Bring Back the Love
Remember when snapback caps and high-top fades with multiple parts weren’t so ridiculous looking? How about Cross Colour and HBCU gear, gangsta Looney Tunes and “Black Bart” tees and gigantic, knob-laden boomboxes? This glorious time was known as the ’90s, when music was a different animal and R&B made plenty of noise. The slow jams of the day were guaranteed panty-droppers and, believe it or not, everybody didn’t sound like a bootleg R. Kelly, nor were they closeted, wannabe rappers. In any case, the opportunity to relive these days has arrived. R&B legends K-Ci & Jo-Jo, Carl Thomas, Case, Dru Hill and Next will be taking the stage making the ladies swoon with their classics from the days of yore. See some of the drafters of the modern-day R&B blueprint show you how it’s done. Ladies break out the jellies, doorknockers and phosphorescent hair. Fellas, throw on that knock-off Versace, dust off that Figaro chain and roll up that pant leg: The experience is sure to be all that and a bag of chips. -Ryan K. Smith
6pm. $43-$63. Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St. 800.298.4200. liacourascenter.com
Parts & Labor
Since 2002, Brooklyn’s Parts & Labor have crafted powerhouse tunes grounded on maximalist momentum and catchy melodies. Following tours with TV on the Radio and Deerhoof, and modest praise for their explosive LPs Stay Afraid (2006) and Mapmaker (2007), P&L threw critics and fans a curveball with Escapers Two (2008). Billed as an EP, it featured 51 songs in under 30 minutes, and showed the band expressing their allegiance to experimentation and disinterest in becoming just another verse-chorus-verse indie-rock act. On their new album released by Jagjaguwar in early March, Constant Future, they find common ground, building a bridge between sparkling noise, pummeling beats, clever hooks, and anthemic, sing-a-long crescendos. -E.S.
8pm. $10. With Moon Women + the Perfectionists. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
Think back to 125th Street in Harlem and the legendary Apollo Theatre, where a host of musical deities such as The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye and Mariah Carey hit the scene. Amateur Night was the original American Idol, but instead of three industry big-wigs deciding your destiny, the crowd held your future in their hands. If you killed it, they cheered you on. If you were too pitchy, they booed and pointed for you to leave the stage as the infamous Sandman came and escorted you off. Now, this tradition is being reborn in Philly thanks to the JTor, Inc. Come out as 11 contestants brave the crowd in hopes of moving on to immortality in this showcase hosted by homegrown comedian Malcolm Hill and DJ Truuf. It’s time for Philly to see and show what it can do. Hopefully, the Sandman will NOT cometh. -R.K.S.
7pm. $15. Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St. 267.736.2511. phillyapollo.com
Manayunk Brew Fest
Spend your Saturday getting drunk in Manayunk. Oh, sorry. We mean, tasting the finest and freshest fermented grains crafted to flavored perfection. Enjoy the spring weather with a little midday ruckus. By ruckus we mean engaged in civilized conversation with your peers. Starting around noon, get your liquid lunch on under the sun along the Schuylkill, sampling 50 crafts from 15 breweries, including favorites Dock Street, Flying Fish, Harvest Moon, Lancaster, Sierra Nevada and Yard’s, natürlich. The ticket price includes four hours of tasting, a food voucher, a tasting glass and a T-shirt. Hear that? T-shirt. Still plenty of time for a nap and PIFA’s street fair. -A.K.
1pm. $45. Manayunk Brewery, 4120 Main St. 215.482.8220. manayunkbrewery.com
Sunday, May 1
People’s Movie Night: Not Just a Game
“You better turn on to the political part of sports,” former PW scribe Dave Zirin urged fans in a recent interview, “or that political part of sports is going to turn on you.” As a columnist for hoops monthly SLAM and sports editor of The Nation, a journal of leftist thought, Zirin is in a unique position to know. He blames the corporatization of athletics that began during Michael Jordan’s playing days for the resolutely anti-political atmosphere now dominating both locker rooms and the evening highlights. But as the documentary he co-wrote demonstrates, not so long ago stars like Muhammad Ali and Billie Jean King spoke and acted boldly. The sports reporter also believes it’s foolhardy for the folks in the cheap seats to ignore blatantly politicized issues like Title IX and public funding for stadiums. Zirin will be on hand for a Q&A; go argue sports in person instead of calling WIP. -R.S.
7pm. Free. Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South St. 215.413.0999. woodenshoebooks.com
Monday, May 2
The New Motels
Jenkintown foursome the New Motels occasionally pounds the Pavement—creating a loping, country-tinged indie-rock rumpus akin to Malkmus and company. But the quartet adds power-pop and mod-pop to its skewed twang to keep things fresh, and working with Philly superproducer/engineer Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man, etc.) has helped hone a sound that, if not totally unique, is always spirited and catchy. Tonight you’ll find out just how good their songs are without any studio bells and whistles or electric fuzz —they’re playing a stripped-down acoustic set as part of the North Star’s “Victorian Dining Room Series,” taking place in, yes, the venue’s 125-year-old dining room. Also: It’s free!
8pm. Free. With the Suitcases. North Star Bar, 27th and Poplar sts. 215.787.0488. northstarbar.com
Tuesday, May 3
Rise Against + Bad Religion
The pupil’s surpassed the teacher, and it’s out of respect that Bad Religion landed a opening slot. Three decades in the Californian gray punk lion looks back on a label legacy (Epitaph), a couple radio hits (“21st Century Digital Boy”), and scores of imitators, most notably Rise Against. The Chicago quartet plays similarly heady, melodic hardcore anthems with steely metal-clean guitar and an impassioned vocalist (Tim McIlrath) who even sounds like BR’s Greg Graffin. The rare major label legacy act (eight years on Geffen), each of their four discs has done better than the last, highlighted by their latest Endgame, which went to No. 2. Bad Religion’s not dead, but the crown’s been passed. -Chris Parker
7pm. $35. With Four Year Strong. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.336.2000. electricfactory.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide