Three local picks, plus one diva
Wednesday, June 25: Diana Ross
Diana Ross is a living legend, and possibly one of the greatest voices of all time. As front woman of The Supremes, it was her honeyed vocals and expressive, sensual way of crooning that won over fans; post-Supremes she easily transitioned to one of pop’s greatest divas, conquering disco and soul alike with her powerhouse vocals and theatrics. Along the way, she also became one of the most successful female artists to date, selling more than 100 million records, and earning starring roles in TV, film, and many a record collector’s heart. This Wednesday, she’ll make her first Philadelphia appearance in over a decade, performing all the songs you grew up singing (and still get excited to hear on the radio). We love Diana for her endless drive and ability to reinvent herself; for her smoking hot style; and because at age 70, she’s still totally fierce. Grab a spot on the lawn, relax, and indulge the perfect music for a breezy summer night.
8:00 at the Mann Center, 5201 Parkside Ave., $40–125. Tickets available here.
Wednesday, June 25: Vacationer
Philly’s Vacationer make music for road trips and summer escapes, driven by vibe-seeking, and the wind in your hair and the sun on your back. Formed in 2011 as a collaboration between Philadelphian Kenny Vasoli (The Starting Line) and Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler (Body Language), the band grew slowly, moving from a casual email collaboration between disparate artists (who would have ever guessed The Starting Line’s front man would form a chillwave group?)—to a regular touring monolith, whose feel-good tunes have won them opening slots for The Naked and Famous, Bombay Bicycle Club, and more. They stop by Johnny Brenda’s this Wednesday to celebrate the release of new record Release; check out first single “Wild Life” here, and prepare yourself for a sweet escape.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12. Tickets available here.
Thursday, June 26: Philly Tapes Philly (with Gretchen Lohse and Air Is Human)
For three months now, we’ve loved watching Philly Tapes Philly grow—from a fledgling DIY project to a kick-ass recurring event, and a great chance to soak up local talent. The concept is simple: each month, the PTP crew (helmed by members of Commonwealth Choir/Big Tusk) chooses two local artists. Each records a single to one side of a 4-track cassette. The tapes are mixed and engineered by Commonwealth Choir, and 50 copies are made. Then each month, PTP hosts a FREE release party at Ortlieb’s, in which both artists perform, and the first 50 people through the door score a copy of the tape. It’s simple, fun, and yes—a great excuse to go out drinking (especially considering the $$$ you save on admission!) The first three editions featured a pretty much killer list of local talent; and Volume 4 debuts this Thursday, with tunes from ethereal folk songstress Gretchen Lohse and progressive psych-rockers Air Is Human, who combined will make you wish your car still had a tape deck. Check out a release teaser below!
8:00 at Ortlieb’s 847 N. 3rd St., free.
Friday, June 27: The Chairman Dances
West Philly’s The Chairman Dances craft quirky, wordy, art pop, inspired by literature, art, and classical music—such as the 1985 outtake of John Adams’s Nixon in China, from which they take their name. Formed in 2010 by friends Eric Krewson and Ben Rosen (employed, appropriately, at U Penn’s rare books department), plus Mike Guiliana, Andrew Ciampa, and Dan Comly—these guys are much more likely to seduce you with their counterparts than slay you with their riffs, crafting intricate, layered songs that come together thanks to shimmering guitars, horns, and strings. (It should be noted that most of them hold music degrees as well). We first fell in love with these dudes last summer, when we heard scintillating single “Prophetess”—since then, they’ve released this throwback-alicious music video (which, according to Krewson, features mostly their real clothes) and are getting ready to release their new record, The Death of Samuel Miller, this Friday. They’ll celebrate the release with a show at West Philly’s The Rotunda; Weezer attire not required.
7:30 at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., $10. Tickets available at the door.