Our Weekly Concert Picks: August 21–August 27

The Dead Milkmen with perform on Saturday at Liberty Lands Park.

The summer’s winding down, but you still have a few more chances to rage.

Wednesday, August 21: JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Free at Morgan’s Pier! There are just two free shows left at the Pier this summer, and we’re fairly certain you don’t wanna miss either. This Wednesday, Chicago rock’n soul group JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound ride into Philly, bringing their self-described “soul music by children of the post-punk era” to life. Front man JC Brooks cut his teeth doing musical theater, where his killer pipes (no one does falsetto like Brooks does falsetto) and impassioned, James Brown-inspired dance moves made him an instant sensation. Add a full backing band, funky R&B grooves, and surprisingly sweet+ soulful lyrics, and you have all the ingredients for a laidback summer evening—relaxing o’er the water, cool drink in hand. That is, if you can resist the urge to get up and dance!

9:00 at Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd., free.


Thursday, August 22: The Coathangers

Atlanta’s The Coathangers craft irreverent, beer- and spirits-fueled punk-rock, that is best listened to while chugging a Narragansett (because nobody drinks PBR anymore) and spazz-dancing wildly. Originally formed by friends Julia, Stephanie, Candice and Meredith as a joke /opportunity to hang, the band was a surprise success that eventually morphed into a serious(ish) full-time gig. Along the way, they toured the country several times, opening for the likes of the Black Lips (spazz-punk’s poster children), Japandroids, The Thermals, and more, and even learned to play instruments for their third record, Larceny and Old Lace, a record Pitchfork describes as “executed with badass charisma.” These days, the band is hard at work on a new LP (details TBD) but not TOO busy to stop by KFN for an evening of late-night raging. Don’t sleep!

10:30 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., $10. Tickets available here. 


Friday, August 23: k-os

In one sense, BLack on BLonde, the new record from Canadian rapper k-os, represents a stylistic leap. Frustrated with the industry’s need to pigeonhole artists into the fields of “hip-hop” or “rock”—B on B sees the songwriter/producer offering up one disc of each—proving he has the power to subvert genres expertly. In another sense though, he’s always had that power (consider his debut record, Exit), and has never been one to tacitly accept others’ definitions of his music. An artist/rapper since 1993, when he dropped his first single “Musical Essence,” then withdrew from the industry because he felt his sound was “derivative”—k-os has long held himself to a higher standard, crafting unique records that mix rock, rap, funk, reggae, and more. Live, he’ll perform with a full backing band, allowing each of these myriad strands to shine through.

8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $15. Tickets available here.


Saturday, August 24: The Dead Milkmen

Free show alert #2! This Saturday, Philly nonprofit Rock to the Future hosts a free picnic at Liberty Lands park, with headliners The Dead Milkmen—aka, the funniest and punkiest punks Philly has ever seen. Formed in 1983 at Temple University, The Dead Milkmen went on to release some of the most ridiculous and hilarious songs of the 1980’s, including “Bitchin’ Camaro” and “Punk Rock Girl” and even made an appearance on Club MTV back in the day (hilarious footage here). Sadly, decreasing record sales led to their break-up in 1995—but they re-formed in 2008, and even released a new record, The King in Yellow, in 2011. These days, they’re rocking hard as ever and we expect Saturday to be an all-out rager. Bring a blanket and stay the day, as a ridiculous line-up of other bands round out the roster, including charming South African crooner Andrew Lipke, Balkan party monster The West Philadelphia Orchestra, and a trifecta of indie pop: Conversations With Enemies, Break It Up, and You Do You. Did we mention this is free?  Beer, food, and crafts will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting Rock to the Future and music education. Rad.

Noon to 8:00 at Liberty Lands Park, 926 N. American St., free.