Our weekly concert picks: August 13–August 19

INDIO, CA - APRIL 16: Musician Ian McCulloch of the band Echo & the Bunnymen performs during day one of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2010 held at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2010 in Indio, California. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

What we’re checking out this week!

Thursday, August 14 through Saturday, August 16: MilkBoy Philly 3rd Anniversary with Black Landlord, The Ataris, and The Lawsuits

 Before MilkBoy Philly, there were few reasons to venture into Center City for show-going—not counting super-pricey affairs at the Academy of Music, or dive-y jaunts over at Tritone (RIP). Thankfully, MilkBoy emerged to fill that void, and since then we’ve loved indulging their delicious pickleback shots and expertly curated local line-ups. This weekend, the bar/venue celebrates 3 years in the biz with a stacked line-up of awesome bands, including funky hip-hop collective Black Landlord, emo stalwarts/band whose CD I owned in high school The Ataris, and local up-and-comers The Lawsuits—headlining Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, respectively. A ridiculous list of local talent round up the line-up including Ill Doots, Cheerleader, Mo Lowda & The Humble, and Our Griffins. Scoop the full line-up here—then consider showing up early for their “hangover burger” + drinks. Did we mention the entire weekend is free? Turning 3 never felt so good.

 8:30 Thursday through Sunday at MilkBoy Philly, 1100 Chestnut St., free. RSVP here.


Friday, August 15: Commonwealth Choir, Pine Barons + more (play BITBY Summer Sounds)

 For 3 years now, we’ve loved watching Bands in the Back Yard—or BITBY—grow, from a small DIY project literally filming bands in creator Kyle Costill’s back yard—to  a multi-dimensional mini-empire, who’ve hosted many a kick-ass local show and released some of our fave music videos—while still remaining staunchly DIY. This Friday, they celebrate both their history and the waning summer season during BITBY Summer Sounds, an awesome evening of music and vibes featuring myriad BITBY alums. Doylestown pop fivesome Commonwealth Choir headline, bringing their vintage-tinged rockers to life on the big stage (seriously, these guys will make you feel like you’re in a ‘60s music video); they’re joined by raucous rock revelers Pine Barons, summer psych poppers Weekender, and more. If you ever craved a tidy introduction to the local scene but weren’t sure where to start, here’s your chance! Super summer vibes expected.

7:30 at the TLA, 334 South St., $8. Tickets available here.


Saturday, August 16: Southwork

South Philly 7-piece Southwork incorporate horns, balloons, bubbles, and blue, orange, and yellow EVERYTHING (think: clothes, guitars, drums, amps)—into a spirited explosion of rock’n roll vibes. One-half psychedelic groovers; one-half feel-good funk (plus both halves total party), the dudes of Southwork first started jamming together while still in middle school, and formed a band a few years back. Since then they’ve become a force to be reckoned with, touring relentlessly and gaining a rep as one of the wildest acts south of Washington Ave.  This Saturday, they’ll celebrate the release of new record Wear Your Heart Out—recorded entirely on tape machine from their South Philly row home—with a spirited bash at Johnny Brenda’s. The last time we saw these guys live, we danced our faces off and we have a feeling this weekend will be no different. Plus arrive early for openers Tutlie, once described as “one of the most imaginative bands in Philadelphia” and the dream pop journey you’ve been waiting for all summer long.

9:15 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.


Tuesday, August 19: Echo & The Bunnymen

Echo & The Bunnymen are a quintessential ‘80s band that make dark, brooding music that sounds better than many other ‘80s bands. I first became obsessed with the song “The Killing Moon” my senior year in high school, after hearing it featured in Donnie Darko (a quintessential aughts film for indie kids) and quickly downloaded their discography after. Front man Ian McCulloch’s ominous lyrics and expansive vocals really spoke to me, and songs like “The Cutter” seemed practically made for an emo generation. Unfortunately, like many ‘80s greats, the group disbanded before the decade was through; fortunately, unlike many ‘80s greats, they reformed in 1994 and continued to churn out new records that were actually good—like 1999’s What Are You Going to Do With Your Life, and 2001’s Flowers. These days, the band’s touring behind 2014’s Meteorites, and will make a stop at Union Transfer this Tuesday. McCulloch describes Meteorites as “more edgy [than] anything I’ve ever done”; we say we’ll make that call live. Before you go: check out dramatic first single “Lovers on the Run” via their website and get ready to get lost in the fog.

8:45 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $29. Tickets available here.