I didn’t do quite as much crazy seenery this past week, but in making it an eight-day week of scenery I made this post extra-long.
Oh, also? I’m an obsessive-compulsive singer/songwriter/lunatic who had kinda forgotten why he was a journalism major.
I quite explicitly did not do any kind of scene seeing over the weekend, save for a brief interlude at K&L’s housewarming party, where every person from every part of my life all collided in one shiny-drunk lump. Seriously, it could have only been odder if my mother was there. Still, much fun had.
Every Wednesday: LP Open Mic @ Intermezzo (3141 Walnut)
Hosting an open mic is a nervous endeavor. Sometimes it seems as though no one will show up, yet you find the lineup extending past closing time. On other occasions the room seems full, but you still wind up vamping for an hour by yourself at the end of the night.
Every Monday: Open Jam @ Connie’s Ric Rac (9th just under Washington)
Take note of this momentous occasion – I went to an open mic that I don’t host for two consecutive weeks. In fact, next week I’ll probably be back for a third.
Why? Because Connie’s Ric Rac is like Cheers with a 1000 watt sound system and a pet snake. Everyone wants to know your name, and they all hush up when you play a quiet song.
I’ve met Matt Teacher once before, and in that venue he was introduced to me as a songwriter, but at present he mostly plays and records with bands in Sine Studios, where he is the owner and engineer along with best friend Mike.
Similar to Gina and I, the two of them connected in the eight grade – with the difference being that they connected as a band right away and knew by high school graduation that they wanted a career in music. They attended college separately and came back together to open Sine Studios. It looks ultra-nifty from their website, and at 22nd and Walnut it’s virtually around the corner from my office .
Matt and I talked about our endless acquisition of recording gear and how in high school I used to sample too low and wind up sounding like The Chipmunks when I tried to burn a CD. Although he was perhaps too humble to mention running Bon Jovi’s protools rig the last time he played Philly, Matt did cop to recording the Sleepwells disc, as well as working with Lickety Split host Dani Mari, and Ric Rac’s house band The Discount Heroes.
When I pressed him as to whether the in-the-family recording roster meant Sine might also be a label, he demurred: “We’re working in that direction.”
Having done some basic flexing of journalistic muscles I thought had permanently atrophied since college, I pushed my luck a bit and asked if I might stop by for a tour sometime. Matt, being awesome, one-upped me and said I should aim to come to one of the studio barbecues over the summer.
I detest making so facile a comparison as to Stevie Wonder, as Aaron Brown’s delivery leaps across the R&B divide to rock in an instant, as on the stuttering 6/8 tune he delivered mid-set (“fragile”?). It’s as if Adam Levine from Maroon 5 could actually sing as well live as he does on the record, and then decided to cover an obscure Rufus Wainwright take on a Stevie Wonder song. That’s what Aaron sounds like.
The great thing about Ric Rac is that it’s got a big stage, complete with amps and a kit. Bands just get up and go. In that vein, I loved loved loved Try Angles – a two-piece playing a blues stomp that I am journalistically required to compare to White Stripes. Except, I actually like Try Angles – there’s meat underneath the riffs, aerobic and thick. A new unfinished song fucking leapt across the stage for our necks in a tangle of blues and prog. And, I DON’T EVEN LIKE THIS KIND OF THING.
I briefly quizzed drummer Adam after their set. What was their deal? How did they compel me to like them so much?
Apparently singer Matt C. has done his singer/songwriter thing for an eternity, but Adam added himself just in September to create their special alchemy. Adam professed love for jazz and Zappa, and I honestly believe they both come through in his skin pounding. Also, he was just a nice dude – when I expanded on my recent wedding he said he wanted to do a dance because I have good music and a good life.
Seriously, Ric Rac is Good People.
(Good lord, can you imagine if I start bringing my laptop to every open mic, going all embedded journalist on all the natives? Can you seriously keep up with a 3000+ word weekly column?)
Tuesday: I took a nap
It was awesome.
Every Wednesday: LP Open Mic @ Intermezzo (3141 Walnut)
Yes, we’ve circled all the way back to Intermezzo, with Gina hosting this iteration.
This week was more of the unexpected – a full house of Lyndzapalooza artists – Gina and I (both solo!), my new client Joshua Popejoy, Aaron Brown (again!), Brian Flanagan (playing awesome new tunes), and John Glaubitz (who we did not manage to tempt to play).
I’ll spare you the rapturous rapture about these guys – they’re all great. They kept our guests pinned to their chairs for the duration of the evening until AC took over to play to a small-but-appreciative crowd of stragglers. We nailed a particularly impressive “Don’t You Want Me” – I was in super-good vocal shape, which I further flaunted by singing an additional solo set of “Like a Virgin,” “Since U Been Gone,” my new “Message,” and an acappella verse and chorus of “Take on Me.”
We closed down the shop with “Noncommittal” and chat of breaking the fourth wall, and headed back to the car.
There are seemingly a thousand shows that I want to see tomorrow night, so I’m thinking you should go to some of the ones I can’t make it to.
Melodic hard-rockers Tremor will be at JR’s bar @ 22nd and Passyunk. Personal favorite Up the Chain splits a bill with The Great Unkown @ JD McGillicuddy’s, 2626 County Line Road in Ardmore. Alexandra Day opens for Kate-fav Carsie Blanton at Barrington Coffee House
As for myself and Gina, we will be installed at the esteemed Ric Rac to catch The Discount Heroes monthly showcase, a stellar bill of Blueberry Magee and His Hot Five, Shackamaxon, and Hezekiah Jones. It’s only $10, rather than the kidney or lung you might expect to contribute to gain entrance into such a show.
Next week I’ll be hitting Ric Rac again on Monday for Katie’s February swan-song, as well as maybe Time at 13th and Sansom on Tuesday, but if I find some ambition I could truck up to The Draught Horse on Temple’s campus to hang out with LP Artist Josh Albright at his new open mic.
Alternately, if you’re free on Tuesday you can head down to The Shubin Theatre at 4th and Bainbridge to catch Gina in a debut reading of a play by Mark Wolverton based on his recent biographical novel A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Then, on Wednesday you should join me at Chris’s Jazz Cafe at Broad & Sansom at 5pm sharp to catch the beautiful and always amazing Alexandra Day play a special happy-hour set, after which you should catch a trolley up to Intermezzo to hit our open mic, as hosted by the girl who put the Lyndz in Lyndzapalooza, Lindsay Wilhelmi.
Finally, a few future plugs: Dante Bucci @ Tin Angel on 3/22. Brian Flanagan playing a set on a bill with our buddies Year Long Day @ Tin Angel on 3/25. The two foremost hang players on earth – one of whom happens to be Dante Bucci, the other being Many Delago – at Milkboy on 4/22.
In other news…
I’ll end with a bit of good news / bad news.
Bad first: we’re actually not doing a show on 2/28 with Joshua Popejoy. It’s slightly disappointing, but it leads to good news: we can promote our amazing seventh annual spring music festival for three entire months without another gig stealing it’s thunder.
So: This year the festival is on Saturday, May 16, and it is called BYMfest (AKA Back Yard Music Festival, an ironic title seeing as this is the first year it will be held at Snipes Farm, rather than an actual back yard). BYMfest will feature eight solid hours of music. So far the lineup includes Arcati Crisis, Joshua Popejoy, Reed Kendall of Up the Chain, Suzie Brown, and Sisters 3.
Honestly, that’s already a bill I would pay dozens of dollars for, and it’s only HALF FULL. Check the Seen on the Scene action next week for further bill announcements, and a presale link where you can buy tickets for $15.
Seriously, I kid you not, $15. That’s a half hour of music for every dollar. You can’t even steal music for that cheap.
Mark your calendar right now. Seriously. Don’t even read the byline until you’ve marked it.