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ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 2004 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
It was a downright sin that so few people - less than 70 - witnessed the prayerful soul power of Mavis Staples at the TLA. Chilling rains might have kept crowds from Thursday's display of rough, godly R&B and hickory-switch gospel, but Staples didn't care. "If there was only one of you, I'd still sing," said Staples, who is 64. "I didn't come to Philly to frown. We're going to rejoice. " Guided by her deep voice's scuffed lows, tattered holy highs, and sexy, modulated twitches, Staples did more than rejoice.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 1995 | By Larry Kay, FOR THE INQUIRER
Most side projects from artists in huge bands prove to be quickly forgotten affairs, little more than massive doses of ego-stroking that leave the listener wondering why the effort was made in the first place. Similarly, the side project album from Guns N' Roses lead guitarist Slash - Slash's Snakepit's (It's Five O'Clock Somewhere) - was way off-target. But on Wednesday at the TLA, the live side of the band managed to hit its mark. "The Pit," as they refer to themselves, is an all-star aggregation of sorts.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 31, 1995 | By A.D. Amorosi, FOR THE INQUIRER
Watch as Keanu sweats! Thrill as Keanu grins! And grow wildly alarmed as Keanu points! You may imagine those exclamations as advertisements for the next Keanu Reeves film venture. This time though, however, Reeves is not the goofy adventurer, the hulky cop, or the cyber-messenger. This time, Keanu is just the bassist for a still-unsigned band - Dogstar - that sold out the Theater of Living Arts on Saturday night. But as he casually exits his taxi and unloads his own bass upon arriving at the back of the TLA, we see from the almost exclusively female drove of fans who stand frozen in the humidity awaiting their hero that Reeves is not just any old bassist.
NEWS
October 21, 1991 | By Sam Wood, Special to The Inquirer
Saturday night's show at the TLA was called "Women's Voices. " It would have been just as accurate to call it "An Evening With a Couple of America's Best Songwriters. " Nanci Griffith, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, and Beth Nielsen Chapman re-created the warmth of an old-fashioned song-circle. In round-robin fashion, each took turns in the spotlight. Griffith clearly owned the house. Each of the six songs she performed won rounds of rapturous applause. Inspired by Wim Wenders' film Wings of Desire, "If Wishes Were Changes" was typical of her highly burnished style.
NEWS
April 9, 1991 | By Tom Moon, Inquirer Music Critic
If Roger McGuinn's sold-out show at the Theater of Living Arts last night was intended to celebrate the recent creative renaissance of a seminal rock artist, it was less than successful. But if it was designed to prove McGuinn's influence on popular music, the show made its point. Though two opening acts - the Wisconsin quartet Another Carnival and the Florida-based quartet The Headlights (which served as McGuinn's backing band) - offered only tepid and tired original songs, they could not disguise their admiration for the Byrds and their effervescent jingle-jangle pop-rock.
NEWS
October 15, 1990 | By Kevin L. Carter, Inquirer Staff Writer
From the Hollywood Hills or the cabin of an airplane, Los Angeles at night is beautiful, its lights shimmering as far as the eye can see. But when you get deep into town, L.A. at night is drab, lifeless and, in places, downright ugly. This is the L.A. of films such as Repo Man and Miracle Mile. It is also the L.A. of David Baerwald, who, backed by his six-piece band, sang of his home town Saturday night at the Theater of Living Arts. Baerwald is a gaunt, frail man, and his lean, angular face and physique gives him the look of a hungry coyote.
NEWS
November 17, 1990 | By Dan DeLuca, Special to The Inquirer
It doesn't seem right to call someone as happy as Charles Brown a blues singer. The 68-year-old pianist, whose show at the Theater of Living Arts last night was an impeccably played - somewhat overly showy - affair, is so pleased these days that he can't stop himself from grinning from ear to ear even when singing a line like: "No one cares about me, ain't got a friend" or contemplating jumping off a bridge in song. But then, he's got plenty of reason to be upbeat. Forty-five years after first hitting the R&B charts, his interpretive powers are undimmed.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 2, 1996 | By Dan DeLuca, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It would be silly to call Mazzy Star boring. Of course they're boring: The exploration of boredom, despair and emotional paralysis is the Los Angeles band's reason for being. Mazzy Star fans know they're in for one after-the-party downer after the next, and they like it that way. Bracing myself, I slurped down a double latte before their show at the TLA on Saturday, but was still stifling yawns by the fifth song. Here's the Mazzy formula: Singer Hope Sandoval stands motionless in the dark, perpetually pouting in her shimmering party dress, a Lolita lost in a post-prom haze.
NEWS
April 7, 1990 | By Dan DeLuca, Special to The Inquirer
The Roches - sisters Maggie, Terre and Suzzy, who played before a sold-out crowd at the Theater of Living Arts last night - have been concocting their eclectic brand of folk music for 15 years now. Relying on acoustic guitars, breathtakingly odd harmonies and unobtrusive synthesizers, the sisters sing songs of romantic struggle that walk a line between poignancy and being too clever for their own good. The Roches have always resisted the temptation to trim their eccentric, poetic lyrics into placard-sized slogans or iron the quirks out of their music.
NEWS
May 14, 2012 | By Steve Klinge, FOR THE INQUIRER
In Spiritualized, Jason Pierce uses minimalism for maximum effect. Most of the songs during the band's 130-minute performance Friday night at the Theater of Living Arts built on a one- or two-chord guitar riff, but they became majestic, inspiring monuments. Pierce's roots are in psychedelic rock (going back to the '80s, when he called himself J. Spaceman in the British band Spacemen 3) and in the Velvet Underground (the new Sweet Heart Sweet Light and its lead track, "Hey Jane," jumble the titles of VU's White Light White Heat and "Sweet Jane")
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 16, 2015 | By Jenny DeHuff
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 nearĀ 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.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 15, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 11, 2015 | By Steve Klinge, For The Inquirer
'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.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 26, 2015 | BY JENELLE JANCI, Daily News Staff Writer jancij@phillynews.com, 215-568-5906
"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.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | By Sofiya Ballin, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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.
NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Sofiya Ballin, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
January 4, 2015 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
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)
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