Calendar: May 18-24

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 18, 2011

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Wednesday, May 18

Arctic Monkeys
Is it really five years since the Arctic Monkeys emerged, breathlessly hyped as the newfound saviors of indie-pop? No longer the British music press’ pet wunderkinder, or, for that matter, the spotty poet laureates of adolescent antics in suburban Britain, they’ve become older (obviously), considerably more hirsute, and hugely successful, regularly filling arenas and stadiums back home and hanging out with the likes of James Ford and Josh Homme. Which is all well and good, but let’s face it, their last album—the distinctly underwhelming Humbug—was, well, pretty turgid. Still, they’re promising a glorious overdose of big, dumb pop hooks and guitar heroics with their forthcoming new album, Suck it and See, and that can only be a good thing. They remain a band of not inconsiderable wit and panache, and live they’re one of the tightest acts around. Put on your dancing shoes indeed ... -Neil Ferguson

8pm. $25. With the Vaccines. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332.

The A.W.A.R.D Show!
The best dancers in Philly are competing live this week for a prize totalling $12,000. After being selected by a national panel of dance experts, 12 of the most talented local choreographers will go head to head (or toe to toe) over three consecutive nights. The diverse group of experienced dancers includes Brian Sanders, founder of JUNK (a local dance troupe known best for their off-the-wall choreography incorporating found objects) and Raphael Xavier, an award-winning breakdancer from Delaware who has performed around the world. Four works will be presented each night then discussed and voted on by the audience. On the final night, a panel of local dance experts, including Inquirer dance critic Lisa Kraus and Pennsylvania Ballet resident choreographer Matthew Neenan, will name the top three. -Nicole Finkbiner

7pm. $15. Through May 21. The Arts Bank, 601 S. Broad St. 215.545.0590.

Thursday, May 19

Gruff Rhys
Now that Super Furry Animals are on extended hiatus, it’s likely that frontman Gruff Rhys won’t bring his red Power Rangers helmet, furry animal costumes, and the band’s other visual hijinks to the stage this evening. It’ll be tough for him to leave the group’s whimsical, addictive psych-pop behind, however—it’s embedded in Rhys’ DNA, and on his tremendous new solo LP, Hotel Shampoo. Lively and celebratory in spots (like the mariachi-horn-dappled single “Sensations in the Dark”), sweetly nostalgic in others, the album blends SFA-style melodic eccentricities with whiffs of Burt Bacharach, Love and the Zombies. It should make for an odd and rollicking set tonight, preceded by the nearly as weird Welsh instrumental surf-rock outfit Y Niwl. -Michael Alan Goldberg

9pm. $12. With Y Niwl. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

No Deposit, No Return Blues
Perhaps Sandy Bull got too far ahead of his audience. Branded a folkie, the multi-instrumentalist opened his 1963 debut on Vanguard with a side-long piece featuring his raga-like guitar and the soulful drumming of free-jazz stalwart Billy Higgins. He studied oud with Hamza El Din long before George Harrison picked up a sitar, and in concert he accompanied himself to pre-recorded tracks, which he employed because he was dissatisfied with most rhythm guitarists. Dylan even invited him to join the Rolling Thunder Revue. Bull’s output later slowed to a trickle and he receded from public view, mostly because record labels couldn’t pigeonhole him. The nomadic musician finally succumbed to cancer in 2001. Fortunately for music lovers, K.C. Bull has made a heartfelt documentary about her father, which she’ll screen this week in Philly. Brooke Sietensons of Espers, a fan, helped organize the event; local guitarist Willie Lane will pay his respects. Here’s hoping their combined efforts bring Bull’s music a wider audience. -Raymond Simon

7pm. $5. Brickbat Books, 709 S. Fourth St. 215.592.1207.

Friday, May 20

Upper Darby Greek Festival
In case any of you weren’t aware of the superiority of Greek women, music and food, educate yourself in Upper Darby during this four-day festival. Saint Demetrios, a Greek Orthodox church that spares no expense in the name of gilt and glittering trappings, will host a festival celebrating Greek culture—meaning food and drink, of course. Traditional dance performances start at 6:30 p.m, entertaining you as you feast on mousaka, lamb kokinisto, gyro, souvlaki and Greek beer and wine. The church will host free tours, and you can try your luck in their raffle, all in the name of preserving this rare gem in the sea of our city’s many diasporas. (You know, the word “diaspora” comes from the Greek). The Greek isles seem far, far away from the industrial hubbub of Philly, but in Upper Darby this weekend, if you squint hard enough, you’ll almost feel like you’re there. -Ada Kulesza

11am. Free. Through May 22. Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 229 Powell Lane, Upper Darby. 610.941.4222.

Loving Him is Killing Me
Starting in the latter 1890s with Will Marion Cook’s The Origin of the Cakewalk and Bob Cole’s A Trip To Coontown and coming into prominence with Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and Hammerstein’s Carmen, the black stage play flourished into a rich tradition of exhilarating performances and plot lines that entertain the entire family. While most of the plays that hit the stage today sound like self-help seminars with titles similar to “Lord, Why Can’t I Find A Man,” the tradition is still strong. Critically acclaimed playwright Theo London looks to add to it with his latest offering, Loving Him Is Killing Me. The play displays the drama of a widowed mother and teenaged daughter who are in love with the same beau, a very Maury-esque situation. The cast runs the generational gamut of black pop culture starring America’s favorite housewife Nene Leakes, VH1 reality personality Joe ‘Tiny’ Barrino from Fantasia For Real, New Jack City actor and crooner Christopher Williams, modeling vet and heartthrob Tyson Beckford along with R&B songsters Angie Stone, Kenny Lattimore and the legendary Lenny Williams. You’re sure to laugh, possibly cry and leave uplifted. -Ryan K. Smith

8pm. Through May 22. $39-$58. Merriam Theatre, 250 S. Broad St. 215.732.5446.

Saturday, May 21

Black Anvil
Following an opening gig in February with stoner-sludge overlords Eyehategod, New York City’s Black Anvil return to Philly to headline a triple bill with local metal-fiends the Claw and Coffin Dust. Triumvirate, their 2010 sophomore release on PA’s Relapse Records, thrashes with savage speed-riffs, fierce beats and demonic growls, but the fuming trio—all former members of hardcore heroes Kill Your Idols—will do more than just shred you and leave your corpse for the vultures to gnaw. With frequent transitions between rhino-charging fury and more melodic, sweet leaf-scented grooves, Black Anvil pause to whisper in your ear and run their ogre-fingers through your mane while hacking you into bite-sized bits. -Elliott Sharp

7pm. $10. With The Claw and Coffin Dust. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. 215.291.4919.

Northeast Beer Fest
Though the man discovered electricity and invented bifocals, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” may be the wisest proverb our forefather, Benjamin Franklin, ever told. Centuries later, our city continues to celebrate the nectar of the gods, and you can take part in some “idol worship” this weekend at the 1st annual Greater Northeast Philadelphia Beer Festival. This rain-or-shine outdoor event will feature craft brews from far and wide to sample, taste and certainly come back for more. Local up-and-coming band On Display with play along with other acts as beer lovers shop for homemade brewing kits and Santiago Cigar Factory’s hand-rolled cigars. Attendees receive an official Greater Northeast tasting class and can vote on a wide range of local and national brews. Plus, you can compete in the “mystery brew” contest to challenge your beer-snob knowledge. No better way to kick off the summer than spending the day in the sun with a tall, frosty glass of beer. -Lauren Gordon

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