight, Sun Kill Moon plays Union Transfer on Spring Garden street. It's "An Evening With," which means there's no opening act. My preview of the show from last Friday's Inquirer Wkend section is here.  "Carissa," from Benji is below. Ticket info is here.

POSTED: Friday, July 11, 2014, 1:06 PM
LeBron James.

For LeBron James, who declared his love for Northeast Ohio today and his intent to return to the shores of Lake Erie to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, here's Randy Newsman's "Burn On":

"Cleveland city of light, city of magic

Cleveland city of light you're calling me

POSTED: Sunday, July 6, 2014, 10:43 AM
Beyonce and Jay Z at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night. (Dan DeLuca)

There was a giant concert in Philadelphia on Friday, with a half a million people on the Ben Franklin Parkway to see hometown heroes The Roots serve as house band for a star studded slate of chart topping acts.

The next night, the big guns came out.

Literally and figuratively. Beyonce and Jay Z brought their overstuffed, 2 1/2 hour On The Run tour to a sold-out Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia on Saturday.

POSTED: Friday, July 4, 2014, 11:03 PM

After one more winning Roots jam featuring "The Seed 2.0" and a James Brown funk workout, the 4th of July Jam came to a close with Ed Sheeran, the wildly popular ginger singer-songwriter who hails from the country the United States declared independence from in Philadelphia 238 years ago.

Sheeran, whose new album X (which stands for multiply), usually plays solo, supported by his own foot-pedal-triggered loops. With The Roots behind him, the crafty songsmith and guitarist benefitted greatly, his sound filled out and muscled up, on songs of his own like "The Lego House," "Sing," and the singalong tear-jerker "The A Team," which inspired massive waves of smartphone waving, lighting up the sky in advance of the fireworks explosion to come.

The highlight of Sheeran's show, though, was a loosely funky version of Anthony Hamilton's "Comin' from Where I'm From." Not surprisingly, it proved to be right in the Roots' wheelhouse and, unexpectedly, also in Sheeran's.

POSTED: Friday, July 4, 2014, 10:07 PM

All of the acts were well received, but during pauses in the show, the crowd repeatedly let it be known whom they primarily came to see with chants of "Nick-ee! Nick-ee!"

The pneumatic Trinidad and Tobago-born rapper didn't disappoint, with a five-song set that demonstrated her ability to spit hyper-speed rhymes with rat-a-tat precision on "Super Bass" while also displaying a softer pop side on "Pills N Potions."

"Is Philly in the building? Everybody knows I love y'all, I love your energy," Minaj said. "Happy Birthday, America!"

She then launched into the sentimental uplift of "Moment 4 Life," whose beats some fool in the crowd decided to punctuate by popping off their personal supply of fireworks.
Nicki Minaj performing at the Wawa Welcome America Jam on the Parkway, Friday, July 4, 2014. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)
POSTED: Friday, July 4, 2014, 9:46 PM

Jennifer Hudson chose to play with her own sizable backing band rather than The Roots, and -- once Wayans got through drooling over her in a between-the-music segment -- the slimmed-down singer strutted her stuff in a runway that extended into the crowd. Her big moments were "Spotlight" and her show-stopping, powerfully sung Dreamgirls number "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." After that brought down the house, she went.

The trouble with these Roots-hosted shows is that you often don't get enough of the Philadelphia hip-hop group and Tonight Show Band. They are surely the hardest-working ensemble in show business playing on their own.

On Friday, the band made the most of its time although, in true collaborative spirit, even their solo time featured special guests.

Jennifer Hudson at the Wawa Welcome America Jam on the Parkway, Friday, July 4, 2014. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer )
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