Two festivals, plus lots of great, outdoor shows.
Thursday, July 24: Purling Hiss
Local rockers Purling Hiss craft fuzzy, grungy, garage-rock spazzers that will have you head-banging with righteous glee. The long-running project of Philadelphian Mike Polizze, Purling Hiss evolved, over the years, from a low-key bedroom project into a blistering three-piece, known for high-energy shows and melting faces. Their newest record, Water on Mars, marries the force and grit of “Lolita” with the bluesy pop forays of “Mercury Retrograde” and the toned-down psych of “She Calms Me Down.” They perform a FREE show this Thursday at the brand new Spruce Street Harbor Park, our new favorite spot for burgers and hammock-lounging. Also on the bill: Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band, the psychedelic-folk explosion you never knew you needed in your life (until now). Did we mention it’s free? Before you go: check out this teaser from Hiss’s forthcoming record, Weirdon (due out this September), and get ready to indulge the summer vibes.
7:30 at Spruce Street Harbor Park, Columbus Blvd. at Spruce St., free.
Thursday, July 24–Sunday, July 27: This Is Hardcore Fest
15 to 20 years ago, Philadelphia experienced a Golden Age of Hardcore, when bands like Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, and Bad Luck 13 ruled supreme, and large crowds flocked to DIY spots for shows thrown by WKDU or Joe Hardcore. It was a period categorized by both extreme violence (such as fans swinging around socks filled with quarters, or lighting things on fire) and extreme support; people might kick each other in the face, but at the end of the night, they’d help each other back up. Since then, the scene has died off somewhat but still rages back with a vengeance during This Is Hardcore, a 4-day festival of hardcore punk taking over the Electric Factory this weekend. More than 60 bands will take the stage during this epic showdown, including big names like Killswitch Engage, Converge, and Title Fight (headlining Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, respectively), plus possibly the MOST riotous band in Philly history, the notorious Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza. Is it a coincidence that they’re playing the final night? We think not! Hopefully the E-Factory will remain standing once they’re through with it.
Thursday through Sunday at the Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th St., $35–125. Tickets available here.
Friday, July 25–Sunday, July 27: XPoNential Music Festival
Every year, I look forward to XPoNential Music Fest, the 3-day-long tour-de-force from local radio station WXPN, and a great excuse to hang outside, drink beer, and revel in the Camden sunshine (I never thought I’d type that phrase before!) This year is XPoNential Fest 21—plus year 5 for me—and the line-up, as usual, varies, ranging from folksy blues (Hooray for the Riff Raff) to indie pop (Lucius), to drunken bar bands (J. Roddy Walston & The Business, The Hold Steady), and beyond, with a good smattering of local love too. As in the past, “go anywhere” passes also grant concert-goers free lawn tix to the evening shows at the neighboring Susquehanna Bank Center, which this year means Jenny Lewis, Ryan Adams, and Dawes on Saturday night, and Beck, Band of Horses, and The Districts on Sunday. We love this festival for its diverse range of artists, good vibes, and because riding the ferry over from Penn’s Landing makes you feel—for a few minutes only—like you’re escaping the city heat, to journey someplace magical. Which—when you think about—is actually exactly what’s occurring.
Friday through Sunday at Wiggins Park, Mickle Blvd., and Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Market St., Camden, $60–140. Tickets available here.
Friday, July 25: Nick Cave + Kurt Vile
Nick Cave, Australian crooner, is one of the strangest yet most oddly compelling artists we know, and his more than 30-year career a testament to his restless, creative spirit. Originally front man for ‘80s post-punk giants The Birthday Party, Cave went on to form Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds following their dissolution, and has released 15 records with them since, raging in scope from dark and brooding to straight-up gory. And while many an ‘80s artist since has fallen flat, Cave’s 2014 offering, Push the Sky Away, is an awesome, melancholy journey through hazy soundscapes that shows he’s only getting better. This Friday, he’ll stop by the Man Center, where the open skies should provide the perfect backdrop for his epic concoctions. He’ll be joined by Philly’s fave constant hitmaker and Pitchfork darling Kurt Vile—who together will bring some of the best songwriting and long hair the city has seen in a long time.
7:30 at the Mann Center for Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave., $29.50–69.50. Tickets available here.
Saturday, July 26: Amanda X
Amanda X are one of our fave new local bands, and soon to be yours as well. A trio formed 2 years ago by Cat Park, Kat Bean, and Tiff Yoon, Amanda X quickly established themselves as a force on the local scene, combining fuzzed-out punk jams with Park’s emotive vocals—despite barely knowing how to play their instruments (they have since become quite competent). Along the way, they’ve toured the country in a blue “Mom-style” minivan, playing shows with the likes of Parquet Courts (who also invited them to their SXSW showcase), Dum Dum Girls, and Marnie Stern—and silenced the dumb dudes interested only in their hotness by being actually really, really great. This Saturday, they’ll celebrate the release of their debut record, Amnesia (released on vinyl by Siltbreeze Records) with a release show at Fishtown’s Philadelphia Record Exchange, alongside local 3-piece Wish List. Go see ‘em now before they are huge! Before you go: Check out killer first single “Parsnip” via Bandcamp and get ready to rage.
8:00 at the Philadelphia Record Exchange, 1524 Frankford Ave., tickets at the door.