Our weekly concert picks: August 20–August 26

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 14: Lil Wayne and Drake perform at Pepsi Presents Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday Tour at Roseland on August 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Pepsi)

What we’re checking out this week!

Thursday, August 21: Drake Versus Lil Wayne

Why versus, you might ask? Good question. It’s a hard choice, Drake vs. Lil Wayne. One started from the bottom, playing a school shooting victim on Canadian TV, then skyrocketed to stardom thanks to his unique flow and YOLO-y outlook. The other was a childhood star, rapping about hot chicks and hot blocks for years, before dreaming up candy fantasies and getting namedropped by Obama (in addition, to, we might add, signing Drake). These days, they’re two of the biggest names in hip-hop, and this Thursday, they’ll go head-to-head live, with audiences determining the battle outcome via a specially-created tour app. The two stalwarts will take turns dropping rhymes; fans will vote on who wins each round and the winner will earn ultimate bragging rights. (Also: there will be ziplines.) Will Drake’s smooth rhymes reign supreme? Or will Lil Wayne cut through the competition with his trademark ‘tude and cool hair? There’s only one way to find out. Let the battle begin!!

7:00 at the Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden, $35–149.50. Tickets available here.


Thursday, August 21: Pattern Is Movement (play Spruce Street Harbor Park)

Two of our favorite things! We’ve written many a time of our love for Pattern Is Movement, the capricious, soulful, Philadelphia duo, whose creativity and ear for melody have made them local faves — whether synching tunes with Oscar-winning flicks, or bringing hip-hop jams to the Barnes Museum. This Thursday, they’ll perform a FREE show at one of our fave new spots: the super magical Spruce Street Harbor Park, where the twinkle lights and colorful hammocks should provide a perfect backdrop for equally magical tunes. Since the release of their self-titled record a few months back, the band’s been busy, hitting the road with Wye Oak and Yellow Ostrich — but is finally back in the Illadelph, and ready to show Philly some love. They’ll be joined by Philly mix-master Moon Bounce, aka Corey Regensburg, whose R&B-tinged electronic creations should set the mood for fun. We already mentioned it’s free, right? See you there Philly!

7:30 at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Columbus Blvd. at Spruce St., free.


Friday, August 22: Shabazz Palaces

Seattle duo Shabazz Palaces are redefining hip-hop  — and that’s a good thing. A collaboration between MC Ishmael Butler (Digable Planets) and producer Tendai Maraire, Shabazz Palaces are not interested in creating the next club banger — in fact, we have a feeling the word “banger” would make them cringe. Instead, they’re interested in bringing art back into hip-hop, crafting creative, amorphous concoctions that combine rap, funk, dream-pop, classic philosophy, and more. The first hip-hop group to be signed to label Sub Pop, Shabazz Palaces first made waves as a mysterious, unknown force—self-releasing two EPs in 2009 with no publicity, no press photos, and no clues as to their identity.  As the EPs slowly circulated, interest grew, and the band made a very good case for their anonymity being more than just a publicity stunt. Now, half a decade later, they’re continuing the onslaught. Their new record, Lese Majesty, is a dreamy, sprawling, 7-suite affront, that defies expectation and sounds damn good too. They play Union Transfer this Friday; weird vibes expected.

8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $15. Tickets available here.


Friday, August 22: Bishop Allen

CVS might be stocking back-to-school essentials, but summer is still going strong — and there’s perhaps no better way to celebrate than with a new Bishop Allen record — their first in five years. Can we talk for a second about how much I love this band? Formed in 2003 by Harvard grads and former roomies Justin Rice and Christian Rudder, Bishop Allen burst onto the scene with a version of summer pop that was cute and quirky, tidy and fun — then wiggled their way into indie consciousness with an appearance in twee flick "Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist"(catnip for awkward hipsters) and myriad shows in hometown Brooklyn (they’ve since relocated to Kingston, NY). Along the way, they’ve released some of our fave songs for mellow afternoons — from the whimsical “Click, Click, Click, Click” to the quirky, rousing “Like Castanets” — and 12 new songs on Lights Out, released this week on Dead Oceans. They play Johnny Brenda’s this Friday; show up early for openers/local guys Tinmouth, whose new single “Prevent Defense” is a banging, raucous affair that has us psyched for what’s next. 

9:15 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.