Celebrate the summer with outdoor shows at The Piazza, The Mann, Dock Street, and more!
Friday, June 7: The National with Dirty Projectors at the Mann Center
Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of The National, whose brooding, populist brand of indie rock doesn’t inspire me like my favorite music does. But sometimes, it’s not about being inspired—it’s about vibing out with a cool beer in hand, from the sunny lawn of one of the best outdoor venues in town. This Friday marks the unofficial kick-off to concert season at the Mann, and we’re super pumped to ring it in in style. And while Matt Berninger and co. might sound weary on record, live, they infuse songs with energy and passion. (Apparently, they have lots of stamina too.) But we’re MOST excited to catch Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors, whose 2012 record Swing Lo Magellan combines old-skool R&B with lush, layered harmonies and heartfelt lyrics—and whose six-person line-up leads to dozens of wiggly layers.
7:30 at the Mann Center for Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave., $39.50. Tickets available here.
Saturday, June 8: Metric at The Piazza
Holy free show alert! This summer, local radio station 104.5 will host a series of free summer block parties at The Piazza, including Canadian rockers Metric this Saturday. There are plenty of reasons to love Metric, who have been making music for a decade and a half now, and who boast an impressive number of Very Good songs (my current fave is the dreamy “Breathing Underwater.”) As front woman, Emily Haines strikes the perfect balance between ballsy and vulnerable, sounding sultry and confident on tunes like “Youth Without Youth” and tender and float-y on “Gimme Sympathy.” Haven’t heard their 2012 record Synthetica yet? Stream it for free on their website before you go. And arrive early to catch sets from Philly’s Goodnight Lights and New Orleans’ Royal Teeth.
3:45 at The Piazza at Schmidt’s, N. 2nd St. and Germantown Ave., free.
Saturday, June 8: City Tap House Beer Week Jamboree
One free show this weekend not enough for ya? Ok—here’s another one! This Saturday, University City craft beer mecca City Tap House hosts its Beer Week Jamboree, featuring drink specials and free performances from local bands, including our FAVORITE band to listen to while drinking whiskey, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb (for proof, consider their most recent record Manufacturing Joy.) Also on the bill: upbeat rockers The Fleeting Ends, blues rockers Thee, Idea Men, and pop powerhouses Ang & The Damn Band. It all goes down at the pub’s roomy outdoor garden, a sweet place to enjoy a brew and some tunes.
5:00 at City Tap House, 3925 Walnut St., free.
Sunday, June 9: Ariel Pink at Union Transfer
Much has been written about Beverly Hills weirdo Ariel Pink, whose 2012 record Mature Themes was one of our faves of the year, even if its creator remains shrouded in mystery. And so we’ll spare you the details about his rumored hatred of scenes, Hoarders-esque apartment, and caravan of topless women and say instead: no one writes pop songs like Ariel Pink writes pop songs. They’re unique, creative, and sometimes deliberately offensive—but also nostalgic, euphoric, and transcendent. The breakdown to “Round and Round” is so smooth it should give Steely Dan fans chills; the lyrics to “Schnitzel Boogie” so silly they’ll make you LOL while listening. Last time Pink came to Philly, he donned electric blue eye shadow and women’s shoes, then proceeded to writhe and twitch his way through a set of creative pop. And it was awesome! Ariel Pink might be a weirdo, but he’s our weirdo (“our” being creative pop lovers everywhere) and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $16–$18. Tickets available here.
Sunday, June 9: Dock Street Music Fest
Free show alert #3! We don’t need much of an excuse to venture down to West Philly’s Dock Street Brewery, home of the famed Royal Bohemian Pilsner and Flammenkuche pizza. But this Sunday, we’re extra psyched to check out the FREE Dock Street Music Fest, featuring outdoor performances from some of our fave local bands, including sunny popsters Norwegian Arms (whose Human BBQ performance last April brought down the house), rag-tag folksters On the Water, and dub-rockers Post Sun Times. Not enough for you? The event will also feature a $20 scavenger run (should you enjoy your tunes with a healthy sweat), fun, outdoor games, and yes, pilsners and pizza. What a great way to close out the weekend!
2:00 at Dock Street Brewery, 701 S. 50th St., free.
Friday through Sunday, June 7 through 9: Ladyfest
Click here for our complete coverage on Ladyfest, the DIY celebration of women in music and arts, coming to West Philly this Friday through Sunday.