What to do in Philly this week.
Wednesday, August 4
As most heavy-rock enthusiasts will tell you, there is precious little more satisfying than a live set delivered by the stunning Japanese trio Boris. Crushing, doomy metal and roaring psych-rock are certainly part of the equation, but befitting their experimental side, Atsuo, Wata and Takeshi will often veer into drone-rock, ambient/shoegaze, and assaultive noise territories, making for an unforgettable, damn-near overwhelming experience. Be sure to get there early for Russian Circles, an instrumental trio out of Chicago that draws both from the post-rock tradition of Mogwai and Slint and the prog-metal tradition of Isis and Tool for atmospheric wallop that promises to be exhilarating in its own right. -Michael Alan Goldberg
7:30pm. $15. With Russian Circles + Disappearer. Starlight Ballroom, 460 N. Ninth St. 866.468.7619. r5productions.com
Barrymore-winning director Aaron Cromie sheds new light on Shakespeare’s Henry V by placing the young monarch in a classroom. In this production, Cromie turns the actors of the Philadelphia Classical Acting Academy into contemporary students who learn as well as live through the battle of Agincourt during the famous 100 Years War, illustrating Prince Henry (aka Hal) accepting his responsibilities. Hal, a thieving and rambunctious party boy in Henry IV, transforms into a disciplined student and eager king who must lead his subjects through the uncertainties of a temperamental throne. This lively adaptation hands out tickets three hours before curtain on a first-come-first-served basis—light a fire under it so you don’t miss out on a sexy slice of Shakespearean history. -Rachel Stumpo
7pm. Free. Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2111 Sansom St. 215.496.9722. phillyshakespeare.org
Thursday, August 5
Kings of Leon
Sometimes in the course of human history an event occurs that is so perfect and wondrous it compels even the most diehard skeptic to consider that the universe is not a random swirl of molecules, but that a higher power (with a sublime sense of humor) is guiding the action from above. So it went a couple weeks ago at a now-legendary concert in St. Louis, when the shit from pigeons rained down from the rafters upon the overrated, overblown, Black Crowes-meets-U2 rock quartet Kings of Leon, forcing them from the stage after three songs. If similar divine intervention happens tonight, let’s hope it holds off until the truly great Built to Spill wraps up its opening set. -M.A.G.
7:30pm. $36.50-$61.50. With Built to Spill + the Stills. Susquehanna Bank Center, 1 Harbor Blvd., Camden, N.J. 856.365.1300. livenation.com
Talk about making the best of a bad situation. In the 1993 film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray gets caught in a particularly annoying wrinkle in time while visiting Punxsutawney, Pa., to see if Phil catches his shadow. Then, kind of like a crappy day job, our hero has to endure the S.O.S. day after day after day. Then he meets beautiful Andie MacDowell and learns to exploit his misfortune in order to learn how to get into her skirt–uh, I mean, to learn the true meaning of love, or something. Oh, to be back in 1993 when boner rom-coms were so innocent! Relive the dream under the stars by grabbing a blanket, some bug spray and a (brown-bagged) bottle of wine and watching the film under the stars near the Walnut Street Bridge. Pre-dusk early birds get to nosh on snacks and enter a raffle. -Tara Murtha
Friday, August 6
Sean Hannity Presents Freedom Concerts ’10
Because you have a regular desire to froth about the president’s neo-Marxist Nazi socialism while listening to the sweet, sweet strains of “Simple Man” against a backdrop of roller coasters and maggot children with their faces covered in churro sugar. Because you’re an anthropologist, and a gathering like this will keep you busy for years. Because one of the “guest appearances” is Ollie freaking North, and you’ve always wanted to share breathing space with someone who sold weapons to Iran. Because technically, it’s a fundraiser for kids whose parents have been killed in the military, and technically, that’s a good thing. Because when else in your life can you shout “Free Bird!” at the band and not be the biggest asshole in the room? -Jeffrey Barg
7pm. $80.25. With Lynyrd Skynyrd, Michael W. Smith + the Charlie Daniels Band. Six Flags Great Adventure, 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, N.J. 732.928.1821. freedomconcerts.com
Thunderkats Fashion Show
One can only imagine the tantalizing potential of superhero boots and Cheetara print in a clothing line, but Cyan Jeffries made it real. The mind behind locally sewn Exodus Designs is inspired by sources from jazz to TV to her hometown. Her recent creations include Nina Simone-esque chauffeur coats and earthy-but-sexy crocheted bikinis. This spring, Exodus’ Orange Line collection incorporated bright Pop Art prints and iridescent fabrics, each named for a stop on the Broad Street Line. Now, Jeffries has plumbed the finest in anthropomorphic space-cat cartoonage for her seventh collection, ThunderKats. The looks premiere alongside works by artist Malia Becton, poetry jammer Jeanine Kayembe, spinning by DJ Aura, and music from Super Defstar and godHead the General. It’s a multimedia showcase as eclectic as Jeffries’ designs. -Alexandra Jones
8pm. $15. The Purl, 1138 S. Ninth St. 267.528.1367. exodusdesignsthunderkats.eventbrite.com
Favela on Blast
Rising out of the hot, ultra-violent slums of Rio de Janeiro, a place forever seared into the minds of North American audiences by 2002’s hard-hitting City of God, comes funk carioca, the subject of the Diplo-directed documentary Favela on Blast. Take the low-end sonic boom and MC fury of hip-hop subgenre Miami Bass and filter it through Brazil’s polyrhythmic, dance-centric musical history, from maracatu to post-tropicalia, and a fresh musical phenomenon is born. Since the 1980s, a vibrant subculture has blossomed around this gritty breed of funk, providing an outlet for the strife and injustice that plagues the bloodstained streets of the favelas. -E.S.
7pm. $5-$8. International House, 3701 Chestnut St. 215.387.5125. ihousephilly.org
Saturday, August 7
Acana Festival & African Independence Day
The city will be on fire this weekend with festivals of the Africana persuasion, lit by two sparks at opposite ends of the city: ACANA’s African Festival at Penn’s Landing and the African Independence Day celebration in West Philly’s Malcolm X Park, put on by the Pearl of Africa and the Nation of African Peoples Unity on the theme of “Ma’at,” the ancient Egyptian notion of truth, balance, order, law, morality and justice ... Both will feature Afrocentric cuisine, art, wares and live music (West Philly has legendary, revolutionary group the Last Poets, Penn’s Landing has “The Machine Gun” Dibala). They’re both free and will last all day, so go out to both for a great Saturday. -Ryan Smith
Thankfully we’ve evolved since “technical metal” meant a grimacing hair farmer bent over his guitar wrenching forth 32nd note arpeggios as though paid by the stroke. Cynic’s one of several late-‘80s Florida acts to break ground on tech/prog metal—the knotty, dynamic style that finds listeners thoughtfully rubbing their goatee through sinewy, hard-cornering time changes rather than flogging fellow patrons with their greasy mullet to drop-D tuning. Cynic returned from hiatus a few years ago, following up their seminal ’93 release Focus, with a more melodic, arty/noodl-istic tone even further removed from metal. Local instrumental trio Dysrhythmia are more brutal, but still sound like King Crimson schooling Sonic Youth in a dank warehouse. -Chris Parker
7:30pm. $16.50-$18. With Intronaut, Dysrhythmia, NaSadaa. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.LIVE. thetroc.com
Sunday, August 8
Hallogallo Perform the Music of Neu!
Mixing psych-rock, improv, classical and prog tropes with Futurist electronic experimentation, Krautrock resulted from artists needing to start anew within the nihilistic, apathetic context of post-Nazi Germany. Leading this brave sonic movement was ex-Kraftwerk members Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother’s NEU! Though they only released three albums, their influence on the trajectory of contemporary music is heard in Radiohead, Brian Eno, David Bowie and countless others. As Dinger died in 2008, Rother has assembled a team to help him re-explore NEU!’s challenging, if short, body of work. For this historic tour, Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley maintains Dinger’s Autobahn-inspired motorik rhythms alongside multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Curtis (School of Seven Bells) and guitarist Aaron Mullan (Tall Firs).- E.S.
Alternative Comic Con
The second year of the Philadelphia Alternative Comic Con has mushroomed to twice the size of the first, with more than 60 exhibitors. “I’m super pumped to have Fireball Printing helping out with the printing needs, as well as Locust Moon helping with some of the legwork and the afterparty,” says founder Pat Aulisio. Though almost all local talent will represent, PACC is also hosting some much ballyhooed out-of-town writers and artists like Ken Dahl (nominated for an Eisner for his book Monster) and Eamon Epsey (Wormdye), both published by New York’s Secret Acres. Other highlights include the release of the second issue of Secret Prison, edited by Ian Harker and featuring artist Benjamin Marra. While you’re there, be sure to pick up a limited-edition anthology of some of the best cartoonists exhibiting at PACC (with cover by Philly webcomic legend Box Brown) and hit the afterparty at Locust Moon to mill with the DIY elite. -T.M.
Noon. $3-$10. Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St. phillyaltcon.blogspot.com
MakePhilly formed in 2005 to provide a place where imaginative, science- and tech-minded individuals from the Philly area can meet, share ideas and build things together with an emphasis on reusing, DIY ethos and awesome factor. For this summer’s annual BBQ, the group has invited University City-based Wondergy, a group that makes educational yet entertaining science content for kids but more importantly does this trick where they launch a 44-gallon trash can high above the treetops. The afternoon’s schedule is full of explosions, solar s’mores (using focused sunlight to set the marshmallows on fire) and a trash can launch. If you’re hypothetically interested in building or exploding things but have not yet set anything on fire, used a soldering iron or joined MakePhilly, you’re still welcome to attend; bring a picnic lunch and a small grill if you have one. People are also encouraged to make and bring their own water rockets. But if rocket science is a bit much to freestyle, instructions are on the MakePhilly website. -Brenda Hillegas
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