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Voltage Lounge: The Intimate Showcase.

September 15, 2016

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Text by Matthew Hulmes. Top image by Rachel Del Sordo.

Some people stand back as some of the crazier people mosh around, spread out in a circle. Rings of Saturn, a heavy metal band and headliner of the night, scream hoarse lyrics. A big guy with a thick black beard marches towards the bathroom yelling, “Bleeding!” while holding out his elbow with a gash in it.

Voltage Lounge, located at 421 N. Seventh St., wasn’t always like this. It started as a hookah bar and nightclub with a few showcases. Those days are in the past.

Now, it is no stranger to sold-out shows, having hosted everyone from Black Dahlia Murder, a popular Michigan-based death metal act, last March to Mobb Deep, a classic New York hip-hop duo, in April.

“Those shows have definitely helped, you know, and they were great memories,” says Sean Salm, the booking manager (pictured above). “It’s crazy to see the room filled like that… and to have them in an intimate setting with Voltage.”

Things started to change once Salm started working there.

“I saw it had more potential as a music venue,” he says.

“We have a really dynamic show that’s energetic and Voltage was one of the first places to really cater more to our sound,” says Ray Lewis, lead singer of Last Minute Hero, a local five-piece alternative rock band who have been performing for a couple years now. “We truly stand behind the venue and its growth.”

That growth included a vision to show-off the up-and-coming acts and the legends who have been around. The space inside Voltage has less capacity than places like its neighbor, the Electric Factory, or the TLA. This makes them suitable to showcase acts that are on the cusp of the mainstream.

Salm’s experience with booking shows began at Rio, a bar in his hometown of Levittown, Pennsylvania. There, he booked Dice Raw, a songwriter and collaborator with The Roots.

“Dice played our showcase,” Salm says. “He loved it. He loved the organization behind it.”

From this, Salm was given the chance to work with Dice Raw again, organizing an after-party at Voltage for the annual Roots Picnic.

The big guy who cut himself shows up with a bag of ice taped around his elbow. He gets back into the pit, unafraid. It doesn’t look like anyone at Voltage Lounge is letting anything slow them down.

Outlaw Country Comes To Philly.

September 14, 2016

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Text by Dave Miniaci. Top image by G.W. Miller III.

It’s around 9 p.m. on a Wednesday night at Bob and Barbara’s on South Street. The crowd at the legendary bar huddles in various groups, downing cans of PBR under dim lighting and PBR memorabilia-lined walls.

The spot claims to be home to the original citywide special, a shot of Jim Beam and a can of PBR for $3.50. But tonight, it’s home to something else.

Anticipation is building. A pounding sound on the back door. An attendee opens it and four men file in with their equipment, beards, plaid, hats and all.

“The cowboys are here!” shouts an excited patron. Within an hour, loud country and bluegrass music blares through the amps and the increasingly growing crowd starts rocking.   

In a city that wears its indie rock and hip-hop hearts on its sleeve, Country Night at Bob and Barbara’s, hosted by the Wallace Brothers Band, reminds Philadelphia there are other genres that draw a crowd. And with it comes a cowboy swagger, whiskey drinking and screaming guitars.

“We were playing out in Kutztown a lot and moved to Philly for a change of scenery,” says Zach Wallace, of the Wallace Brothers Band.

He makes up one-third of the band’s core, along with twin brother Colby on drums and longtime friend Khoa Pham on steel pedal guitar. The group is rounded out by a revolving door of friends on bass.

“We took this road trip to the South and discovered some really great country that wasn’t being portrayed accurately up here,” he continues. “We were at this bar in Nashville called Robert’s Western World, where it was a different live band every night and everyone was drinking and dancing and we were like, ‘We have to do something like this.’”

His searching brought him to Bob and Barbara’s, which had jazz nights and drag shows, but no country. Though aware of the bar’s history as a black jazz and R&B venue, he attended a jazz night he describes as “whiskey-soaked,” with a lot of dancing. It was the perfect vibe he envisioned.

So Wallace went to the bar and proposed his idea, which was met with hesitance at first because nothing like this had been done there before. Bob Dix, one of the bar managers, didn’t think it would work.

He was proven wrong right off the bat.

“That first night was incredible and we kept bringing them back,” says Dix. “I expected every single time for it to drop off and it never did.”

That first night was just the start. A wide array of bands wanting to play traditional country came calling.

Many local country fans and musicians, such as Mike Clemmer of the Montgomery County-based band The Keystone Breakers, agree that Country Night and Bob and Barbara’s became the hub for area country music.

“[The Wallace Brothers] created this outlet, this consistent place to play for country bands,” Clemmer says. “Out in the suburbs, you hear the word ‘country’ and it can take on several meanings and can be traditional or the mainstream you hear on the radio. At Country Night at Bob and Barbara’s, you know what you’re gonna get. It’s gonna be folky and bluegrassy. I don’t know of anyone else doing anything like this. Especially in a city like Philadelphia, country can be few and far between, but they’ve been able to shine a light on it.”

The Wallace Brothers curate the lineup at Country Night, which has been going strong for around two years, usually every other Wednesday night. Zach Wallace says his band and several others come from a folk or alt-country background and can cater to any fan base, making it easy to create a Country Night lineup for any given night.

“I went one night and I was just floored,” says singer Hannah Taylor, a fan and frequent attendee of country night before finally playing it herself.  “I was like, ‘This is fucking great, this is in my wheelhouse,’ and I kept going.”

After attending, she approached the Wallace Brothers Band about performing there too. She joined them onstage, admitting she loves harmonizing with other singers and has performed both solo and with a backing band.

“I kinda weaseled my way into playing,” she says with a laugh. ”I’ve played it like six times but I’m there every time. I’m kinda like the hype-woman. It’s a shit-kicking good time.”

It’s a tight-knit community, one which sees bands helping with each other and performing with each other when possible. Case in point, bands are frequently invited back to play and even play with each other elsewhere.

“Most of the bands we have play are regulars at this point,” joked Zach Wallace.

A big draw for the genre is honesty in the music. Several artists remarked how they always appreciated the musicianship and sincerity of old country music. And they try to abide by the spirit of the music.

Lance Davis, aka Grady Hoss, singer of Philly-based Grady Hoss and the Sidewinders, played in various bands over the years. When his dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Davis wanted to play country as a way to continue connecting with his father who grew up listening to country. He wrote several songs but never intended to record. At the behest of friends, he got a group together on his birthday weekend.

“I said to these guys, ‘It’s gotta be fun or I’m not going to do it,’ and we got some beer and some Jack Daniels and spent the entire weekend in the studio and it was a lot of fun,” Davis says.

In keeping with the style of old outlaw country, and wanting to have more fun, Davis insisted each band member have a nickname. His came from his dad’s middle name (Grady) and the Southern term of endearment for friends (Hoss). He also credits his bandmates with keeping things fun and heartfelt.

“In country, you gotta have a steel pedal guitar, and we got one of the best around in Dave Van Allen,” Davis says.

Van Allen has performed solo and in various bands for decades and was recommended to Davis by a mutual friend.

“He actually brought us all to tears in the studio,” says Davis about bringing in Van Allen. “A bunch of grown men crying. That was something.”

The area bands feel the national trend of traditional and outlaw country taking back the genre – with artists like Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell coming into prominence aside artists like Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton – has been felt in Philly, and that has brought some local bands out of the woodwork.

“There’s a lot of pop country out there but now you’ve got stuff making a comeback,” says Jesse Lundy, who in addition to playing guitar in the Rekardo Lee Trio is a Drexel professor and owner of Point Entertainment, a booking agency in charge of the Philadelphia Folk Festival and Ardmore Music Hall. “You have a lot of kids whose parents were listening to Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson and Shania Twain when these kids were little and there’s that nostalgia to it. Now they’re grown up and looking for country.”

Lundy adds there is a lot of good country that hasn’t been fully appreciated up North and country music has earned a certain reputation because of pop country music that dominates the airwaves.

“What’s on the radio is this pop country and no band I know is doing that. Most bands have a background in folk or alternative. What’s up here is something that people won’t think is too hokey or twangy,” Wallace says, adding that the nature of traditional country has an edge to it, as opposed to the clean pop sheen on some mainstream country. “If we came in as just some guys all dressed like cowboys and said, ‘Now we’re gonna play you some Jason Aldean,’ this wouldn’t fly.”

The Philly country artists even acknowledge that nostalgia themselves. Various performers credited hearing their parents and grandparents listening to Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams and other old-school outlaw country when they were growing up.

In Bob and Barbara’s sits a sign declaring it the home of the original citywide special, “Often copied, never duplicated.” The slogan rings true for the state of modern country and the Philly-area country acts that serve as a local look into this idea.

“I think Willie Nelson said it best,” says Clemmer. “He had this quote like, ‘Country music is just three chords and honesty.’”

The national trend in country music is felt in Philly. Zach Wallace has noticed a spike in steel pedals around the city and he has received steady interest from bands wanting to play at Bob and Barbara’s.

“This has kind of centralized the Philly country scene,” Zach Wallace says of Country Night. “If there’s a Philly country band, they’ve probably played here or will at some point. We have taken the country scene and put it under one roof.

“It’s a heavy drinking night,” he adds. “It’s not for the amateur partier.”

Lily Maopolski: “You Just Have to Put Yourself Out There and Good Things Come.”

September 13, 2016

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Text and images by Brianna Spause.

“Student loans suck.”

Written on a humble cardboard sign, the overwhelmingly relatable notion of crushing debt is her hook as Lily Maopolski, 21, performs on the corner of 13th and Walnut streets.

As herds of people pound the pavement through Center City, Maopolski greets the rush hour crowd with nothing but her warm, raspy vocals and acoustic guitar.

When Maopolski puts her talents out on display to the thousands of eyes that sweep the crowded streets, she gives a piece of herself to the city and finds a little bit of magic in human interaction in return.

Some stop and listen, others sing and dance along in stride and sometimes the stars align.

A cab driver stops in the middle of the street and leans admiringly out his window for a listen as Maopolski sings “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé in the afternoon sun.

With a wink she sings the verse, “Baby drop them keys/ you better hurry up before your taxi leaves.” Letting out a deep chuckle, the driver pulls off down 13th Street and on with his day.

Music has the ability to freeze a moment and, as her songs echo down crowded streets, Maopolski brings her constantly shifting audience into the present.

Not everyone passing the performance on the corner pays any mind. But presented with an unexpected excuse to connect with art, street performance allows people to stop and exist, even if only for a moment.

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A year ago, Maopolski didn’t even know what busking meant. Now, it encompasses her lifestyle.

She says busking has changed her life both personally and artistically, as she feels more confident when she connects with people through music.

“I put 100 percent of myself out there when I busk and I get that in return from the people passing me on the street, whether it be a smile, a quick compliment or a 15-minute conversation,” Maopolski says. “Playing guitar and singing in the street alone in the city can be a vulnerable thing but I’ve received nothing but love.”

It’s been a whirlwind year for the young artist who plays cover songs on the streets of Philadelphia several times a week. Maopolski leaves her originals at home. She says people don’t pay attention if they don’t know the tune.

Maopolski started busking in earnest after quitting her job at Café Crema, a little cannoli shop next door to Geno’s Steaks, where she had been reserved to busking on her lunch break.

“I was making more money in 15 minutes than in a seven-hour shift,” Maopolski says.

Quickly, her passion turned into a non-traditional way to keep the lights on and those pesky student loans at bay.

“But it’s not even about the money,” Maopolski says as she starts packing up her guitar after about an hour playing in Center City.

She pushes aside today’s haul to carefully make room – some singles, an overripe banana, two mixtapes and a business card for the Ritz Carlton Hotel with scrawled handwriting that reads, “We do live music in the lobby.”

“I just want to perform, all the time,” Maopolski says. “There’s no rules to busking, which is the best part. Sometimes I’ll get that pit in my stomach before I play. But then I’ll think, why am I fucking stressed? I’m just going to have fun. Who cares?”

The freedom of the streets is appealing to Maopolski. She tried out the house show scene for a while with her indie rock band, Space Boner. But that was short-lived and more just about people coming together to jam.

When busking, Maopolski can show up where she wants, when she wants and without any expectations. She says it just jives better with her lifestyle.

Sophiya Sydoryak brought Maopolski out for her first busking experience. With Sydoryak on the hula hoop and Maopolski on the guitar, the pair made a dynamic busking duo.

Maopolski was hooked, and began going solo. Sydoryak says Maopolski’s demeanor and laid-back attitude is what draws people in.

“She just busks because she wants to share art with the world,” Sydoryak says. “There’s something simple and untouched about that. I find that if you share your passion aimlessly, just because this is what you love to do, success finds you.”

And for Maopolski, that seems to be a trend.

She was once belting the chorus to Radiohead’s “Creep” outside of Café Crema and caught the attention of an American Idol producer.

“He was getting a cheesesteak from Geno’s because he’s a fucking tourist,” Maopolski says, noting that the producer said he liked her style.

He invited her to film a brief appearance for the opening credits of Idol’s final season. The next day, Maopolski was riding her skateboard and playing the guitar for a professional film crew.

Without ever auditioning for the show, Maopolski was featured performing for more than 10 million people who watched the season 15 premiere.

Then there was the time the Pope was in town and, while busking, she landed herself a part-time gig selling merchandise and recording parody videos like “Cray Cray for Tay Tay (Girl Craze)” with The Swiftees.

“They think I’m funny and energetic,” Maopolski says. “If my dumb videos go viral, I can get some attention in the media and further my career in doing so.”

It was fitting for the girl voted class clown in high school.

Whether it’s on film or on the streets, Maopolski’s energy is contagious. Especially when she’s busking. Her sense of openness is key, Sydoryak says.

“Lily is light-hearted and never judgemental. That really shines through in her personality,” she says. “People are drawn to her.”

By sunset, Maopolski has made her way to Rittenhouse Square for a second session. Upon arrival, she finds her typical spot has already been taken by two young kids playing the cello.

Out of respect for the kids, Lily plays quietly. A thin, middle-aged man hops off his bike and onto the wall next to Lily for a listen, handing her a dollar folded into a paper airplane after listening intently to her rendition of Christina Perry’s “Jar of Hearts.”

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Maopolski says donations could be as small as a smile or as large as the time in Old City, when a mysterious guy stopped his car, gave her a vintage guitar and drove away.

“People are so cool. That’s what you learn out here,” Maopolski says. “You don’t see it every day. You just have to put yourself out there and good things come.”

Those small interactions add up to a massive stage when Maopolski performs on the streets of Philadelphia. That’s what really matters to her.

With no ticket sales, no tours and no rules, Maopolski says busking is special. No matter the street or the stage, it feels like where she belongs.

“It’s a little piece of magic I found,” she says.

The Moon and the Tiger: Long-Distance Music-Making.

September 12, 2016

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Text by Emily Scott. Images by Ben Wong.

Like playing a video game, Dwight Dunston says he enters new worlds when creating music with Brian Miller.

Dunston, also known as Sterling Duns on the microphone, along with Miller make up The Moon and the Tiger: a cohesive fusion of indie rock, soundscapes and hip-hop.

The 28-year-old Dunston says he has always had a “hip-hop sense.”

“I was always making up songs, writing lyrics,” he says. “My dad would always walk around the house and make up songs and I think he was pivotal [to] me as a lyricist.”

These sensibilities attracted Miller to Dunston the first time listening to him perform, which he says was like seeing an attractive person at a party.

“I was like, ‘His voice is so good, his lyrics are so good and just the spiritual presence of his voice.’” Miller says of Dunston. “I was immediately very moved and awakened.”

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About two years ago, Miller saw Dunston rap in Hardwork Movement, another musical project he’s involved with, at a house show in West Philly. After witnessing the performance, he went home and emailed Dunston, who didn’t reply until an additional email was sent.

Shortly after their correspondence, they began collaborating on music together and discovered the worlds they could create via music, whether it was Miller’s soundscapes or Dunston’s poetry.

“I would just live in them,” says Dunston, who is originally from West Philly. “Listening back to our first EP, I couldn’t tell you where the words came from. When I had to learn the words for the live show, I was in such a trance and daze because of these worlds he creates with sound.”

Dunston, who has both an undergraduate and master’s degree in poetry, says this art form had a strong effect on his lyric writing.

“I feel like studying poetry taught me how to be critical of my own work,” says Dunston. “I got a message, I got 16 bars to do it and do I really need that word?”

Miller adds that learning more about hip-hop is like learning a new language, which he also experienced while playing guitar in a country band.

“I had to learn a new way of music and also a way of how I can have a conversation with what I’m not an expert on, and that’s similar to what we do, I think,” he says.

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The 41-year-old also describes his music as having soundscape and movie soundtrack aspects.

“I feel like movie music has the ability to make a mood and I feel like that’s what I try to do,” says Miller, who also noted Peter Gabriel’s “funky beats and introspective quality” as an influence.

Dunston and Miller lead busy lives. Dunston works in education, makes music in both Future Mama and Hardwork Movement. He also does social justice work through City Love, an acoustic duo that assists with workshops in schools and communities in Philadelphia.

Miller is married, works as a psychotherapist and homeschools his children. The two consider their music collaboration like a long-distance relationship, Dunston says.

“We know we love each other and we trust one another to know that we will give everything we got for when a track comes out,” Dunston says.

In March 2016, The Moon and the Tiger released their first self-titled EP. The four-track record was a two-year-long project.

Miller notes Hans Zimmer, a composer for Christopher Nolan films like “Batman” and “Interstellar” as an influence for the record. During his writing process, Dunston listened to a lot of Kendrick Lamar, who he says “paints great stories.”

In the song “Freedom” from the EP, Dunston paints an image of a hip-hop artist who becomes engulfed in the materialistic world and loses himself.

“It is all my fears of what would happen to me,” Dunston says. “He loses touch with family and friends but [gains] all this power and notoriety and at the end the last line is, ‘It’s never too late to look in the mirror and start again.’ It is this idea of starting over and there’s always a second chance to be renewed.”

During their first house show at Silverton band member Julie Beth’s house, the duo were able to recreate their complex sound by having musician friends like Hardwork Movement members Jeremy Keys on cello, Dani Gershkoff on flute and Beth on vocals, percussion and flute, along with Miller’s guitar loops.

“Dwight and Brian just have these beautiful messages they get across so joyfully,” Beth says. “It was one of the most meaningful projects I have worked in and I think they are doing something that is meaningful to them personally, but also on a larger level.”

Although their schedules are conflicting, they hope to put out more music and play more shows in the future.

Miller added that their music combines the rigid rules of hip-hop and indie rock, bleeding together indie rock’s sincere, homemade multi-instrumentation with hip-hop’s simple beat-and-chorus composition.

“It is kind of neat to have these two rigid rule structures come together,” Miller says.

WIN FREE TICKETS: See Two Door Cinema Club @ The Fillmore on 11/19.

September 9, 2016

 

Straight from Northern Ireland, Two Door Cinema Club makes danceable rock music that will stick in your brain for a long time. On November 19, they’ll bring their infectious music to The Fillmore and we’re giving away tickets.

Like us on facebook and email us at FreeJumpStuff@gmail.com to enter to win a free pair of tickets (give us your name and put “TDCC” in the subject line).

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

 

Connor Barwin: “If You Want to Make a Difference, Now is Your Opportunity.”

September 9, 2016

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Text by Brendan Menapace. Images by Rachel Del Sordo.

Connor Barwin is hard to miss. With his NFL linebacker size, he’s kind of towering over everyone else at the bar at Prohibition Taproom, just a few blocks from Union Transfer. After introducing himself, one of the bar patrons perks up.

“Oh shit, you are Connor Barwin! Yo, I love you dude!”

He gets that a lot. But by now, he’s pretty used to it. The 29-year-old Barwin who lives in Center City is a far cry from the type of NFL player who keeps to himself. Barwin makes his presence known in Philly. Chances are, if you go to enough shows, you might run into him at the Electric Factory, where he’d just seen Courtney Barnett earlier this night. Or at Union Transfer, where he hosts the annual benefit concert for his Make the World Better foundation, which funds playgrounds and parks in Philadelphia.

“It’s kind of weird,” he says. “Some people are surprised when they see me. But then it’s like, ‘Oh, not really. Like, I’m not really surprised.’”

One might be surprised to learn that the fixture of the Eagles’ defensive line and the city’s music scene was born with complete hearing loss.

Clearly, that didn’t sideline him, on any front.

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Since signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 from the Houston Texans, Barwin has used some of his free time taking in the city’s music scene. After meeting Sean Agnew of R5 Productions, Barwin got the ball rolling on his benefit concert idea.

“I remember I went to an Animal Collective show at Union Transfer and Grantland wrote an article about it,” Barwin says. “After that article came out, Sean Agnew reached out to me. I think that’s how I met him.”

Not that Agnew had not already been in communication or anything prior.

“I tweeted at [Barwin] in 2014 when he batted down a ball that secured the Eagles’ spot in the playoffs,” Agnew remembers. “I jokingly said, ‘Free shows for life for Connor Barwin,’ right after he did.”   

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Attending shows didn’t only appeal to Barwin’s musical appetite. It fueled his philanthropic desires too.

“After that first season with the Eagles, I was like, ‘Hey, Sean, maybe we can do this benefit thing,’” Barwin recalls. “And he was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it! I’ll donate the whole venue, productions, the bar, everything.’ And now we’re going on our third show.”

This show at the beginning of June included a cast of Philly bands, including Hop Along, Waxahatchee and Amos Lee, and benefitted the Waterloo Playground in Kensington.

“It was something special that we just couldn’t say no to,” says Frances Quinlan of Hop Along. “It was a great cause. Parks in Philadelphia are needed and we were really happy to be a part of it. And we love playing hometown shows. We just have such a great time. Our whole families were present. That was really great to see them there and know that they’re a part of it, too.”

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Barwin, who was born completely deaf and underwent numerous surgeries through his adolescence to gain any hearing, still lacks the ability to hear in his left ear. But gaining some hearing didn’t give him a newfound appreciation for auditory experiences.

“I wish it did,” he says. “That would be a cool story. Maybe I’d like music even more if I could hear out of both my ears.”

Music was always a passion but he rarely had time to indulge when he was younger, when he was always either practicing football or studying.

“I was in sports all the time,” he says. “It was really when I got to Houston and started playing in the NFL that I had some free time for the first time in my life. And that’s when I started going to shows.”

Agnew says that having the city’s music and sports worlds so close-knit is rare, and the value isn’t lost on him.

“I think it’s super unique and I’m so proud of it,” he says. “I know a bunch of peers who do shows, and they have no athletes coming to their shows. Love Philly for that.”

“I would say that Connor strikes me as a special kind of person,” Quinlan says. “He doesn’t, by any means, have to do any of the things he’s doing. While I’m sure there are lots of people in all sorts of fields who love music, he uses his love for music in a way to give back to his community, which I think is such a generous thing to do – obviously in a financial way, but agian, just wanting to enjoy music with other people. He really seems to genuinely want to do that and I really respect that. I really respect his particular passion for the arts and community.”

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After Barwin took some time to also establish himself as a legitimate star in the NFL and watching the veterans’ examples of how to carry themselves on and off the field, he decided to use his position and do some good. He would use his love of live music to do so.

“When I got to Philadelphia, I said, all right. You’re not 21-years old anymore. It’s time to do this if you’re going to do it,” he says. “You’re going to live in Philadelphia year-round. If you want to make a difference, now is your opportunity.”

Barwin chose playgrounds and parks partially due to his upbringing in Detroit. His father was a city manager and was heavily involved with public spaces.

“There’s a lot of playgrounds in neighborhoods that have fallen on hard times and I think playgrounds had a big effect on my upbringing,” he says, referencing research that shows the importance of safe and fun places for kids to play for their development, as well as a playground’s importance in communities and neighborhoods. “Every kid deserves that. There’s no reason because of where you’re born, you don’t have a safe place to play.”

For each playground the foundation chooses to work with, the team at Make the World Better goes through a year-long process of assessing what the community wants and needs and how they can make it happen.

“We try to implement what they want,” Barwin says, noting the relationships he and the foundation have built in the public and private sectors. “And I think that’s the biggest reason we did it. I felt like we were capable of doing it. We could make the biggest impact by doing it to make Philadelphia a better place.”

Flume and Besenji @ Electric Factory.

September 8, 2016

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Text by Christopher Donahue. Images by Teresa McCullough.

This past Wednesday, the Electric Factory hosted one of Australia’s biggest names in the electronic community: Flume. Last time the beatmaster rode into Philadelphia was two years ago, and with his absence you could feel a yearning in the air from hungry fans.

Besenji, a fellow-Future Classic labelmate, took to the stage first, providing a range of mixed beats to match the eclectic crowd pouring through the doors. But it was the hype and praise surrounding the anticipation of the headliner that could be felt in full force.

The lights went off and the entire place fell silent. The audience scanned the stage for their mix-meister to start dropping his magic, remaining on edge in the darkness as the current sounds went from high to low in a sea of pitch black. A strobe started to flicker and a beat began to rumble. Flume popped out of the shadows as the crowd cheered him on, cell phones in hand trying to capture every moment of his appearance.

If there’s anything a die-hard Flume fan knows, it’s that he will take fans on a journey of emotions through light and sound. He started this trip with the RnB/electronic fused single “Holdin On,” the track that landed him a 2013 ARIA award in his homeland.

From there on, he performed popular singles including the trip-hop track “The Top” that had every mouth rapping the lyrics, to the soulful “Left Alone” keeping the crowd captivated in a spacey groove.

The visuals for Flume’s shows followed his usual theme of a multicolored kaleidoscope feel which mirrors the dream-trap sound he is praised for. While the visuals became more vibrant, Flume took the opportunity to take his fans further into a trance-like experience with favorites such as “Sleepless” and “Insane” which truly sent the crowd into a frenzy. The insanity didn’t stop there as Flume quickly transitioned into “Never Be Like You,” the lead single off his second studio album Skin, and the notorious track that landed him commercial success. The crowd was as antsy as ever as Flume eased them into the Tove-Lo collaboration “Say It,” another fan favorite off the new album.

Flume ended his set with his uber romantic remix of Disclosures “You & Me.” Under his final control of the night, the majority of concertgoers locked lips with their partners as they swung and swayed back and forth to the synth-heavy, bass-fueled anthem that all Flume fans know and love.

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