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How to Satisfy Your Post-Concert Drunken Appetite.

October 5, 2016

dancing2016It’s been more than three years since we last informed you about the best places to grab food late at night after concerts and after the bars have closed. Things have changed a bit. Places have come and gone.

So, we dispatched writer Brendan Menapace to find investigate the drunk food scene.

Philadelphia is huge. Like, really huge. So, when you’re stumbling out of a bar in a neighborhood you aren’t familiar with—or worse, you are visiting the city—how are you supposed to find that perfect meal to soak up the countless citywide specials you slammed?

Ask your friends? We tried that. We got a lot of answers like, “We got to this sub place after Matt’s party, and it was really good. I can’t remember the name or where it was.”

You could ask the Internet. We did that, too. What we got was essentially a map of the best Wawa’s in Greater Philadelphia, a few (not even subtle) sexual jokes and snark like, “You’re the journalist. Do your own damn research”

So, with what little information we could source from our friends and Internet groups, plus our own experiences of wandering through the night in search of a greasy bastion of hope, we’ve cobbled together some of the major spots to satisfy your drunken appetites in this big old city.


Without question, the highest number of recommendations were for the late night food trucks on Girard at Frankford Avenue. These were pure gold until the city shut them down last month. Located right across from Johnny Brenda’s, they were in the perfect location for anyone finishing a long night at any of the area’s numerous music venues.

While it kind of looks like a vacant lot, El Heffe is a great taco spot right in the middle of the action of Fishtown. With some off kilter options, like a variation of poutine, it’s hardly your run-of-the-mill taco spot. And they serve food until 3 am on the weekends.


The second-most recommended spot was Little Pete’s in Center City. The spot earns big points for its location. It also earns big points for its hours: it’s open for all 24 of them. No matter how bad your night out was, no matter how many girls shot you down at Smith’s in favor of the dudes who look like Leo in “Wolf of Wall Street,” and no matter how many times you got kicked in the head at the show at the Church, there’s nothing that a chicken parm sandwich at 4 a.m. can’t fix.

David’s Mai Lah Wah has gotten hype from the likes of Esquire. Located at 10th and Race streets, the Chinatown staple is a great place to get some late-night Chinese. My friend Danny’s experience might sum it up best:

“I like it because the server wouldn’t give us extra rice when we asked. He said, ‘No, too much.’ And he was right. We didn’t finish all of our awesome food. So that guy could have taken more money from us, but I guess he was thinking of all the starving kids we hear so much about. Also, open until 3 a.m.”

For those looking for something more ethnic (and aren’t afraid of food with a little kick), Spice End in Rittenhouse is known for Indian and Halal dishes. They are open until 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays.

South Philly is a weird place. The neighborhoods are gentrifying but they haven’t really changed, either. It’s also full of all-night diners.

Broad Street Diner, located right next to the Ellsworth-Federal subway stop on South Broad Street is exactly what you’d expect. You get classic diner food at any hour in a ‘60s-looking place.

Similarly, the Melrose Diner, just west of the Snyder subway station, is also open all night and it’s located right by a strip club, which my friends swear they don’t frequent. (I’m sure they also read Playboy for the articles.) Also, Philly pop punkers The Wonder Years named a song after it.

Located right in the 9th Street Italian Market, Prima Pizza definitely wins the award for most misleading name. This “pizza” joint is really an authentic Mexican joint. While they do have some pizza (including Mexican-influenced pizzas), they’re known more for their tacos and burritos.

Finally, what we believe to be the granddaddy of all drunk foods is the Philly Taco. It involves a cheesesteak from Jim’s (which also involves waiting in a line that sometimes stretches around the block) and then crossing the street to Lorenzo’s and grabbing one of their giant slices of pizza. Now, wrap the cheesesteak in the pizza and try your best. If that doesn’t soak up some of that booze, we don’t know what will.

Frances Quinlan: “All my Friends are Here. It’s Just a Blast to See Everyone, Hang Out at the End and Then Just Walk Home.”

October 4, 2016


For a long time, Hop Along was one of Philly’s best kept secrets. The band centers around Frances Quinlan, whose scruffy and powerful – yet delicate – voice will give you the chills. The witty lyrics in the band’s emotional narratives are eminently singable, with diehard fans crooning along with every word that comes out of the petite singer’s mouth.

 She started the captivating journey as a freak-folk solo project in high school before she looped in her brother Mark to play the drums, Tyler Long on the bass and Joe Reinhart, of Algernon Cadwallader fame, on guitar.

Following Painted Shut, their sophomore album and first collective studio release, the gig was up. It’s not hard to be captivated by the raw vocals and intricate stories they tell on stage.

Brianna Spause interviewed Frances, who has been declared by various publications to have the “best voice in rock music today.”

You started Hop Along years ago as a solo freak-folk project. Painted Shut was like a new era with the full band dynamic. How has this whole thing progressed?

It started out strictly out of necessity. I didn’t have a band. I didn’t really gravitate to the electric guitar when I first started playing. It was much easier to write songs on the acoustic – the songs just kind of came together without a vision. Learning how to collaborate has been the hugest teacher for me. Collaboration and compromise. But I think that’s a part of growing up for everybody. We’re supposed to learn how to work together.

Speaking of growing up, your brother Mark plays the drums. Any sibling rivalry ever come up?

Ha ha! That never goes away. Any family stuff is always there.

What’s it like playing with family anyway?

It’s the best. I play music with a person I love with all of my heart. Tyler and Joe have gotten to be like brothers also. We’re very close. On the other hand when you are very close you argue a lot because you know how to get to each other. But I think that’s just what happens when you care about people. You have to take both elements.

And how about being the only chick in the band?

It can be a little lonely being the only one that has to deal with being on your period on tour.

It’s funny that you bring that up. I was scrolling through your Twitter feed and found this gem: “#TFW you sing so hard your tampon comes out”

Oh, yeah. Everyone was so stoked in the band when I put that up. They were like, ‘That’s by far your best tweet.’

Do you guys get into any weird stuff on stage?

Lately I’ve been switching instruments for this one Nirvana cover (“Sappy”). It’s always funny turning around and seeing Joe playing drums and Mark rocking out on guitar. We’ve had the power go out. Nothing too crazy. I, for one, am kind of boring when it comes to shenanigans. People tell me their tour stories and it blows my mind.

Even if they’re rare, do you have any shenanigans to share?

Mark and I went on tour with PS Eliot in 2011. We blew three tires on that tour and the van caught on fire on the last day driving home from Birmingham, Alabama. It was some time in August and we just didn’t know that it’s very important that you buy nice tires. So, we got cheap ones and they all blew. The last one hit something that made the power steering fluid tumble out and that caught fire. Mike managed to put it out with Powerade.

With Powerade??

Yeah. The water wasn’t working but the Powerade put it out. Who knows what’s in that?

That sounds like a weird experience with electrolytes.

Made me reconsider drinking it.

You guys are on the bill for the Pabst Citywide Festival. Do you have a soft spot for PBR?

It’s fine… in the summer when it’s really, really hot, I don’t mind a cold beer of any kind. But we’re stoked to be on this show.

Do you have a go-to drunk recipe after a night out?

I eat the same things no matter what. Ramen is tight all the time with veggies and an egg on top.

There you go, jazzing it up a little more than your standard chalky seasoning pack.

Well, I am an adult.

Philly is your home base. What do you like about playing here?

All my friends are here. It’s just a blast to see everyone, hang out at the end and then just walk home. That’s pretty great.

How do you view the city scene?

It’s just constantly refreshing and replenishing itself. There are new bands every week that I’ve never heard of. There are younger people and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

What’s it like to try to keep up with that?

Oh, you can’t think that way. Any time I try to keep up with anything, I notice how behind I am. So, I try not to think that way and try to be happy for people who are putting new records out. I’ve never done anything quickly, so trying to keep up is a little too much torture for somebody like me.

I identify with that. I can’t seem to do anything quickly either.

Someone younger is going to do something a lot earlier than you did, and that’s just the way it is. Why not be happy about it? That’s what I tell myself.

How do you spend your free time?

I try to work on songs. I might try to go dancing with one of my friends. I haven’t done that in years. Other than that, writing and painting.

Any good at dancing?

No. Not at all. You just have to go for it. That’s what it’s all about.









Jack Prince and The Birth of The Citywide Special.

October 3, 2016


Text and top image by Brendan Menapace.

It’s just after 5 o’clock on a Wednesday. There are 15 people sitting at the bar at Bob & Barbara’s on South Street in Philadelphia. Twelve of them are holding PBR cans with empty shot glasses sitting in front of them. It’s not a coincidence. No one bought the whole bar a round of shots and beers. (At least as far as I know. If they did, it was right before I got there, which would be a bummer.) They all just got the Citywide Special, or, as it’s called here at Bob & Barb’s, the Special.

For the uninitiated, the Special is a shot of Jim Beam and a can of PBR for $3.50. There are variations throughout the city (hence the “Citywide” title), but the regulars could probably tell you that it originated here at Bob & Barb’s. Jack Prince, who’s owned Bob & Barb’s since taking over for the original owners (you can probably guess their names) in 1994, can definitely tell you.

“When I bought this place, we had a house band, Nate Wiley and the Crowd Pleasers,” Prince, 55, says. He’s rocking a PBR T-shirt and flip-flops, and occasionally stops the conversation to smile and say hey to people in the bar. “They played every Friday and Saturday night. We were closed on Sunday. And then, every Monday night, they’d do a jam session. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were dead nights. So I asked a friend who was involved in the music industry if he had any bands that I could book in here for weeknights. And he told me to get in touch with this guy named Rick Dobrowolski, also known as Rick D.”

Rick D was booking music at other Philly bars, like Fergie’s Pub, which, at that point, had only been open for about a year.

“So I met Rick, and we talked about him booking Tuesday and Wednesday nights,” Prince says. “The first week, he got Dr. Ketchup one night and the After Dinner Mints the next night. And Rick says to me, ‘Get a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. And do you have Jim Beam?’ I said no. And he said, ‘Get a fifth of Jim Beam and make it a shot and beer special for three bucks.’ So, the first night we sold out. So then, the next night, we got two cases. And it just grew organically from then. We never advertised it or anything.”

They didn’t have to advertise it. A couple bucks for a shot and a beer? It’s perfect. So perfect, in fact, that it reached levels that even Prince couldn’t fathom. He says that Bob & Barb’s is the top purchaser of Jim Beam White Label in all of Pennsylvania.

“It’s ridiculous,” he says. “It’s not even close. For Pabst 12 oz. cans retail, I believe we’re number one. We used to be number one in the tri-state area. I don’t know now if that’s true or not. So many places sell it now.”

So now Prince had his bar’s claim to fame in the special. He had the regular musicians for the weekend. Rick D had Tuesdays and Wednesdays covered. Sunday, of course, was closed. But Thursday was wide open.

“We try to keep it, like, to the left, like, not mainstream,” Prince says. “So we were at a friend’s apartment, and we’re talking about what we could do for Thursday night. And he says that his friend does drag and, you know, would we consider that? So we cobbled together a drag show. That was probably ’95. By ‘cobbled together’ I mean we threw up a little curtain, a couple of little lights and put together a DJ system. It was semi-lame, but at the same time it was awesome. And the performers were awesome.”

The Thursday night drag show has become a staple at Bob & Barbara’s. Philly locals take their friends when they visit from out of town. College professors take their grad students when they arrive in Philadelphia. Seven bucks will get you into the show and your first drink.

It’s one of the many things the bar is known for. They’re not only cash only, they use old-school cash registers that Prince calls “tombstones” because of their weight and shape. They’re also the only bar left in the city with their own Hammond B-3 organ.

“There were more than half a dozen when I first started,” Prince says. “And now this is the last one.”

countryonlinegm2015When asked about the legacy of Bob & Barb’s—the divey bar covered in PBR memorabilia dating back to the early 20th century with a mix of music that ranges from Sinatra to Snoop Dogg and a bar full of young people actually talking to each other—Prince says he just wants to keep that real feeling alive.

“I don’t know, it seems so weird, I just keep trying to hold on,” he says. “Somebody else said this, not me. They said we sell nostalgia here at Bob and Barbara’s. I guess that might be kind of true. It’s like I said before. We’re one of the last one’s to use old registers, no credit cards, and Hammond B-3 organs. I think the most important thing, right now, is the tradition of the music on the weekends. And also the Thursday night drag shows, because what you’re getting on those nights is something that you basically can’t get anywhere else.”

What he values the most is the mixed crowd. There’s no single demographic here.

“You can see a drag show somewhere else, but it’ll most likely be in a strictly gay bar, or a fancy female-impersonator-that-comes-with-dinner kind of place, but not in a rollicking, old tappy way with, you know, a super-mixed crowd. So, to a lot of people who come here, it’s a rite of passage to come to a drag show. When you come here on a Friday or Saturday night there’s no cover. You come in here and there’s this band just wailing. You’re getting the Special for $3.50. Maybe this place might still be here, and we’ll still have that, but as this place is here longer and longer, then more generations will be like, ‘Oh, my mom and dad used to come here.’ It becomes a part of history. I see that happening now. I think it’s a good thing.”

I thought it was the Specials that I had during this conversation that made me feel nostalgic for a place I was sitting in. But ask me stone sober about it, and I’ll still tell you that Bob & Barb’s is the friendliest, most authentic, fun, laid-back and out of control all at once place in Philadelphia.

Josh Lawrence: The Go-to Horn Player.

September 23, 2016


Text by Dan Halma. Images by Charles Shan Cerrone.

The inside of Morningstar Studios provides a rich contrast to the sweltering mid-afternoon heat baking the pavement outside. Behind the studio’s doorway lies a small hallway lined with framed records and a small selection of gear braced against one side. Intermittently, a mixture of saxophone, upright bass, electric piano and drums funnel through the open door to the live room. Up a flight of stairs, Josh Lawrence is anxious to spend the day recording yet another album.

A month prior, the Rittenhouse-based performer and educator was interested in creating something different from his other albums, which have always had a narrative focus. At the suggestion of his wife, Ola Baldych, who works as a graphic designer, Lawrence set out to write music with a more malleable theme in mind – colors.

So began the start of Color Theory.

“I knew who I wanted to be in the band and I knew what sound I wanted, but I didn’t have any music written for them yet,” says the trumpeter as he’s seated on a black leather couch in Morningstar’s lounge area. He’s wearing a deep purple button-down and black slacks rounded out with a pair of black Chuck Taylor’s.

“So I put the band together, booked a bunch of gigs and started writing music for each one of the shows,” he continues.


The quick turnaround from concept to execution comes as no surprise to someone of Lawrence’s heavy work schedule. Since moving from Cranberry, New Jersey to Philadelphia in the late ’90s to pursue an undergraduate degree from the University of the Arts, Lawrence has become entrenched in the jazz scene here and beyond.

“I did my undergrad, just working as a musician around [the city], but I really wanted to play jazz,” he says. “So, I used to hang out at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus back in the day when it was still the full-time jazz club and Northern Liberties was kind of a rough neighborhood.”

After cutting his teeth locally, Lawrence decided to move to New York City in 2005 to further explore the jazz scene. He gigged with everyone he could and taught his craft to others. He then moved to Poland and spent time touring Europe with his trio and various other projects before ending up back in Philadelphia for the last five years. His schedule has remained packed.

When he isn’t teaching at University of the Arts, Drexel University or the Kimmel Center’s Creative Music Program, Lawrence is constantly doing sessions and gigging – performing with acts including Captain Black Big Band, PACT, Bobby Zankel & the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound and Aerial Photograph (below).


Alumni from Lawrence’s other projects are joining him on Color Theory’s recording session. In addition to having Caleb Curtis on alto saxophone and flute, Brent White on trombone, Adam Faulk on Fender Rhodes and Madison Rast on bass, Lawrence is being joined by Captain Black Big Band bandleader Orrin Evans on piano and Anwar Marshall on drums.

Marshall is one of Lawrence’s bandmates in Fresh Cut Orchestra, one of his larger projects. Recording with Fresh Cut Orchestra is how Lawrence learned of Morningstar Studios.

“As a horn player you get called to do a lot of session work for whoever, basically,” he says. “I came into a session and said, ‘Man, this is where I’m going to do whatever I’m gonna do next.’ And once it was time to do it, I just made the call.”

Since then, Lawrence has used the studio space as his base of operations for most of his recorded work. In a manner of happenstance, engineer Dave Schonauer, who engineered Lawrence’s first session at the studio, mans today’s studio session.

“My job’s easy,” Schonauer says as the band readies themselves in-between takes. “I just get to sit back and listen to great music.”

While the 12-hour session ahead of them may seem grueling to many people, it’s just another day for Lawrence, who in between relentless gigging and sessions is looking forward to the release of Fresh Cut Orchestra’s second album, Mind Behind Closed Eyes, which dropped on Aug. 26 on Ropeadope Records.

In Fresh Cut Orchestra, Lawrence splits writing duties with Marshall and bassist Jason Fraticelli for the 10-piece orchestra, including four horns, two guitars, percussion and laptop electronics. The ensemble, which began as a commission from the Painted Bride Art Center, is one of Lawrence’s mainstays.

“The idea of that record was, what do you see when you close your eyes when you listen to music? That was really the focus of that record,” Lawrence says. “It’s like an electronic jazz project.”

Earphunk, Catullus and Attic Tapes @ The Foundry.

September 22, 2016


Text and images by Ed Schick.

Philadelphia got a lot funkier Saturday night. No, tires weren’t burning under 95 again. Earphunk (pictured above) brought the funk with them from NOLA to The Foundry at the Fillmore. They were joined by local acts Attic Tapes and Catullus. I’m not a dancer and even my two left feet wanted to get busy.

First on the bill was Attic Tapes (fka Fishtown Beats). The room was still pretty empty when he took the stage. That didn’t seem to matter. I am admittedly not an expert on DJs but the sounds were nothing like I’ve ever heard from one. This was far from anything like you’d find at an EDM festival. The style was much smoother and laid back.

This, however, does not mean that the groove or the beats weren’t there. He was spinning this intriguing blend of Motown, hip hop, funk and even swing. He may have caught the small gathering by surprise with his unique blend of music as there was not much dancing in the beginning. However, as the set went on, people settled into his style, and more people arrived, the feet and booty shaking commenced. Towards the end of the set he was joined on stage by saxophonist Mike LaBombard. Mike added another layer to the grooves, using his sax to play along with and compliment the songs Attic Tapes was playing from his Apple. I didn’t hear a bad note and he matched the style of the music spinning quite professionally.

By this time, the venue had filled up more and most of the crowd that was there was shimmying and shaking to the duo. This was a different opener for what was essentially a rock show but it worked just fine by setting a tone and getting people moving. Again, I am not one who listens to DJs but Attic Tapes did a fine job.

Next up was local prog-funk band Catullus. More people started arriving to the intimate venue by now, some of whom were obviously familiar with them already.

Catullus continued to keep people moving and dancing. They ran through a set of about a half a dozen songs which showcased their individual talents well. By the time they settled into the song “Oh Well” early in the set, their influences were clearly visible. You could hear a mix of jazzy guitar, ELP tinged keyboards, and a rhythm section that held the groove and kept people dancing. Shortly after that song, they played “JellyBender.” This time it was the keyboards played by Justin Minnick that had that funky style backed by jazzy drums.

With each song, the crowd was becoming increasingly involved in and appreciative of the performance before them. Then it came time for the final song of the set, “Domino Days.” The band was at the top of their game when, once again, Mike LaBombard joined them onstage with his saxophone.  I wasn’t sure at first if this was going to work, but it did. Mike and Catullus guitarist Andrew Meehan were trading licks like they had always played together. It wasn’t like a guitarist and a sax player. It sounded more like two guitarists trading short solos and fills.

The time for the end of the set came and it was a shame as it seemed like they were really just settling in and getting on a roll. Catullus is a band of talented capable players and musicians. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not but they wear their influences, which are too numerous to list, proudly on their sleeves. Unfortunately, that worked against them for me. There were several times when I thought to myself that I had heard some of this before. But, they are a relatively young as a band which works in their favor. They have time to find their own musical voice and I have no doubt that players with their ability will be able to do that.

After seeing videos of them on YouTube and now seeing them in person, I see that they have indeed grown as a band. I look forward to hearing and seeing them in the future to witness their growth. I have no doubt they are capable of growing. They did their job well though and continued to prep the crowd for the headliner.

Next up was Earphunk. Earphunk is comprised of Paul Provosty (lead guitar), Mark Hempe (guitar/vocals), Michael Matthews (drums), Michael Comeaux (bass), and Christian Galle (keyboards). They hail from New Orleans and it shows in the good time, party, upbeat vibe they exude. They are another band described as a prog-funk band. I would add jam band into that mix as well as much of their performance has that extended improvisational quality. But there is no doubt that they are heavy on the funk. You can also add a dash of heavy metal into the mixture for good measure, which on this particular night was on prominently displayed.

Try” was the first song of the night. There was no doubt this was a funk band from the moment they started playing. There was no mistaking the influence of such classics by fellow New Orleans natives The Meters and their songs such as “Cissy Strut” and “Look-Ka Py Py” on this one. Just about everyone in attendance was dancing from the get go and spirits were high. Galle on keyboards played some of the funkiest organ I have ever heard. Later in the song, Provosty proves he is not merely an excellent funk rhythm guitarist, but a more than capable soloist in more than one genre. It was as if he channeled Eddie Hazel, and even a little Eddie Van Halen, to add a nice heavy blues/hard rock flavor to his solo. All the while Hempe, Matthews, and Comeaux held down the fort admirably showing they are a rhythm section to be reckoned with.

This was followed by the crowd pleaser “Saura,” which features a beautiful mix of a funky rhythm guitar section straight out of the mind of Nile Rodgers, a jazzy dual lead guitar melody in the verse and head banging riffing in the chorus. I don’t know how they mixed these styles so well in one song, but they pulled it off expertly.

A couple of songs later, they launch into another fan favorite in “Phine.” From the opening lyric spoken through a talk box into a synthesizer, it was apparent that this would be an 80s funk inspired tune and probably the closest to a true dance tune they have, or at least played. I was the only one not dancing by the time this song was under way. Hempe started mixing in the Phil Collins classic “In the Air Tonight” and tried to get the crowd to sing along. The response was maybe not what he had hoped for but I honestly think everyone just wanted to keep dancing. After this, they played a couple more songs before coming to the final song of the set.

Here’s where the set list threw a curveball. At least so I thought. They started playing “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. I was just as surprised. Not only did they play it, they did an outstanding job! As a side note, I’ve been listening to and seeing Sabbath and Ozzy live since the 70s. I even went to New York to see them on this final tour months before they were to play in the Philly area.

Earphunk’s version was better than even Sabbath’s version this year. For one main reason. Drummer Michael Matthews. Black Sabbath is not touring with original drummer and founding member Bill Ward. The drummer they have does not have the jazz and the swing that Ward drips all over the Sabbath records. It probably sounds crazy to a lot of people but that element was essential to the early Sabbath sound. Matthews brought that swing back into Sabbath and I thank him, in fact I did after the show. So now you’re probably thinking “War Pigs” is the curveball. Nope. The curveball is not that they played it, but that they could play it and get people head banging to it and dancing harder than they have all night to it. At the same time no less.

I have absolutely never seen people dance at all at any Black Sabbath or Ozzy concert. So Earphunk pulled off what Sabbath never could with their own song. Amazing.

After a short break, they came back out for their encore. It was back to the funk with the song “Sweet Nasty”. Probably the funkiest song of the night much to the crowd’s delight. The night ended here with the band gladly talking to fans in the audience. Earphunk proved to be one of the finest funk bands going right now. I honestly don’t know how anyone can leave one of their concerts without a big smile on their face and feeling better than when they went in. This was the feel good concert of the year.

WIN FREE TICKETS: See The Bird and the Bee @ Underground Arts on Wednesday 9/28.

September 21, 2016

The Bird and the Bee, the talented duo from Los Angeles, will bring their futuristic-sounding retro pop to Underground Arts next Wednesday and we’re giving away tickets.

Like us on facebook and email us at to enter to win a free pair of tickets (give us your name and put “Bird/Bee” in the subject line).

If you want to play it safe and get your own tickets, find details for the show here.

Angel Olsen @ Union Transfer with Alex Cameron.

September 21, 2016


Text by Migs Kaufman. Images by Grace Dickinson.

The crowd jammed into Union Transfer last week for a sold out show with Angel Olsen, who recently released her genre-bending (and soon to be classic) album My Woman.

As the crowd eagerly awaited Olsen, they were treated to the 80s-tinged sounds of Alex Cameron, who pranced and grooved in a velvet suit with a saxophonist by his side, straight from the Newark Airport to the stage. Cameron wooed the audience with his slicked back hair and even slicker music as the venue slowly filled to the brim with people.

Soon after, Olsen and her band strutted onto the stage in matching cowboy attire and blasted straight through three songs before saying a word to the crowd, letting the music speak for itself. She then blurt out, “That was fun.”

She is touring to support her most daring album yet, full of breathtaking wails, prickling guitar licks and many songs surpassing 5 minutes. These are not simple folk tunes. But the band kept it cool, hitting every note flawlessly, with Olsen as their fearless leader.

While the band had fun on stage, the crowd stood awestruck, barely able to move as they admired Olsen, who discussed greasy food and beer one minute and belted out “all my life I thought I’d change” from “Sister” the next.

After a strong set, the band returned for an encore of “Intern,” straight into a seven-minute psychedelic jam of “Woman,” giving Olsen a chance to really show off her chops as she hit every haunting high note.

I first heard Angel Olsen when I was going through a big change in my life, moving from New York to the City of Brotherly Love and worrying I wasn’t making the best move. It was both terrifying and exciting all at once – a new chapter in my life. And Olsen was the soundtrack. Maybe because of this, Olsen’s music always brings about memories of change, of something big about to happen.

But maybe that’s just her music, evoking a strange and powerful sense that something big is coming and you better be ready for it.

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