Showing Up

The past thirty days were slammed with live (mostly) local music. Here’s the rundown:

Icona Pop at Morgan’s Pier

Two Swedish chicks with lovely electropop flair. They’re our age and spent most of their own set dancing onstage- can you blame them? Morgan’s Pier is sort of hit or miss. It’s new and it’s hip and it’s on the waterfront, which makes it a booby trap for bros and hipsters alike. On the weekdays it’s quiet and beautiful, with a view of the bridge and a ton of boats. On the weekends it’s crowded and loud, and the drinks seem more overpriced than usual. Last time I was there I ran into five, yes FIVE people from either Conestoga or Penn State. They do have Little Baby’s Ice Cream and $2 grilled hotdogs and R5 Productions have been booking free shows there. You gotta enjoy Morgan’s Pier for what it is, man.

Tanlines at Bamboo Bar

Another electropop duo. The guys are from Brooklyn and one of my favorite new bands of 2012. If you like the 80s, and dancing, and music that is perfect, listen to “All of Me.” Zack and I saw Tanlines at Voyeur in February (one of the best nights, ever) and even though they were playing at the worst bar ever for the fourth of July, we went anyway. Why is Bamboo Bar the worst bar, you might ask? An STD ridden play pool, a bathroom line halfway down Columbus Boulevard and enough hipsters to make your heart sink. We came, we danced, we left.

Little Kingdoms and Delaise at Chaplin’s Music Cafe

Berger brother doubleheader. Listen to Little Kingdoms if you’re into sweet teen vocals, earnest teen lyrics, sick guitar solos and twinkly shit. Listen to Delaise if you’re into jam bands, boppin’ around and more sick guitar solos. Chaplin’s Music Cafe is a tiny storefront in Spring City, which is a quiet town that looks like no one’s been there since the early 1900s. This place was built for acoustics, though, and Michael and Justin sounded awesome.

Brave Elephant at The Fire

Matt is a family friend who grew up in the same neighborhood as me. Kind of a Bon Iver/Fleet Foxes/S. Carey mix, only there’s no reverb button here (if that doesn’t convince you to press “play” I’m not sure what would). We saw Matt Quinn solo with a guitar and goddamn, does his voice sound good. His mother and brother thanked me a couple times for coming out to see him play. I didn’t go to be nice, I went because I genuinely think the kid is talented. Looking forward to a full length record. The Fire is a tiny bar on Girard with a small stage. Raise up Roof Beams played there earlier in the year.

Lucy Stone at The North Star

I found Lucy through Brave Elephant (she sings on his track “Scared Soldiers”). She reminds me a little of Jenny Lewis and a little of Lindsay Baltus (I think that’s partially why I like her so much). She’s got a super powerful voice and she’s a total babe. And she’s only 20. Indie rockin’ pop at it’s finest. The North Star is a slightly bigger venue than most divey bar platforms in Philly. The Kalob Griffin band played there in late 2011. Their buffalo wings are pretty great. This show was funny though- all ages, we couldn’t drink our beers in the stage area, and most of the audience was eighteen years old.

Ben Smith at MilkBoy Philadelphia

The last time I saw Mr. Smith perform was late December 2005, at the Saturday Club in downtown Wayne. I remember this because it was the first time Eric Lewis and I ever kissed, which is something I had been waiting for for like, ever. I had seen Mr. Smith once before that- I think it was sophomore year of high school at The Point, in Bryn Mawr? Can anyone confirm this? “Ben” had a drummer who played pop music clips a la Selena and Justin (Bieber and Timberlake) between songs from his iPhone. From The Wise and Foolish Builders to Missing Palmer West, Ben Smith has kept consistent with his sound. Influences from Ryan Adams and Wilco. Real good and folky.

Let me know if you listen to any of these, okay? Maybe we can go to a show together.


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