Friday, June 20: Kurt Vile & The Violators + The Districts (raise money for Point Breeze)
We’ve written about Kurt Vile, Philly’s fave, longhaired hitmaker—many times in this space, focusing mostly on his tunes (freewheeling, and Springsteen-esque) and his live performances (impassioned and shred-ful). Yet we always got the sense that Vile’s not just amazingly creative and talented—he seems like a real down-to-earth guy too. So we weren’t too surprised to hear he’s headlining a benefit for Point Breeze’s Ralph Brooks Park—a long-shuttered spot at 20th and Tasker—in collaboration with Eagle Connor Barwin and his Make the World Better Foundation (read more about the initiative here). Seriously, there are about a million reasons to go see Vile live…but seeing him live while helping make South Philly nicer? It doesn’t get much better than that. Also on the bill: Lititz, PA up-and-comers The Districts (who we spotlighted here), plus Houston, TX’s The Tontons. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the park, including drinks at the bar (as if you need an excuse), and Barwin promises to personally match all funds. If ever there was a time to be proud of the local music scene, that time is now! See you there, Philly.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $25-300. Tickets available here.
Saturday, June 21: Clark Park Music and Arts Festival
West Philly’s pretty beautiful all year round—but by far, my fave season to hang out and drink iced coffee from The Green Line is in the summer, when the trees are lush and full, the college students are (mostly) gone, and I swear it’s a good 3 degrees cooler than the rest of the city. This Saturday, West Philly plays host to the semiannual Clark Park Music and Arts Festival (hosted twice a year on the Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox), and your perfect excuse to ride the trolley all the way down to Baltimore Ave., then hang out in the shade and take in some tunes. Nine different bands will take the err, grass, including optimistic beat-makers City Rain, rising indie-folk foursome Former Belle, Doylestown vintage pop group Commonwealth Choir, and Toy Soldiers front man Ron Gallo, playing tunes from his forthcoming solo record, Ronny. Plus it wouldn’t be a festival without food trucks, craft vendors, and a bouncy castle for the kids. Did we mention that it’s also free? Grab a picnic blanket, and a friend, and head west!
Noon til dusk at Clark Park, 43rd and Baltimore Ave., free.
Saturday, June 21: Make Music Philly
Since 1982, cities across the globe have rocked out during Make Music Day—a DIY celebration of free music, of all kinds—on June 21, the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year. This year, the celebration returns to Philly for its second year, with more than 300 artists performing in more than 50 location spread across the city. Among the many we’re psyched for: Boy Wonder (playing Lickety Split at 3:30 PM), The Delco Pacers (playing at Milkboy at noon), Heat Thunder (playing at the Philly Yoga Factory at 11 AM and the Fleisher Art Memorial at 3 PM), Kewsi K (playing Roxborough Solstice Fest at Gorgas Park at 3 PM), and The Naked Sun (playing at Powers Park at 10 AM and Julian Abel Park at 6 PM). It all kicks off with a Mayoral Proclamation and drum ensemble at Love Park at 10 AM—and culminates in an AWESOME free concert with Ted Leo and Lee Fields & The Expressions at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing starting at 7:30. Making music never felt so good!
10 AM ‘til 10 PM all around Philly, free. More info available here.
Tuesday, June 24: Peter Frampton with The Doobie Brothers
Yes, we’re serious. The rest of our picks this week are all about supporting the local community, and the local scene—so we can’t help but end by indulging this double-helping of pure mainstream rockery. I confess I’m more of a Doobies girl myself—there’s no better anthem for rockin’ down the highway than “Rockin’ Down the Highway”—and no better Jesus rocker than “Jesus Is Just Alright” (remember when Millie belted out a passionate piano rendition in Freaks and Geeks?) Plus these dudes sported some pretty epic facial hair back in the day—and went on to influence acts as diverse as Hall and Oates and MMJ. Frampton, on the other hand, is sorta universally regarded as uncool these days (Houston Press once called him the “John Mayer of the late ‘70s”)…but in another way, perhaps he’s so uncool he’s cool again? Either way, songs like “Show Me the Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way” are definitely guilty pleasures, but pleasures nonetheless—kinda like eating ice cream for dinner—possibly brain-rotting, but oh-so-delicious.
7:00 at the Tower Theater, 6900 Ludlow St., $35–175. Tickets available here.