Our Weekly Concert Picks: July 31–August 6

The Vaccines play Union Transfer on Friday, August 2

Where you’ll find us this week

Wednesday, July 31: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Ted Leo is living proof that you don’t have to be young and poor to be punk. In fact, the 42-year-old, prep-school bred, Jersey-based rocker is one of the best punks we know, having spent the past 20+ years consistently subverting expectations and writing ragers. A veteran of both the DC and New York punk scenes in the 1990’s, Leo formed The Pharmacists in 1999, and quickly won fans with his unique blend of pop melodics and punk aggression, anchored by his unmistakable high-pitched vocals and earnest, emotionally-charged lyrics. Since then, he’s remained remarkably consistent, continuing to churn out aggressive nugs with regularity, and playing high-energy shows that completely overturn the notion of the 20-minute punk set, sometimes raging for up to 2 hours. This Wednesday, he’ll play a free show at Morgan’s Pier, alongside opener Waxahatchee—a.k.a., Philly’s own Katie Crutchfield. We recommend showing up early to snag a few beers and check out Crutchfield—whose achingly honest take on love and heartbreak has already earned her a Pitchfork BNM, not to mention the respect of countless 20-somethings.

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


Friday, August 2: The Quelle Source

Philly’s The Quelle Source have been called “the best band in Philadelphia you’ve never heard of.” Unfortunately, they’re on the verge of breaking up (founding member Kevin Ryan is moving to California)…but first they wanna play one more show for you. So why should you spend your Friday seeing a band you’ve never heard of, who are about to disappear for good? That’s easy.  For the past 8 years, The Q.S. have won local crowds with quirky songwriting, easy-going harmonies, and jaunty guitar rock that recollects the best of your ‘90s record collection (think: Guided by Voices, The Get-Up Kids, Spoon.)  Their farewell show doubles as a release party for their new LP Send Out the Creatures, a brazen romp through creative songwriting that might just be our fave under-the-radar release this year. Stream the entire thing for free right here—then stay tuned to their website this week for a barrage of other new releases, including some b-sides, home recordings, and more. 70+ songs in one week? Now that’s a very GBV thing to do.

9:30 at Milkboy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St., $10. Tickets available here.


Friday, August 2: The Vaccines

Another punk show?  Yes please! London’s The Vaccines write angst-y, sardonic nuggets about youthful revelry and dissolution…and are hugely popular across the pond, where their sophomore record Comes of Age peaked at #1 on the charts. The appeal is not lost on American audiences—melodies rollick and rage with a fury best released through dancing, and the band boasts the impressive ability to burst into spontaneous harmony mid-frenzy. But perhaps most remarkable are front man Justin Young’s lyrics, which tow that fine line between snarky and snotty, admitting—and reveling in—confusion, carelessness, and romantic failure. “I don’t really care about anyone else when I haven’t got my whole life figured out,” he snarls on single “No Hope.” Horrifying, refreshing, and totally punk. This their second appearance at Union Transfer in just six months, and likely your last chance for a while. Don’t sleep!

8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $20. Tickets available here. 


Sunday, August 4: 2nd Street Festival

The 2nd Street Festival returns to Northern Liberties for its fifth year, featuring four stages of free music, food vendors, crafts and general festivities on 2nd Street between Green Street and Germantown Avenue. Providence-based folk-rockers The Low Anthem headline, bringing their creative and uniquely crafted concoctions to life—until you have seen Ben Knox Miller play the musical saw, or the cell phone (yes, really!) you haven’t seen creative instrumentation. About a million other awesome local bands round-out the line-up, including Banned Books, Denison Witmer, Kuf Knotz, Vacationer, the West Philly Orchestra, and more—check out the full line-up here.  And while we’re not generally  ones to put faith in Weather.com…the forecast for Sunday is breezy and beautiful—perfect for knocking back a few Kenzingers, munching some Cantina tacos, and taking in the beautiful music. We’ll see YOU on 2nd Street!

Noon to 10 p.m. on 2nd Street between Green St. and Germantown Ave., free.