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Make Music Philly @ Molestice with Biadazminae, De Tierra Caliente , Black Dirty and More.

June 24, 2014

DeTierraCaliente04Text and image by Tyler Horst.

Make Music Philly day was in full swing all over the city on Saturday, even in the places that are harder to find. The Molestice block party may have offered it’s longstanding private tradition to a wider audience but it didn’t lose any of its intimate charm.

Mole Street, hidden between Race and Cherry, is an oasis of quiet in the middle of Center City. The big trees sprouting up from the sidewalk blanket the tiny block in calm, making it seem unbelievable that City Hall is only a few streets away. It’s got the quaint neighborhood vibe of the kind of place where you’d actually know the name of the person living next door, and the Molestice block party has been fostering that sense of community for 35 years.

Molestice teamed up with Make Music Philly this year to celebrate the summer solstice with a great mix of bands and a big keg of beer. What more is there to want from a block party?

Things kicked off at noon with singer/songwriter Brian LaPann, followed by country-blues trio No Good Sister. The three women sang with enchantingly strong voices and great ears for harmony, and also showed they knew their way around block parties when one proclaimed, “Let’s hear it for day drinking!”

Keeping the folksy mood intact was John Francis, a country-minded singer who didn’t need the microphone to carry his voice. After howling through a host of songs, several of which included help from his friends in No Good Sister, Francis stepped down from the stage to serenade the audience for one final number.

Priming the block for party time was Biadazminae, a three-piece jam band whose long, flowing tunes brought things to a slow boil. When the group shifted to a reggae groove during one of their songs, it became impossible for one surprisingly talented dancer in the crowd not to move (or ever stop moving).

Things were moving ahead of schedule, so Gregg Cagno stepped up to a play a tweener of some whimsical folk songs and a quick poem about aggressive drivers. Picking up where Biadazminae left off, De Tierra Caliente brought a few more emboldened dancers to the edge of the stage. Combining a diverse array of Latin rhythms with American pop sensibilities, De Tierra Caliente provided the perfect soundtrack to the pleasantly warm afternoon. Sporting an impressively bearded percussion section, the band’s affinity for rhythm spread to the crowd, who loudly requested another song at the end of the set.

Shifting genres for one final time, New Jersey math rockers Black Dirty took the last slot of the afternoon, and did not disappoint. After taking the stage, they ripped through a soaring instrumental number that won over the crowd immediately, only announcing afterward that they had never attempted it live before. Though “polyrhythmic” sounds daunting on paper, the complex, interweaving parts the band played were captivatingly groovy. The combination of strong musicianship and the primal power of rhythm made Black Dirty a stellar closer. They also gave some much-needed recognition to the maverick dancer, who had been absolutely killing it all afternoon.

The party didn’t stop with the music; though the stage was vacated, Mole Street was still alive with people enjoying the longest day of the year. With such a successful show, it’s hard to believe that Molestice won’t be quite so unknown come next year.

Find more pics from Make Music Philly 2014 here.

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