Our Weekly Concert Picks: July 24–July 31

Beyonce - Mrs Carter World Tour - Toronto
Beyonce will perform at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday. (Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)

It’s a huge week for shows, between the Mad Decent Block Party, XPoNential Music Fest, and more. Here’s what we’re checking out.

Wednesday, July 24: Woods and Parquet Courts

Free free free!  We’ve stated many a time the delightfulness of watching your fave band rock out from a picnic table overlooking the Delaware, craft beer in hand—but lest you need further convincing, consider the strength of this pairing. Woods craft breezy folk-rock charmers imbued with vintage charm, from twangy harmonica refrains to front man Jeremy Earl’s earthy falsetto. Seeing them live is like being jolted back to the 1960’s, on a farm somewhere before Woodstock and bad acid. Parquet Courts, on the other hand, write scrappy punk songs firmly rooted in the now, that rattle and rage with modern angst: being young and directionless, stoned and starving. Live, they thrash and mumble in a way that only real punks can—and are best enjoyed while pounding PBR’s and dancing frantically. Get wild for Parquet Courts, then mellow out (and sober up) to Woods.  You’ll need your strength for Beyonce tomorrow.

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


Thursday, July 25: Beyoncé

She’s been dubbed one of the most powerful woman in America, not to mention one of the greatest artists of all times—and this Thursday, she’ll bring her extravagant, over-the-top show to Philly for one epic night. For nearly two decades now, the stunning powerhouse has dazzled and delighted us with her impressive songwriting, killer pipes, and smashing fashion sense (yeah we said it), from her Destiny’s Child days (I so remember lusting over those mermaid outfits) to her super fierce Sasha Fierce persona. These days, Ms. Knowles-Carter is busy mothering her new daughter, Blue Ivy, and working on her fifth record, due out later this year. She’ll perform in Philly this fall as well, as part of hubby Jay Z’s Made in America fest—but true Beyoncé fans know that nothing beats a headlining show, where you can bet the costumes, the lighting, the effects, and oh yeah—the SONGS—will be an experience to remember.

8:00 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $45–$250. Tickets available here.


Friday, July 26: New Order

The band who laid the groundwork for so many of our current faves (think: Hot Chip, Delorean, The Rapture, Craft Spells) still manages to seem cool nearly 35 years later (someone tell Duran Duran!) Formed from the ashes of moody post-punkers Joy Division following the death of front man Ian Curtis, New Order went on to become one of the most iconic bands of the 1980’s, with their 1983 tune “Blue Monday” still holding the record for most 12”’s ever sold (not to mention most one-night stands spurred by a single track.) It’s true that bassist/vocalist Peter Hook is no longer with the band (having quit back in 2007)—but original members Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, and Gillian Gilbert still remain, and still display the same penchant for vibe-making. We suggest rolling up to the Mann Center early to find a nice grassy patch of hillside—then getting ready to drop to your knees (as the lyrics suggest) and belt the refrain to “Bizarre Love Triangle.”

8:00 at the Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Ave., $29.50–$59.50. Tickets available here.


Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28: XPoNential Music Festival

Local radio station WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival returns to Wiggins Park for its 9th year, featuring a ridiculously impressive line-up of local and touring bands. There are literally too many to mention here, so we’ll instead give a brief run-down of our faves:  Friday kicks off with local soul-master Aaron & The Spell, followed by Lancaster rock-and-blues boys The Districts, and the always-playful Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Saturday sees alt-country rockers The Fleeting Ends in the morning, longtime strummer Matt Pond in the afternoon, and bluegrass bunch Trampled by Turtles at night. And Sunday features Philly.com fave DRGN King opening, open-roader Phosphorescent midday, and XPN mainstays Dawes closing things out. Still not convinced? 3-day “Go Anywhere” passes also include free lawn admission to see twangers The Lumineers and Dr. Dog Saturday night at the Susquehanna Bank Center…AND the one and only Bob Dylan, Wilco, and My Morning Jacket at the SBC on Sunday. All this, PLUS XPN’s trademark “green village” (featuring your fave enviro-friendly vendors), local food tents, and reasonably priced beer. Show of the summer?  We think so!

11:30 Friday morning through late Sunday night at Wiggins Park, Mickle Bvld., Camden; and the Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden. 3-day passes are $110 for Wiggins Park only, and $125 for “Go Anywhere” passes, and are available here. Tickets for The Lumineers and Dr. Dog, or Bob Dylan et al. ONLY are available here and here.


Saturday, July 27: Mad Decent Block Party

It’s no longer free, but that only serves to keep the ruffians (in it for the free Vitamin Water and slutty outfits only) out!  And with them outta the picture, there’s no one to disrupt your vibes—whether you’re casually grooving to Major Lazer’s “Get Free” or totally rocking out to Flosstradamus’s “Crowd Control.” In the past 6 years, we’ve loved watching this party—which started as a low-key hang at the Mad Decent Mausoleum (now PhilaMOCA)—grow into an international affair, with 13 iterations taking place this summer in the U.S. and Canada.  And with its growth came the need for bigger venues (from the Mausoleum, the fest moved next to The Piazza, and finally to Penn’s Landing), bigger names, and yes, higher ticket prices. Luckily, Diplo himself (aka: Major Lazer) will be on hand for the Philly festivities, alongside Dillon Francis, Riff Raff, and tons more—which when you really think about, is pretty much priceless. Unfortunately, tickets for the Philly party are long sold-out, so we hope you scooped up yours ahead of time.

1:00 at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. between Market and Walnut Sts., sold out, but try Craig’s List.