Live Review: Tame Impala, Philadelphia, Aug. 23, 2019

Recent Lollpalooza headliner Tame Impala took over the Mann Center For The Performing Arts, leaving fans speechless. With a capacity of about 13,000 people, the venue seemed beyond filled, including just about every square inch of the vast lawn. 

To start off their set, Kevin Parker and his touring band cut right to the chase with an unforgettable, visually enhanced performance, one of the things that Tame is most known for. Utilizing everything from lasers to confetti to psychedelic lights, this was a feast for the eyes that ranks with the best I’ve ever seen. 

As for the musical performance, Tame’s psych vibes were definitely present. I couldn’t help but dance along as I managed to sneak my way closer to the front, thanks to the lack of security in each section. Every concert has a different atmosphere, and this one was pretty laid-back, to say the least.

Parker saved the best—and most popular—for (almost) last. The first track from the two-song encore was 2015 worldwide hit “The Less I Know The Better,” and it was an incredible way to end the show. Even if you’re not a Tame Impala fan, I would recommend seeing them at least once in your life. Their show is that good.

—Samantha Geiger; photos by Chis Sikich

Live Review: The Wallflowers, Glenside, PA, Aug. 25, 2019

What do people want from the Wallflowers at this point in their career? Seven years after their most recent release and 23 years removed from Bringing Down The Horse (the LP that yielded all their hits), the crowd at the Keswick seemed more than willing to settle for ‘90s rock nostalgia—familiar songs played reasonably well by guys who looked like they might’ve been in the band all along. We can all name plenty of white dudes who’ve coasted on less.

But it’s a bit more complicated for Jakob Dylan, who’s always been judged by a different standard. Whether you resented the unfair advantage he had from the start or cut him some slack for growing up in the shadow of a cantankerous messiah, the Wallflowers’ frontman hasn’t had the luxury of sinking into semi-anonymous mediocrity.

As the only man onstage whose tenure in the band is more than provisional, Dylan looked cool, sang great—in a seasoned voice that’s closer to Warren Zevon‘s than Tom Petty’s or his dad’s—and came off as both present and engaged.

Introducing “Invisible City,” he praised the Keswick’s acoustics, noting that the song doesn’t translate as well in the cornfields and arenas where the Wallflowers often find themselves spending their summers.

The audience got what they were after with “Three Marlenas,” “Sixth Avenue Heartache,” “One Headlight” and “The Difference” (all fitting like a perfectly broken-in pair of jeans), though prayers for “Josephine” (some profane) went unanswered. “Laughing Out Loud” was a minor revelation, the hit that got away, and even “God Don’t Make Lonely Girls” held a deep-cut appeal.

While every post-2000s Wallflowers tune seemed destined to blend into the background, some of the sharpest songs were drawn from Dylan’s 2010 solo album, Women + Country. You know he knows it, too; opening the show with “Standing Eight Count” is a deliberate provocation, as is placing “Everybody’s Hurting” smack in the center of the set. They’re a sign of the heights he could hit if he weren’t trapped between the curse of his birth name and the baggage of his band’s early success.

If people wanted more from the Wallflowers at this point in their career, Jakob Dylan could give it to them.

It was a treat to spend an evening in the warm embrace of slide guitars, organ riffs and gravel-skimming vocals—the aural equivalent of a security blanket. Or a cocoon. It’ll be something else entirely if their craftsman can get listeners to follow him wherever he chooses to go next.

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich

XPoNential Music Festival 2019 (The Performances): Elvis Costello, Hozier, Blondie, Amy Ray, Guster And More

Elvis Costello & The Imposters

MAGNET photographer Chris Sikich picks the highlights—in no particular order, other than that by day—from the 26th annual XPoNential Music Festival. (He also took the photos.)

Hozier

Friday
Foxtrot And The Get Down brought rock ‘n’ roll joy to the Marina Stage, while the fantastic Nilüfer Yanya and Bettye LaVette delivered solid rock and soul sets, respectively, on the River Stage.

20-year-old Christone “Kingfish” Ingram may have delivered the most knockout set of the fest with his transcendent blues guitar work.

Japanese Breakfast finally graced the XPoNential stage at BB&T and wowed a crowd revved up for Hozier.

Blondie

Saturday
A rare New Jersey entrant at this fest, the Vaughns rocked early in the day, filling up the Marina Stage with awesome jangle.

Philly’s Ali Awan sounds grander with each live appearance, and in the blazing sun, he delivered one of the fest’s best sets.

Amy Ray

Y La Bamba mesmerized on the Marina Stage, while Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds left everyone in a trance on the River Stage.

If this was a competition, the one-of-a-kind Caroline Rose won the day, serenading the Marina crowd with new and old work.

Also amazing: the piano-studded Philly soul of Low Cut Connie, the stunning McCrary Sisters and the spellbinding St. Paul & The Broken Bones.

Guster

Sunday
Philadelphia represented with rawk and wonder as RFA, Zeek Burse and Dave Hause impressed with their signature sounds.

My two favorites of the day brought voices new and old to the forefront. I’ve been dying to check out the War And Treaty, and the band’s soulful rock brought waves of delight to the Marina Stage. On the River Stage, Kathleen Edwards returned from a performance and recording hiatus with her voice as stunning as ever. 

Japanese Breakfast

Sean Ardoin brought delicious zydeco sounds to close out the Marina Stage in great fashion.

With hints of sunset glory behind her and her band, Amy Ray ended the XPoNential Music Festival with her patented folk rock, as stirring and brilliant as ever.

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

XPoNential Music Festival 2019 (The Portraits): Dawes, Amy Ray, The War And Treaty, Kathleen Edwards And More

Dawes

The 26th annual XPoNential Music Festival was killer three-day, family-friendly event held on the Camden, N.J., waterfront. These are portraits of some of those who performed, taken by MAGNET’s Chris Sikich.

Amy Ray
The War And Treaty
Kathleen Edwards
Y La Bamba
Dave Hause
Sister Sparrow
Ali Awan
Killiam Shakespeare
Nilüfer Yanya
RFA
Low Cut Connie
Foxtrot & The Get Down
Sean Ardoin