Cool picks for the middle of August
Thursday, August 15: Third Thursdays Live and Local With Light Heat
Race Street Pier’s free monthly concert series returns, this time with local psych rockers Light Heat and a FREE beer garden (you heard right!) courtesy of Philadelphia Brewing Company. A new project from Philly psych-pop luminary Quentin Stolzfus (formerly of Mazarin), Light Heat combines gorgeous, wistful melodies with twinkling soundscapes and vintage charm—for a result that feels as breezy as a summer evening. Headed by Stolzfus, with support from members of The Walkmen, the band released its debut record this summer, and will play its first headlining show in Philly since this Thursday. Longtime space-rockers Bardo Pond—who make druggy, drone-y rock that sounds better than other druggy, drone-y rock—and Solar Motel Band front man Chris Forsyth open. Plus did we mention the free beer garden? Soak up the last rays of summer with a cool Kenzinger, a cool breeze, and cool, understated tunes.
7:00 at Race Street Pier, Race St. and Columbus Blvd., free.
Friday, August 16: Daughn Gibson
Smoky-voiced crooner Daughn Gibson hails from Carlisle, PA—a small town in Cumberland County about two hours from Philly—and grew up listening to country music while working as a truck driver. Years later, country’s sweeping sense of sentimentality—and dusty, windswept bravado—has seeped into his song-writing, despite spending his teenage years playing in various punk bands. His most recent record, Me Moan (released on “big” indie label Sub Pop) sees him harnessing his powerful baritone to weave open road songs and murder ballads, that teem with colorful characters: drunk cowboys, lonely truckers, disillusioned trailer parkers looking for a release. Live, the imposing balladeer (Gibson is 6”5’) strums his guitar and commands attention; we promise you’ll be unable to look away.
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.
Friday, August 16: Matthew Dear
Here’s one for the party crowd! Detroit-by-way-of-Texas electro-pop maven Dear crafts slick party tunes that combine techno minimalism with pop sensibilities—and attempt to capture the decadence and hedonism of city life through wiggly synths and relentless beats. Since 1999, the genre-bending experimentalist—who’s adopted several monikers throughout the years, in addition to forming his own label, Ghostly International—has released more than a dozen records and EPs, remixed tons more, and won props from everyone from P’fork to the BBC. His most recent, 2012’s Beams, is the type of record practically made for low-key dance parties—effortless, moving bodies grooving under twinkling lights—and this Friday, he’ll help recreate these vibes when he takes over the boards at Morgan’s Pier. Only $5!
9:00 at Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd., $5. Tickets available here.
Saturday, August 17: St. James & the Apostles
Philly trio St. James & the Apostles formed in 2010—but really their story starts much further back. Jamie Mahon, Mike Kiker, and Jeff Castner don’t just share a musical bond; they share a blood bond as well. The three members of St. James & the Apostles are cousins, and have been musically intertwined since birth, although St. James officially formed after the dissolution of Mahon’s previous band, The Three 4 Tens. The name St. James is a nod to Mahon’s elder-statesmen status—as well as years of Catholic schooling that have seeped into their songwriting. As St. James, they craft bluesy, psych-rock charmers that swell with vintage organs (of which the band boasts a large collection), biblical allusions, and Mahon’s affecting vocals. Their most recent, Baphomet, is a sprawling, freewheeling journey through psychedelic soundscapes—which is even more enthralling live. Two nights in a row at JB’s? We can’t think of anywhere we’d rather be.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Thursday, August 15 through Saturday, August 17: MilkBoy Philly Two-Year Anniversary Celebration
Center City gastropub + venue MilkBoy Philly celebrates its two-year anniversary with an epic, three-day celebration, featuring food and drink specials and FREE performances from some of our fave local acts, including Black Landlord, The Fleeting Ends, W. C. Lindsay, and more. See our complete run-down on the festivities here—then get ready to get your party on.
8:00 on Friday, and 8:30 on Saturday and Sunday at MilkBoy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St., free.