Typically, a glance at the overall list of shows coming to Philadelphia can be, at first, rather dismaying. Such is the case with this spring. But don’t fret; there are always quite a few diamonds in the rough.
Tomorrow night, January 26, sees Philly local Adam Brodsky doing a late set at Tin Angel (20th S. Second Street). What’s that? Never heard of him? Well it’d be in your best interest to plunk down $7 on his show before you plunk down $12 on his latest CD, Folk Remedy. The man’s a riot, but his irreverent anti-folk doesn’t translate well to record if you haven’t seen him perform first. Then on Saturday night John Spencer Blues Explosion drummer Russell Simins gives up some funky white-boy sounds at The North Star (27th and Poplar).
February is a good month for indie rock. Kicking it all off, Frank Black will be appearing at The North Star on February 2. True, his solo work is about as endearing as Sting’s post-Police work, but face it…this show is as close as any of us are going to get to seeing The Pixies. On February 9, jangly guitar popsters Luna make their yearly pilgrimage to Philly, this time at the Trocadero (10th and Arch) with Matt Pond PA. On the 10th, local mainstays Stargazer Lily hit Tin Angel. It should be interesting to see how their girl rock sound translates to this typically acoustic venue. Lo-fi kings turned arena rock hopefuls Guided By Voices play the TLA (334 South St.) on the 16th, and brilliant new britpop faces Doves round the month out on February 24th at Upstage (22 S. 3rd St.).
On the punk/ska front, the Electric Factory (or is it the SFX Factory?) has two decent shows on the bill for February. Face To Face, H2O, and Snapcase play on February 10. Then on the 19th, ska faves Less Than Jake appear fresh off their opening stint with Bon Jovi. This show may actually be more worthwhile for openers A New Found Glory, a promising new bunch in the emo-pop-punk world. In March, girl rock hits the Troc with this generation’s take on The Ramones, The Donnas, appearing with original riot grrrls Bratmobile on the 9th.
There are relatively few hip-hop/R&B offerings this spring, but what is coming looks pretty good. R&B/soul priestess Erykah Badu hits The Tower Theater (69th and Ludlow in Upper Darby) along with Talib Kweli on February 18. On February 22 the legendary rapper/producer Prince Paul rocks the Troc with the wacked-out MC Paul Barman. Outkast reportedly may have a two-night stand at the Tower on March 3 and 4, following on the tail of last year’s phenomenal Stankonia; Ludacris opens.
The Metal world has quite a lot to be happy about this spring with the Sno-Core Rock tour (featuring Fear Factory, Kittie, Union Underground and Slaves On Dope) bringing Valentine’s Day cheer to the Electric Factory. A Perfect Circle hits the E-Center on March 4, which should be quite a feat seeing as how Maynard James Keenan’s main squeeze (read: Tool) dishes out a new disc on April 17. And Pantera makes up for the “shoulda-happened-in-96” tour with Sepultura by playing with Max Cavalera’s new act, Soulfly, on March 11th at the First Union Center.
And finally in the category of “shows that are already sold out so if you want tickets you will have to find a scalper”: first and foremost there’s Richard Ashcroft playing songs from his first post-Verve solo album at the TLA on January 31. Weezer’s March 3rd gig at the Electric Factory sold out in less than 15 minutes thanks to a shady internet pre-sale, and U2’s triumphant return to indoor arena rock at the First Union Center with PJ Harvey (June 11th and 12th) is also a wrap up. But don’t let these few sell-outs get you down…there’s plenty of cool stuff coming around this spring.