Saturday, Feb. 5
Ross Bellenoit + Johnny Miles + Small Houses
For the past year, West Philly’s premiere yoga and healing arts space Studio 34 has been playing host to lo-fi music sessions that, in the chilly months, means cozily lounging about on oversize floor cushions while sipping complementary hot teas and ciders. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Sweet Sound of Music series, the studio’s hosting a grab-bag of dudes that each bring a distinct vibe to the table. Ross Bellenoit has long been Philly’s sideman axe extraordinaire (earning him the rarified distinction of being included in PW’s Session Players cover story) who’s finally making his own mark at the mike with just-released debut Eight Track Mind. Johnny Miles cruises the blacktop between rock ’n’ roll with graceful workingman’s swagger—keep andeye out for his forthcoming record produced by Bellenoit—while Small Houses, AKA Jeremy Quentin, on loan from Michigan, delivers jaunty bright finger-picking and literate-lumberjack vox that recall the wintry ache of Tallest Man on Earth, all chilly porches and kerosene lanterns. T.M.
7:30pm. $10. Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave. 215.387.3434. studio34yoga.com
Man of Mystery
Fred Siegel loves magic. Not so much the white tigers and ABC Family specials kind—his lifetime love of sleight-of-hand and trickery comes from much more lo-fi roots, along the boardwalks and in sideshow tents. He started doing magic after an Atlantic City pier sideshow in the summer of ’69, where a young Siegel got the crap scared out of him by the old beautiful-girl-changes-into-fearsome-gorilla standby. After years of shuffling cards (and writing his doctoral dissertation on the role of magic in American vaudeville), Siegel got a summer gig doing magic at the Coney Island Sideshow, which he calls “lying for money.” His one-man show, a two-off reprise of performances from the past Fringe festival, is part memoir of his life and times as a magician, part magic show and part dream sequence, performed at the distinctly appropriate venue of Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic-covered Magic Gardens. E.G.
Sat., Feb. 5. and Sun., Feb. 6. 8pm. $5-$8. Magic Gardens, 1020 South St. 215.733.0390. phillymagicgardens.org
Sunday, Feb. 6
Spastic jazz-punks PAK couldn’t hail from anywhere other than Brooklyn, though the scratchy guitar does at times recall Greg Ginn’s Gone. They employ jazz-skronk, Zappa-esque eccentricity and slashing guitar atonality while wavering between math rock churn and noisy no wave bristle. They’re less confrontational sonically than their free-form jazz/avant-noise antecedents, utilizing more knotty structure, repetition and even snatches of melody. The vocals—what there is of them—are comprised of yelps, screeches and curt, high-pitched declamations. Their forthcoming third album, Secret Curve, the first since leader Ron Anderson (Molecules) forsook the guitar and culled the lineup down to a duo, is fashioned with keyboards, strings, horns, and ecectronics, but no six-string. -C.P.
8pm. $5. With Inzinzac, Ugh, God + Multitudes. Kung Fu Necktie, 1248 N. Front St. 215.291.4919. kungfunecktie.com
Monday, Feb. 7
With the bushy, half-gray beard and extra long hair he’s been sporting lately, Monotonix frontman Ami Shalev looks more like a crazed-caveman version of Robert Plant than that second-coming-of-Doug Henning vibe he was rockin’ when the Israeli trio first came to the U.S. five years ago and established itself as THE must-see live band. Sure, their roaring, scuzzy garage-rock grooves rule. But most everyone goes to a Monotonix show to catch Shalev and company’s legendary mayhem, which typically includes (playfully) tormenting fans, setting things on fire, dumping garbage on one another, climbing things they probably shouldn’t, and eventually taking the show out onto the street. Hopefully Shalev’s brilliant madman routine won’t put him afoul of any North Philly cops. M.A.G.
8pm. $10. With Federation X, Pujol. The Ox, 1652 N. Second St. myspace.com/theoxphiladelphia
Philadelphia: The Great Experiment
If you find Philly history as compulsively interesting as we do, check out Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. The first installment of a projected seven-hour miniseries, the doc’s got both the neat and the nasty, especially when it comes to the city’s turbulent (to say the least) past when it comes to race relations—for example, lots of stuff about the Quaker movement’s protests against slavery in an era when that was distinctly untrendy, and the corresponding time when firemen let a mob burn down the HQ of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. The doc is by Sam Katz, who’s been in the thankless role of Republican candidate for mayor of Philadelphia three times (although he’s a Democrat now), which should give you some idea of the guy’s stick-to-it nature and love of city. If you actually want to come across as knowledgeable about Philly, you gotta take your curiousity further than “Uh, Ben Franklin.” So go learn something. -E.G.
6pm. $5. Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch St. 215.569.3186. philadelphiacfa.org
Tuesday, Feb. 8
Lou Reed/ Leonard Cohen Tribute Night
As tribute nights begin to eclipse benefits, seems we can’t go a week without local musicians slipping under the covers with other musicians. Hearing how tribute-friendly Philadelphia has become, visiting musician Jeremy Quentin (who’s playing his own tunes this week at Studio 34) requested a tribute night of his own, choosing both Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen to honor. He’s invited 10 of his local friends to help. The maudlin ones will take on Lou Reed, the more maudlin will take on Leonard Cohen. Some teasers: Local pop-folk statesmen Chris Kasper will be performing “Tonight Will Be Fine” and “Famous Blue Raincoat”; Ron Gallo of Toy Soldiers will interpret “Dance Me to the End of Love,” and bassist Phil D’Agostino will cover “Candy Says.” Additional performers include Brand Hinton, Hezekiah Jones, Matt Helm and Louis Elliot. -T.M.
9pm. $8. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave. 267.671.9298. iourecords.com
Revolution Girl Style Again
The topic for this roundtable discussion at Kelly Writers House is the past, present and future of the Riot Grrrl movement. Emerging from underneath the larger punk umbrella in the early 1990s, riot-grrrl culture was grounded on the inseparability of empowerment, music and political action. Leading this all-star discussion is Sara Marcus, whose recent book Girls To The Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution provides a definitive account of an under-discussed and often misrepresented history. Joining her are Kathleen Hanna, leading figure and member of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, Katy Otto, founder of Exotic Fever Records and drummer for Philadelphia’s Trophy Wife and Beth Warshaw-Duncan, the executive director of Girls Rock Philly. The Arts Café is presently booked beyond capacity, but the event is live streaming at the nearby Rotunda (4014 Walnut St.), where a concert by Trophy Wife, Cat Vet and Whore Paint will follow the discussion. -Elliott Sharp
6pm. Free. Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk. 215.746.7636. writing.upenn.edu
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Calendar: July 22-29