Summer is officially over, and with its end comes an insane number of concerts. Here are our picks for this week.
Thursday, September 5: The Julie Ruin
The Julie Ruin is a new project from Kathleen Hanna, riot grrrl icon, formerly of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Well, actually it’s not a new project at all—Hanna first conceived the idea some 15 years back, and released an LP called Julie Ruin in between her BK and LT days. That record was fuzzy, quirky, and surprising demure (compared to her other work), and was recorded mostly in Hanna’s Olympia, WA apartment. (Hear a tune from it, “Stay Monkey,” here). After releasing the record, Hanna went on to form Le Tigre, and Julie Ruin was abandoned. Until recently. Adding a “The” to the moniker, and rounding up former Bikini Kill bassist Kathi Wilcox, and others, The Julie Ruin is a decidedly more ballsy reinterpretation of the same original idea. Their debut record Run Fast dropped this week, and puts the focus on Hanna’s screeching vocals and attitude: just the way we like it.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $15. Tickets available here.
Thursday, September 5: Cold Fronts and DRGN King
Cold Fronts and DRGN King are two of our very favorite local bands, and this Thursday they team up for what is boundto be a jubilee of good vibes, sunny vocal harmonies, and arena rock-worthy chords. Cold Fronts recently signed with Warner Brothers / Sire Records, after blowing the top off many a local spot (including some raucous house shows), and we’re psyched to experience their beer and pizza-fueled rockers up close, before they blow up for real. DRGN King craft sunny, radio-friendly rockers (like the insatiable “Wild Nights”) that occasionally veer into psychedelic or soul territory, and are basically impossible to listen to while standing still (so make sure to wear your dancing shoes). This will be both bands’ last Philly show before heading out on a massive U.S. tour so come get your fix while you can.
9:00 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Saturday, September 7: They Might Be Giants
They Might Be Giants headline this year’s WHYY Connections Festival, a FREE, two-day concert and celebration of the arts at Penn’s Landing. The fest runs Saturday and Sunday, with more rock and pop-oriented acts—including TMBG, as well as Ben Kweller, Khari Mateen, and more—while Sunday brings out old skool R&B group The Soul Survivors, most known for their 1967 hit single “Expressway to Your Heart.” Both days should be musical gold, although we’re probably most excited to watch John Flansburgh and John Linnell (aka: TMBG) rile concert-goers of all ages with their trademark quirky anthems about science, math, and umm, your mom. For three decades now, the pair’s been writing funny, original, and educational tunes, proving that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you should lose your sense of wonder.
4:00 on Saturday, and noon on Sunday at The Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 201 S. Columbus Blvd., free.
Monday, September 9: The Both
The Both is Aimee Mann and Ted Leo, a pairing striking in and of itself—although their performance this Monday at the Boot & Saddle is perhaps most striking because it’s the grand reopening of the once iconic bar and venue in South Philly at Broad and Ellsworth. Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Boot & Saddle functioned as a country music dive, complete with cheap beer, line-dancing, and covers of late ’60s and early ‘70s bluegrass and blues tunes. It closed in 1996 and has stood vacant since—but will reopen this Monday with R5 Productions (Union Transfer, JB’s, the F. U. Church) handling booking. The Both (sometimes spelled #BOTH) should prove an epic opener—after hitting the road together last year for tour, Mann and Leo decided to pair up, and will play both new tunes penned together, and solo material. A new band at a new spot? Monday’s never been so exciting.
9:00 at The Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., sold out—but try Craig’s List.
Tuesday, September 10: Mayer Hawthorne
Mayer Hawthorne writes silky smooth R&B- and soul-influenced grooves that resonate with vintage charm—and has released one of our fave records this year in Where Does This Door Go, an easy pleaser that answers the burning question of “Is Steely Dan cool again” with a resounding yes. A Detroit, MI native who grew up listening to blue-eyed soul while driving to the auto parts store with his father, Hawthorne mastered several instruments early on, and was signed in 2009 when an early demo landed in the lap of Stones Throw label head Peter Butter Wolf. Since then, he’s released three records of earnest, feel-good pop, which runs the gamut from sweeping, Temptations-esque pep to jazzy, skulking refrains to breezy yacht rock. Bring a date, because you’re gonna want someone to make out with.
8:00 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $20–$22. Tickets available here.