March 17, 2015 |
With much of musical Philly in dusty Texas for the annual South by Southwest fest, it's only fair that we had the Lone Star State's fattest calf - the toast of Houston, ZZ Top - on righteous display Saturday, and in an intimate setting to boot, the Electric Factory. That it happened to be the same evening Philly, Irish or not, was celebrating St. Patrick's Day only made the sold-out show's throng rowdier and ever more Erin Go Braghish. That's an atmosphere just ripe for a ZZ Top party.
February 17, 2015 |
The question "Whatever happened to 50 Cent?," if not answered, was entertained, entertainingly, during Friday's show at the Electric Factory with longtime pals G-Unit. In the early 2000s, the often-shot drug-dealer-turned-gangsta-rapper from Queens went from zero to 100 after signing with Eminem's label and selling a gagillion copies of the hard, loping single "In Da Club" and the album Get Rich or Die Tryin '. Known for his menacing low register and diabolical delivery, Fiddy and G-Unit (Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Kidd Kidd)
February 15, 2015 |
If you're going to have a big arena-rock sound at this point in pop music's history, and you're not actually on an arena-size stage, you'd better have a way to sound big. The four brothers from South Africa who make up Kongos had to do that several ways at Electric Factory on Thursday night. First, these smooth-singing sons of South African vocalist-songwriter John Kongos - guitarist Daniel, bassist Dylan, drummer Jesse, and keyboardist and accordionist Johnny - had brotherhood. Their rich, high harmonies, on the pugnacious "I'm Only Joking" surely came from years spent sharing bedrooms and bathrooms, to say nothing of studios and stages.
January 22, 2015 |
Since the 1990s, Marilyn Manson has crafted for himself an image as an "Antichrist superstar. " Each of his incendiary albums is a sonic blast filled with fear and loathing that would turn his hero, Hunter S. Thompson, absinthe- green with envy. His recent effort The Pale Emperor brings him to the Electric Factory on Friday. It's Manson's bluesiest and most focused melodic effort, loaded with hard, icy lyrics about Robert Johnson-like devils beneath his feet, killing strangers, and weeklong binges.
December 21, 2014 |
After three transfixing selections of Scandinavian art-metal before a rapt Electric Factory crowd on Wednesday, Mikael Åkerfeldt, the mustached singer-guitarist-composer for the Swedish band Opeth, delivered some spot-on if understated banter: "As usual, we don't have much to offer other than five middle-aged guys playing rock, dazzling displays of lights, and a good sound. " In 11 studio albums over nearly 25 years, Opeth has offered perhaps the most fascinating evolution in global hard rock.
November 17, 2014 |
With all the troubles Ms. Lauryn Hill, (as she insists) has put herself through, nothing matters except how she sounds, and that she sounds at all. A tax-evasion prison stint, missed recording deadlines, showing up late for gigs - these mean little when it comes to the continuing adventures in the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (to quote the 1998 multi-platinum solo album from the onetime Fugee). Before Hill's show Saturday at the Electric Factory with opener/friend the socio-conscious MC Talib Kweli, the question was: What would she sound like?
September 30, 2014 |
It's no secret the Disco Biscuits love to play. Formed at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995, named for the '70s feel-good drug Quaalude, the Biscuits merged the jam-band form familiar from the Grateful Dead and the all-day-all-night sensibilities of a techno-tronic rave with electronic beats and boings to match. Along with launching Camp Bisco's music festival for improvisational bands and DJs in Upstate New York, the Biscuits play mini-fests, called City Bisco, where they take over your town and several venues for a stretch.
April 18, 2014 |
A young woman moves from the Philadelphia area to Los Angeles, where she waitresses her way through the music business until a mutual friend of hers and the producers of Fox Television's So You Think You Can Dance uses her emotional song "Jar of Hearts" during its broadcast. " Stardom ensues. We're talking about Christina Perri, who hits the Electric Factory on Saturday night. That honey-voiced single sells 3 million-plus copies, she releases her debut 2011 album, Lovestrong , places her song "A Thousand Years" in the film The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn in 2012, and tours relentlessly to sold-out crowds.
April 1, 2014 |
Despite Donald Glover's pedigree as a writer for 30 Rock and his starring role on Community , there's nothing funny about his rap alter ego, Childish Gambino, and albums like Camp . Caustically witty and weirdly metaphorical with an oddly jagged sound track, yes, but hardly the stuff of stand-up or sketch comedy. Then again, during Gambino's Electric Factory show Friday, you couldn't help sensing this was performance art, with its drawing-room set and e-speak projections in accordance with the backstory of his album Because the Internet of a tweet-happy socialite bugging out in his mansion.
February 4, 2014 |
One of the remarkable things about Philadelphia's Dr. Dog - and there are plenty - is how and what this band has changed, and kept the same, since its start in the late 1990s. Singer-songwriters Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken (who started their partnership under the name Raccoon), along with keyboardist Zach Miller, began their lives as Dogs with a low-fi, pop-psychedelic aesthetic and silly chord changes reflecting their dippy lyrics. Today, there's nothing low-fidelity or daffy about Dr. Dog's words or its grand, aggressive chamber-psych sound - be it the shaggy Be the Void of 2012 or 2013's B-Room , the latter album rich with the plush feel of Philly soul at its most lustrously harmonic.