June 16, 2015 |
ASSUME the position. As in, are you sitting down? Don't rule out seeing the one and only Andrew "Dice" Clay starring in an "Adventures of Ford Fairlane 2" in the near future. The Diceman is back to enchant us tomorrow night at the Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) and he's pulling no punches. But first - we give thanks to humble beginnings. "Whenever I meet someone from Philly, I say, it's your city that made me a star," Clay told me in a recent interview. "I was building a following there before anybody knew who I was. " Clay has deep roots in our City of Brotherly Love.
June 9, 2015 |
The complicated life and legal history of Dwight Grant - Beanie Sigel - South Philly's grittiest rapper and preeminent rep of its meanest streets - is etched in stone and repeated in newsprint. He's been Jay Z's best bud, label signee, and worst enemy (pals now since Beans and Hova reunited for May's Tidal B-Sides concert). He's got a stark, seven-album-deep solo career, and is forever a member of State Property with Freeway and other notorious Philly MCs. He's been arrested, jailed, and released, most recently in 2014, when he was shot and hospitalized.
April 15, 2015 |
Between 1965 and 1967, the Sonics - the wiggy garage rock toast of Tacoma, Wash. - made three blunt, gut-punching albums of raw bar-band primitivism. In the garage world, these wiry workouts were as crucial as those by the Seeds or 13th Floor Elevators. In a greater sense, the Sonics, led by epically unhinged vocalist Jerry Roslie, could out-punk Brit rivals in the Who if they set their minds to it - which they didn't, instead disintegrating by the 1960s' end. Roslie and fellow original Sonics Larry Parypa (guitar)
April 11, 2015 |
'Our whole bag, just like when we were 18, is to play hard and make the floor move. Hold on to something, because the Sonics are coming!" That's saxophonist Rob Lind's advice to anyone going to see the Sonics on Sunday night at the TLA. The band, which formed in Tacoma, Wash., in 1963, has just released its first album in nearly a half-century and is on its first tour of the United States. And these septuagenarians are ready to rock. Lind, guitarist Larry Parypa, and vocalist/keyboard player Jerry Roslie formed the Sonics in 1963, and they released three albums and a handful of singles between 1964 and 1967.
March 26, 2015 |
"PHILLY, y'all really in here?" About halfway through his May 28 concert last year, Jeff Bradshaw asked the Kimmel Center crew to turn the house lights up. The trombonist had no idea if the 2,500-seat Verizon Hall was sold out or not. He had been busy coordinating the schedules of a slew of artists - including the Roots' Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Take 6 and Trombone Shorty - to perform on the live album he'd record that night, "Home. " When the lights came on, Bradshaw scanned the theater upwards until his eyes reached the highest balcony.
March 14, 2015 |
It's likely that most who entered the TLA on Wednesday knew about Meghan Trainor's back-story. That's why her show was sold out, with kids, tweens, and parents drawn to the now-21-year-old's message, as well as her brand of merry synth-pop, doo-wop, and such. Trainor was a Nantucket-raised, plus-size teen dissed by girl frenemies and jock boys for not having a tall, stick-figure frame. Luckily, the young Trainor had confidence in her big talent: a brassy singing voice, a way with funny lyrics, a winning personality, and musical-theater panache.
March 13, 2015 |
In the middle of Jazmine Sullivan's sold-out show Tuesday at the Theatre of Living Arts, she asked her family to make some noise - and met with screams from the entire venue. "There's a lot of y'all!" she said with a laugh. And the R&B songstress' show was a family affair. Despite the red smoke, backup singers, and jazz band, there was a sense of intimacy, of being in her hometown. Family, fans, and fellow artists such as rapper Chill Moody and neo-soul duo the Kindred Family Soul, all Philly natives, were in the audience.
March 10, 2015 |
West Philly rapper Chill Moody has long offered locals a diet of challenging homey lyrics about growing up and out of the nest, agile, flowing vocal rhythms, and contagious electro-laced melodies. Moody's career trajectory - like Philly's other hip-hop success, Meek Mill, when he was in his rising-star phase - meant popular self-released mix-tapes, radio airplay, spots on Power 99 FM's Powerhouse showcase, and, in 2012, a sold-out show at Theater of Living Arts on the heels of his then-new album, #RFM . Moody is Philly rap's most special snowflake.
January 11, 2015 |
On Friday, Jan. 9, D.C. rapper Wale made Philadelphia the second stop on his Simply Nothing tour, as a prologue to the release of his fourth studio album, The Album About Nothing , scheduled for March 31. He played the TLA on Friday night. The title of The Album About Nothing is inspired by the television show Seinfield , which has been called "The Show About Nothing. " In fact, he collaborated with Jerry Seinfeld to create the album. Friday morning, Wale shared an open letter with his "Moonz": fans who "illuminate in the face of darkness when it's called for," as he said in an earlier letter.
January 4, 2015 |
Seeing the parody band Steel Panther - at a pre-New Year's Eve sell-out at the Theater of Living Arts on Tuesday - was an impressive, stupid, and perfect way to end 2014. At first glance, the show was just a pastiche of Hollywood glam-metal, circa 1981. The kiddish profanity of its albums (e.g., 2003's Hole Patrol ), the rude, oversexed lyrics, the exaggerated, rock-on antics, teased hair, and costumes mirroring the tacky metal lifestyle of the 1980s - all something of a joke. Or would be, except for the authenticity of the band's recorded output, and its powerful gigs with the (after all)