Our Weekly Concert Picks, April 17–April 23

Toy Soldiers play Johnny Brenda's this Friday.

Wednesday, April 17: Matt Costa at Johnny Brenda’s

As the weather warms up for good and we all start taking lunches (and dinners) outside, it makes sense that we’d crave music as warm and summery as the sun’s rays. Huntington Beach, CA singer Matt Costa crafts gentle, retro-sounding, ‘70s pop complete with twinkling keys and lush horns—for a result that positively sparkles with sun-dappled charm. He first rose to prominence a decade back, when No Doubt drummer Tom Dumont discovered an early demo and was impressed; two years later, he hit the road with Jack Johnson to hone his live sound. Yet despite mainstream exposure, Costa remains independently minded. His fourth, self-titled record sees him pushing things forward, creating (in his words!) “big, over-the-top arrangements that burst open and take off into a whole new dimension—but still ultimately create that same kind of cool, pure feeling.” We’d say he was wildly successful. Before you go: scope his new vid for “Good Times” and vibe out. Plus arrive early for openers The Blank Tapes, whose strummy folk is as breezy as a spring morning.

9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $15. Tickets available here.


Friday, April 18: Marco Benevento at The Blockley

Marco Benevento is an experimental jazz pianist, a description that likely won’t pique the interest of show-goers looking to rage. But before you write him off, watch this. Then tell me this ISN’T the most fun springtime romp you’ve ever seen (while keeping in mind it features a man with a tiger head playing saxophone). I have a feeling you won’t….because you can’t. Because more than just a jazz pianist, Benevento is, first and foremost, a creator, who genre-blending fusion of melodies and sounds yields something exuberant and unique. A Jersey native and Berklee Music graduate, Benevento rose to fame in the early 2000s, as one-half critically acclaimed instrumental pair Benevento-Russo Duo, before releasing his first solo record in 2008. His most recent, TigerFace, sees him lending his rhythmic and improvisatory skills to pop—for a record as lush and playful as “Limbs of a Pine.” Live, the capricious artisan mans a slew of pedals, amps, effects and circuit-bent toys—for a result that will have you raging harder than you expect.

9:00 at The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St., $25–$30. Tickets available here.


Friday, April 19, Toy Soldiers at Johnny Brenda’s

Since forming in 2007, Philly’s Toy Soldiers have proven an unstoppable force on the local scene, bringing rootsy, ramshackle melodies, high spirits, and a sense of old-fashioned, rock’n roll revelry to each and every performance. The brainchild of front man/guitarist/harmonica-ist Ron Gallo, Toy Soldiers spent the past year touring and playing more than 120 shows, winning fans with their energy and songwriting, and will release their second full length, The Maybe Boys, this fall. Their headlining show at JB’s doubles as the world premiere of filmmaker Seth Klinger’s new documentary The Maybe Trails,  which follows the band as they travel up and down the coast, and explores what it means to be an indie band on tour in 2013. Check out the trailer here—and get psyched for the real deal this Friday.

9:30 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.


Friday, April 19: Iceage and Metz at the FU Church

Holy double-header!  Iceage and Metz are two of the most shred-tastic live bands we’ve seen and together are sure to transform the church into a sweaty mass of moshing bodies and bad attitudes (which we mean in the best way possible). Iceage hail from Copenhagen and just released their sophomore record, You’re Nothing—a massive, hardcore-tinged, smack-you-in-the-head statement of punk aggression. Metz hail from Canada, and are in touring in support of their debut, s/t album—a ferocious, frenzied, and abrasive romp through violent, noisy cacophony.  Live, both bands prefer to keep things short, fiery, and one step ahead of complete dissolution…just the way we like it. Before you go: check out Iceage’s morbid vid for “Ecstasy”—and Metz’s Stepford-esque vision of “Wasted.”

7:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $13. Tickets available here.


Saturday, April 20: Record Store Day, across the city

See here for more on Record Store Day, and our top picks for free events in Philly.