That headline is correct: MAGNET did get to go to the 2019 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. And our Wes Orshoski did shoot these images for us. But he didn’t have the right credentials to take photos of the actual show. So he was relegated to watch the Cure from backstage, on a screen like the rest of us MAGNETeers who have been binging on Robert Smith and Co. recently. (Though he did get to see as much of absentee inductee Thom Yorke as the folks in the good seats, which is to say not at all.) But Wes had a fun night, and though he was totally bummed he didn’t actually see the Cure play live, he’s not complaining. Boys don’t cry after all.
MAGNET hometown hero Timothy Showalter (a.k.a. Strand Of Oaks) did what any self-respecting music nerd does on album-release Fridays. He headed down to his local record store; only instead of buying the latest vinyl offerings, he played a 30-minute set celebrating his new album, Eraserland (Dead Oceans). While this appearance at Philly’s Repo Records was Showalter by his lonesome, his latest LP features Jason Isbell and every member of My Morning Jacket not named Jim James. Strand Of Oaks heads out for a month-long North American tour starting April 10 at the FM Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Don’t miss out on the Greatest Show(alter) On Earth.
—photos by Chris Sikich
An awesome antipodal appearance from Stella Donnelly, whose Beware Of The Dogs debut just came out via Secretly Canadian. The Perth-based singer/songwriter made her Philly debut at Johnny Brenda’s with a set that was half solo, half with a full band, and wholly charming, thoughtful and tuneful. Some of my favorites were “Boys Will Be Boys,” “Mechanical Bull,” “Die,” “U Owe Me” and “Season’s Greetings.”
Secretly Canadian labelmate Faye Webster—with Matt “Pistol” Stoessel—opened with gentle, at times almost meditative, guitar and pedal steel that wasn’t quite country, folk, rock or pop. The highlight was Webster’s cover of Father’s “Cheap Thrills” that honored the original’s hip-hop spirit while sounding cut from the same cloth as her own songs.
—words by M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich
Philadelphia’s Church Girls blasted the roof off hometown Johnny Brenda’s behind their sparkling new Cycles EP (Chatterbot). Frontwoman Mariel Beaumont led the power-pop parade with insightful lyrics and guitar hooks, and the band’s frantic energy was infectious and left the crowd awaiting more in the Fishtown cathedral of sound. Philly/Brooklyn outfit Field Mouse opened with a terrific dusting off of its past catalog and hints of forthcoming music.
—words and photos by Chris Sikich
In just less than 75 minutes, Samantha Crain forged a connection with a living room full of strangers in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia, armed with just her trusty guitar, her unadorned voice and a few tangents about Jeff Tweedy taking Wayne Coyne down a peg and her mostly untapped talent as a food medium. Among the dozen vulnerable, intimate songs she played were “Elk City,” “Outside The Pale,” “Antiseptic Greeting” and a few recently recorded numbers—plus a cover of Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away” to end the night with a bit of a sing-along.
—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich
Opening alone in the crowd with an acoustic “Ready To Win,” Tokyo Police Club’s David Monks stirred a sold-out Boot & Saddle into a frenzy that never stopped. Playing a tight set of 18 songs, the Canadian rockers induced sweat, smiles and deep-catalog requests. Touring behind last year’s sublime TPC (Dine Alone), the quartet showed why it’s one of the best bands around. Fellow Ontarians Dizzy opened the Philly date with a stunning set as well, playing material from debut LP Baby Teeth (Royal Mountain), which just won the Juno Award for alternative album of the year. Photos by MAGNET’s Chris Sikich.
Sir Babygirl threw an exhilarating electropop/punk party at Philly’s Boot & Saddle, and you were invited. Hearing songs off Crush On Me (Father/Daughter), the debut album from Brooklyn-based Kelsie Hogue, put the crowd in a frenzy, leading to a dance party onstage for the whole show. Hogue is a versatile performer who rocked the guitar, sampled other artists in inventive ways between songs and delivered great banter. And in a preshow fitting with MAGNET for her SXSW outfit, Hogue showed a sense of how she’ll take over the music world one crush at a time. Sunspeaker—also from Brooklyn—opened with an entertaining blast of synths and vibes.
—words and photos by Chris Sikich
Liverpool It duo Her’s is winding down its U.S. tour this week, and we were lucky enough to catch the off-kilter pop duo play to a packed house at Philly’s Johnny Brenda’s. Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading—along with spiritual guide Pierce Brosnan, who seemed a little stiff during the set—are supporting their debut album, last year’s Invitation To Her’s. Fellow punctuation-appreciating Spencer. opened the show, and MAGNET photographer Chris Sikich says both acts put on shows not to be missed if you know what’s right.
Last week at Philly’s Johnny Brenda’s, the punk rock of the Flesh Eaters swallowed the sold-out crowd whole. The mythical Los Angeles dream team of frontman Chris D., Dave Alvin and Bill Bateman (both from the Blasters), John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake (both of X) and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) filled the stage to the brim with sweaty hellfire rock for the ages.
Touring behind this year’s I Used To Be Pretty (Yep Roc), the first release from this lineup since 1981’s A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, the Flesh Eaters were a glorious sight to behold. Alvin’s blistering guitar solos—matched with Doe’s bass lines and Berlin’s sax—made for a heady mix of jazz-ish punk to accompany Chris D.’s evocative lyrics. Add to that Bonebrake’s marimba and Bateman’s drums, and it’s a propulsive sound like no other for a show that may never be replicated again.
Minnesota’s Porcupine—featuring Hüsker Dü’s Greg Norton—opened with a super-charged rock set of its own. Norton’s bass (and stage moves), Casey Virock’s gut-punch vocals and Ian Prince’s crushing drums were a sublime start to the night.
—words and photos by Chris Sikich
Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir is on tour now with new trio Wolf Bros featuring Don Was (Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop) on bass and Jay Lane (Primus, RatDog, Furthur) on drums. The veteran threesome is playing a combination of songs by the Dead (and its extended family) in addition to covers of tracks by the likes of Dylan, the Beatles, Kris Kristofferson, Little Feat, Daniel Lanois and more. MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was at the first of two nights at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., to witness these anthems of the sun.