Hoagie Nation kicks off with Schoolly D, more

Rapper Schoolly D, aka Jesse Weaver, poses inside Taylor's cafe in Philadelphia, PA on May 17, 2017. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Summer music festival season in Philadelphia kicked off on Saturday afternoon at the Festival Pier with the onset of Hoagie Nation, the Daryl Hall & John Oates curated multi-stage gathering that featured free-while-they-lasted hoagie samples from 10 different area sandwich makers.

And music, of course. The first act up at the three stage festival was Schoolly D., the West Philly gangsta rap originator born Jesse Weaver, who energetically entertained backed by a three piece band including ace guitarist Mike Tyler. He threw in a cover of Elton John's "Benny and the Jets" along with his own gritty 1980s classic like "Saturday Night" and "Gucci Time." "Hey Schoolly School, how the ... did you get so cool?" The 54 year old rapper rhymed. Good question.

Hoagie Nation plans to precede the Roots Picnic as the official music fest opening of the Delaware River waterfront festival season. “I named it,” Daryl Hall told the Inquirer earlier this year. "It symbolizes what unites us as citizens of a certain part of the world.” It’s the first foray into the artist-branded music-fest business for the enduring pop-soul duo, who met  in 1967 at Adelphi Hall in West Philadelphia.  

Set to follow Schoolly on a pleasantly breezy, overcast afternoon before a leaning towards middle aged crowd were Hall & Oates' touring partners, the English duo Tears For Fears, plus a procession of Philly acts, including Vivian Green, Son Little, Marah, Mutlu, G. Love & Special Sauce and In The Pocket, the Philly soul pop redux collective led by Hooters drummer David Uosikkinen.