Go outside and vibe out!
Wednesday, August 6: Temples
We confess we haven’t spent as much time at Morgan’s Pier this year as in years past—possibly because they’ve hosted less free shows. But this Wednesday they make up for lost time with a group we’re truly psyched about: British foursome Temples, once called the “best new band in Britain” by both Johnny Marr and Noel Gallagher. Formed two years back, the band draws heavily from classic and psychedelic rock—think The Beatles, The Byrds, T. Rex—to create something warm, spacey, and instantly familiar. Since debuting, they’ve won opening gigs for Suede, Mystery Jets, and The Vaccines, and have turned on fans of all ages with a live show The Guardian describes as trippy as f*ck. (“The smoke is purple, the amps are Orange, and when [front man] Bagshaw switches his electric 12-string for an F-holed semi-acoustic after just one song, you boggle at what sort of vintage guitar museum must surely be lurking backstage,” they write of a recent gig.) Add sunshine, cold drinks, and Morgan’s Pier’s stunning, waterfront views—and you have all the ingredients for a fun, weeknight escape. Did we mention it’s free? Let’s get weird, Philly!
9:00 at Morgan’s Pier, 221 N. Columbus Blvd., free with RSVP.
Friday, August 8: Mad Decent Block Party
From its humble beginnings as a free street fair on the 1200 block of Spring Garden Street (back when the venue known as PhilaMOCA was still the Mad Decent Mausoleum)—the Mad Decent Block Party has grown into a highly-anticipated international happening, centered around DJ, creative force, and one time Philly resident Diplo. Now in its seventh year, the MDBP 2014 hits 22 cities, including Philadelphia, and will feature sets from Diplo himself, as well as Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, Dirty South Joe, and more. Over the past half-decade, we’ve loved watching this event grow—and despite some initially tough-to-swallow changes (such as the switch from free to ticketed admission in 2013), we’d argue it’s only getting better. Unfortunately, this year’s fest received a bit of a blight when news broke that two people died at the DC edition of the party—and that Chance the Rapper and DJ Sega dropped off the Philly bill. But if Diplo has taught us anything throughout the years, it’s the power of music to cure all (at least temporarily) and come this Friday, we’ll be dancing our hearts out. See you out there Philly!
3:00 at Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. at Spring Garden St., sold out.
Friday, August 8: Mock Suns + Roof Doctor
DIY dream double-header! Philadelphia psych-pop foursome Mock Suns write warm, wiggly, vintage-tinged charmers that will surprise you with their creativity and depth. The songwriting vehicle of Greg Puglese, a designer by day and auteur by night (and by day too, we suspect)—Mock Suns set themselves apart thanks to an impressive and overarching sense of artistic cohesiveness—from their sun-drenched cover art to the beautiful, blustery video for “The Last Time.” They’ll play songs from their new EP Santander/All That I Knew, a perfect mix of dreamy jams for summer nights. Also on the bill: local guys Roof Doctor, the long-gestating project of singer/guitarist Mark Harper, that draws from both the punk and emo traditions for a result that hearkens back to adolescent angst (think: The Get Up Kids, high school mixtapes, early punk) while still remaining rooted in the now. Just $7!
7:00 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., $7. Tickets available at the door.
Saturday, August 9: Kensington Picnic
Another free, outdoor show? Hell yes! The Kensington Picnic returns to Liberty Vintage Motorcycles lot for its second year, featuring food, vibes, and a ridiculous line-up of local talent. ‘90s lo-fi vets and band-we-actually-kinda-can’t-believe-are-playing-free-shows-because-they-were-actually-like-LEGENDS-back-in-the-day—that would be Strapping Fieldhands—headline, playing classic ‘90s jams, and hopefully some new ones too. They’re accompanied by rock’n roll stalwarts Birds of Maya and the related Spacin’, folk crooner Laura Baird (sister of Meg), Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler ruling it on the harp/guitar combo (seriously this pair is so ethereal), and more—all leading up to one kick-ass afternoon of music. Bring a blanket—and your dog—and get ready to vibe out in the sunshine.
Noon to 8:00 at Liberty Vintage Motorcycles, Frankford Ave near Susquehanna, free.