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Phantogram with Lia Ices @ Union Transfer.

October 22, 2014

phantogram15-1Text and images by Mina Lee.

Union Transfer was packed for Phantogram‘s second sold out show of the weekend on Sunday.

The crowd was warmed up by the dreamy, hypnotic sounds of Lia Ices. They swayed to her ethereal vocals, which were accompanied by feverish instrumentals from her two brothers. By the end of Lia Ices’ set, the diverse crowd was ready to dance and sweat it out to Phantogram‘s high-energy electronic rock sounds.

Phantogram‘s hits, like “Fall in Love” and “Blackout Days,” were performed before a trance-inducing light show. Surrounded by fog and mirrors, the act was flawlessly precise, successfully creating a memorable night for their fans.

Universal Schools: The Sound of Education.

October 21, 2014

Universal02Text and images by Laura Newberry.

The kindergarteners lay like planks on the carpeted floor of the darkened classroom. The first notes of Coldplay’s “Fix You” play as Kendra Balmer tells the kids to keep their hands to themselves. They’re inches away from one another.

Balmer, their teacher, directs a laser pointer at the ceiling. Each time the red dot hits one of the industrial box lights, the kids clap.

“When you try your best and you don’t succeed.”


“When you get what you want and not what you need.”


It’s hard to imagine 5-year-olds meditating– but that’s almost what it looks like they’re doing.

“I want them to feel comfortable here,” Balmer says of her pupils after they leave for the day. “They don’t have to think about anything else for 45 minutes except having fun, being in an environment where they aren’t judged.”

The kindergarten through sixth grade students who attend Universal Daroff Charter School are mostly black and 99 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

That’s true across the board for the 11 charter schools run by Universal Companies, a community development organization founded by Philly music legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Kenny Gamble. Most of the companies’ schools were acquired within the past five years.

Despite Gamble’s background, the actual music programs for Universal Schools are still getting off the ground. That’s mainly due to a funding gap – an unfortunate reality many schools face, and made worse by the fact that charter schools receive only 75 percent of the funding that public schools do. Several of the schools were taken over by Universal in June 2013, so programs are being built from the ground up.

Read more…

St. Paul and The Broken Bones @ The Electric Factory.

October 20, 2014

StPaulBrokenBones02Text and images by Jumah Chaguan.

The microphone took a beating Saturday night as St. Paul and The Broken Bones took to the Electric Factory stage. Lead singer Paul Janeway belted his vocal chords and soul away.

Janeway, who once mowed lawns and came close to completing an accounting degree, sang his blue-eyed soul with such passion and pain while flashing his teeth to the crowd. His accountant-like appearance is a paradox on stage. He balances on one foot and then gyrates, only to succumb to his knees like a preacher taken by the spirit.

“James Brown!” yelled a concertgoer.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones are far removed from singing the sexy songs by James Brown. Instead, the band’s lyrics are lessons in how to live with the downs of love loss. Their album Half the City is composed for one kind of audience: the unrequited souls in need of more time.

Those who are hungry for catharsis don’t need to look any further. St. Paul and The Broken Bones deliver with soulful fidelity. Being in pain never sounded so good. The band has struck the right chord. Their show tomorrow in Boston is already sold out.

New Found Glory @ The TLA.

October 20, 2014

nfg1-1Text by Gabi Chepurny. Images by Mina Lee.

The 5th annual Glamour Kills Tour brought some serious pop punk to the TLA last Wednesday night.

Candy Hearts drew a surprisingly large crowd for an opening band but halfway through their performance there was no wonder why so many were in attendance. The group from the New Jersey/New York area, (we assume this means they don’t want to admit to being from Jersey) played the music of every broken-hearted teenagers dreams and managed to get their audience on its feet and dancing in 20 minutes flat. Read more…

Francisco Collazo: “I Love Playing Live Because That’s When I’m at My Best.”

October 17, 2014

Here’s the latest installment of our monthly mixtape series, which is curated by GUN$ Garcia. Today she brings us Francisco Collazo, the host of the goodie parties that happen around town, with regular nights at The Dolphin.

Our Teresa McCullough spoke with Francisco about his parties, his music and his large feet.

-1Between DJing, promoting events and doing sound for other events, when do you sleep?

I rest as much as possible on Mondays and Tuesdays. Otherwise I have very long days and nights. It’s a sprint, and a marathon but I have a lot of passion for what I do, so that fuels the fire. To be perfectly honest, it is a very busy schedule to maintain and I’m no Superman. I do get burned out from time to time and have to take vacations pretty frequently.

I heard you wear abnormally large sneakers. What is that struggle like?

The struggle is real! I have a very limited selection of sneakers that I can purchase. Especially in person, I literally get laughed at whenever I go into a store and ask them, “Do you have anything in a size 15?” It’s a very sad life I live.

How is your mixtape different from your live sets?

When playing live, I’m feeding off the energy of the crowd, depending on the time of my set and the particular atmosphere. That leads me in the direction of the story I’m telling. I honestly don’t think I’m good at making mixtapes. I love playing live because that’s when I’m at my best. DJing for as long and as often as I do, it’s very difficult to create energy when you’re home alone to make a mixtape. I haven’t practiced in my home for more than 7 or 8 years. I just listen to music constantly to learn it. This is the first mixtape I’ve made in a couple years. But, when making a mixtape, you’re in the lead and can pretty much tell your own story. It’s all about you, and not them (the live crowd), which can be creatively satisfying.

What can we expect on this new mixtape?

I’m going to make it a little weird but still accessible enough and clubby for the average dance music enthusiast. It’s definitely going to be underground, and a well thought out representation of what you would hear at a goodie party held at The Dolphin. We call it “deep techno vibes,” which is mainly tech house. But we also play some dubby tracks, full on banging techno and actually songs with some choice beautiful vocals. We’re not minimalist. We understand. We vibe together!

If you had to describe goodie in a sentence or a haiku, how would you portray it?

Hmmm … It merely started out as an outlet for me to play a different style of music. I think that was the same for my partner Rob Paine. We both had our other successful house music events (Sundae & The Shakedown) that have been running for more than a decade each. We both had the hunger represent ourselves differently. Let me actually answer the question now, haha: goodie is a forward thinking underground dance party.

Tell us about the next goodie parties you have lined up…when / where / guests?

goodie is currently being held every third Friday at The Dolphin Tavern. For the next few months, we’ll be at The Dolphin Tavern on Friday, November 21st and December 19th. Plus we have plans for one of our special events on New Year’s Eve, and New Years Day. We typically – and very fortunately – don’t book many guest DJs. Rob Paine and I play the majority of our events. We’ve been able to build up the vibes with just the 2 of us, which is very satisfying.

Biggie or Tupac?

Biggie all day, everyday!

Flying Lotus @ The Tower Theatre With Thundercat.

October 17, 2014

flying_lotus_7Text by Daniel DiRugeris. Images by Teresa McCullough.

Flying Lotus announced our deaths at the Tower Theatre on Tuesday.

“So, Philly,” said Flying Lotus, otherwise known as Steven Ellison, “I would like to inform you: you’re already dead.”

His brand new album You’re Dead! has received some spectacular reviews and the artist’s direction – plus his well-known visuals – were amazing to see live on stage. Even if you are not a fan, the music and the atmosphere made it so comfortable for anyone.

FlyLo stood in a box-like stage, surrounded by heavy bass, frantic lighting and animation flashed on a large screen behind him. He performed tracks from the new album, as well as from Cosmogramma and Until The Quiet Comes.

His rapper alter-ego, Captain Murphy, also took the stage, singing and interacting with the audience.

Flying Lotus ended the show with “Never Catch Me,” which features Kendrick Lamar on the new album.

Thundercat, FlyLo’s right hand man on many of his recent albums, opened the show, performing several tunes from his 2013 album Apocalypse. Accompanied by a keyboard player and drummer, Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) jammed on his bass for 45 minutes while wearing an animal pelt over his head.


The Orwells and SKATERS @ Underground Arts.

October 16, 2014

Orwells_010Text by Emily Scott. Images by Chris Fascenelli.

The crowd was a young one at Underground Arts on Monday, which is nothing new for the Chicago-area rock quintet, The Orwells.

Read more…


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