Having been to a few live hip hop shows, I don’t have much desire to see more. There’s a DJ not doing much, one or two rappers, and maybe a hype man. So even if the music sounds good, the shows are usually really boring. Public Enemy defies these norms. Their live show is electric, politically-charged, and visually very entertaining.
There’s so much happening onstage that it’s hard to know where to look. The S1Ws moving in unison, posing militaristically and periodically doing push-ups, DJ Lord spinning from on high, live guitar, bass, and drums, Professor Griff prowling the stage with his customary stern glare, Flavor Flav being goofy and wild cementing his reputation as the greatest hype man ever, and Chuck D bouncing around, swinging his mic like a bat, all the while commanding the stage like the hip hop preacher the world still greatly needs. At one point he reminded the crowd that Pennsylvania is spending more money on prisons than education. Angry boos followed.
For all the gravity of the politically charged show, Flav closed the show with a message of love. He encouraged the crowd to raise their hands and first make the sign of peace and then make a fist. “This stands for peace and togetherness. Make a fist like this, this stands for power. With peace and togetherness, we will all have so much power. If we all stuck together and built a wall of unity, it would be so strong, no others could drop in and tear down what we got.”
I was excited to attend and photograph this show for a few reasons. First, it meant a road trip from DC to Philly. I love road trips. Second, I’d enjoy a cheese steak. And third, I’d get some quality photo time mere feet away from Dave Navarro, a talented and beautiful man.
Everything was going according to plan until I arrived at the venue. The tour management made some last-minute changes. The security barrier near the stage was removed, so there would be no up-close photography, which meant no seducing Dave from the photo pit. Alas. On top of that, photography was limited to the sound board, which was not elevated. The other photographers left. They were either too short to even attempt to shoot over people’s heads from the back or they didn’t have a big lens. I doubled down, determined to make it work.
Living Colour opened and they sounded great. They were very clearly enjoying themselves and in turn, the crowd was engaged and feeling it. I had to stop shooting after the third song and instead of watching the rest of their set, I put on my hustling shoes and tried to work with various members of the Fillmore event crew to finagle a better spot to shoot. A fellow named Eric was particularly helpful, trying to find me at least a stool to stand on. No dice. I gave up and returned to see the last song, “Cult of Personality.” It sounded exactly the way I wanted it to. Tight musicianship, dynamite vocals.
The Tower Theater in Philadelphia played host to some of the world’s greatest guitar talents this past Thursday. Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi are Generation Axe.
The night began with all five guitar gods on stage together for an all-star jam, then up first was a solo set by Animals as Leaders guitarist Tobin Abasi which really got the crowd primed. For the last song of his set Nuno Bettencourt came out and played alongside him. Seamlessly it transitioned to Nuno’s solo set which included classics from Extreme’s catalog as well as his iconic rendition of “Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee.”
Next was the always entertaining Zakk Wylde. Zakk changed things up a bit when he decided midway through the Sabbath classic “NIB” that he was going to play from the audience. Zakk spent almost half of his solo set in the middle of the crowd walking up and down the aisles of the crowded Tower Theatre. Wylde was truly the crowd favorite, and I must say if Zakk Wylde wasn’t such an amazing player, he should look into stand-up comedy because he has some of the funniest on-stage banter I have ever heard.
Jonathan Richman has been known to play some pretty unpredictable shows over the years, but few as unusual as his appearance Wednesday at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. There, the onetime founder of the Modern Lovers was wrapping up a series featuring bands, including Television and Luna, whose DNA could be traced directly to the band Warhol helped shape, the Velvet Underground.
Richman, appearing on a stark stage with his longtime percussionist Tommy Larkins, said he met Warhol about a half-dozen times when he was a teen, a fan of the Velvets and curious about Warhol’s art.
“I’m afraid I don’t get it,” the young Richman told the pop artist of his work.
“Yes, you do,” Warhol replied.
And so he did, certainly grasping, he says, the colors of the soup cans and Brillo boxes (he marvels at supermarket aisles for product colors too, he said). In the museum, he said he finally understood the floating Mylar pillows in his “Clouds” piece. And though he didn’t understand the films of stationary objects at the time, he says he now gets their textures and subtlety.
Richmond says he was spooked by being in the museum amid so much Warhol work—and spooked too about saying he hadn’t seen some of it for half a century. He was also likely rattled by being interviewed by museum staff earlier in the day—he’s not a guy who takes to interviews well.
For any of the naysayers out there who think that rock is dead, Rock Allegiance just proved you wrong. Saturday’s festival in Chester, PA hosted two side by side main stages and a tent stage featuring some of hard rock and heavy metal’s finest.
Rob Zombie, Korn, Godsmack, and Five Finger Death Punch topped the evening’s bill and was rounded out with support from Papa Roach, Butcher Babies, PopEvil, Bring Me the Horizon, and my current favorites Atreyu and In This Moment. This line up had something for everyone—including an on-site after party hosted by Steel Panther.
Gourmet food trucks provided nourishment for the event which was a huge breath of fresh air compared to the usual festival afterthoughts. An outdoor music festival in the cool autumn air of October was also a refreshing change from the sweltering heat of other rock festivals like Mayhem and the Warped tour.
This was easily one for the record books and it was great to hear that they plan on doing it again next year—and given sold out crowd, they would be crazy not to. This was hands down one of the best-managed festivals this reviewer has ever gone to. Check out some of the sights below and support this festival next year. You will be glad you did.
We sent TVD’s Doug Seymour to the Langhorne Slim & The Law’s show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on September 16th to shoot the band who are currently on the road promoting their brand new release, The Spirit Moves—available on CD and vinyl from Dualtone Records.
Frankly, these guys put on one of the best live shows out there—miss them at your peril. Check out Seymour’s photos taken during sound check and the show. —Ed.
Fresh off their Lollapalooza performance in Chicago, the Delta Spirit & Friends tour performed on the World Café Live / WXPN stage in Philadelphia on August 5th, 2015. Our own Doug Seymour was there to cover the evening and capture moments during sound check, backstage, and the performance itself.
Delta Spirit was joined on stage by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, and Mike Weiss of Mewithoutyou. Former drummer for Rosu Lup, Jonny Miller made an appearance as well.
After a hiatus of almost 20 years, May 15 marked the return of Faith No More to the Electric Factory in Philly.
Opening the set with their new single “Motherfucker,” Faith No More, clad in all white and surrounded by an ocean of flowers, showed no signs of being 20 years older. The band supplied cuts off of every album in their catalog and still managed to fit in a few covers, such as the Commodores’ “Easy” and the Bee Gees’ “I Started a Joke,” which ended the night. New songs like “Sunny Side Up,” ” Superhero,” and “Sol Invictus” where scattered amongst fan favorites like “Midlife Crisis,” ” Be Aggressive,” and “Surprise You’re Dead.”
They even managed to throw in “We Care A Lot” from the 1985 album of the same name, which originally featured Chuck Mosley on vocals before long-time frontman Mike Patton joined the band.
To put it mildly, Friday nights show was nothing short of epic. (Pun intended.)
The Boston, MA record label has put together four of their brightest up and coming bands for their first ever label tour and things kick off tonight at the Barbary!
It’s hard to believe that until now, Topshelf Records has yet to sponsor their very own tour. The relatively young upstart from New England has kept themselves very busy seemingly since Day 1. In only a few short years, they have become one of the most well-known and beloved labels in the punk scene. A number of their releases have already become wildly regarded to as classics.
For two weeks in September and October, Topshelf Records are sending A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Diamond Youth, Prawn, and Field Mouse out on the road together. In celebration of the occasion, a special 7″ featuring one song from each band has been pressed and will be available at every stop. Check out every song from the split at the end of the article!
“I think people who really love and are passionate about music often times want the process of listening to it be more physical, like actually having to take a record off the shelf. I know I’m that way…”
Austin emo legends Mineral released two albums, The Power of Failing and EndSerenading, before disbanding in 1997. The four piece were at the beginning of their relationship with Interscope Records when the friends from Texas decided to go their separate ways. In the years since, numerous bands have cited Mineral’s lone pair of records as influences, their songs providing a cornerstone in the emo and punk music scenes.
2014 marks the 20th anniversary for the band and to celebrate they have regrouped to hit the road again. Mineral have not shared the same stage in 16 years and it’s been almost as long since some members have spoken. However, Chris Simpson, Scott McCarver, Jeremy Gomez, and Gabriel Wiley have been practicing and rehearsing since the beginning of the year in preparation for hitting the road which will keep them busy through the beginning of November. Mineral never properly toured behind their second album EndSerenading as they broke up before the opportunity arose, so fans will finally get to hear those songs live for the very first time.
The band kicked off their current tour with four consecutive sold out shows in New York City, and as they make their way down the East coast this week, they will play Union Transfer on Thursday, September 11 with Into It. Over It. I was caught up with singer/ guitarist Chris Simpson to get the scoop behind Mineral’s reunion.