Friday, August 2
Stemming from West Windsor, N.J., Matt Wong—who turns 16 on Aug. 1—is one of those performers who either inspires listeners or makes ‘em all kinds of jealous. Since picking up the guitar at age six, this kid has managed to essentially master the instrument as a performer, composer and teacher. Now the enterprising youngster’s taken that show on the road and is bringing his chops to the discerning Legendary Dobbs audience.
In the most teen-guitar-prodigy sort of way, Wong has taken on fingerstyle as his technique du jour. Such way of playing, he says, allows him to simultaneously perform the bass and guitar alone, melody and rhythm parts, while throwing a little percussion in for good measure. “It’s basically, I’m taking all the parts of the band ... and just playing them all together,” he says, describing his style as a jazz, country and blues melting-pot. The junior at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South is also an aspiring producer, and he put out his 2011 LP Fly Me to the Moon all by himself—at the ripe ol’ age of 14. (And what did you do today?) He’s sort of like a one-man band without the goofy tambourine strapped to his foot or bass drum used as a backpack.
Wong’s concert repertoire includes both originals and classic tunes you may recognize, including, he says, a host of Beatles songs and “The Entertainer” by Janis Joplin. Sounds appropriate, as you’ll be both awed and entertained. / TESS MUMFORD
8pm. $10. With Grace Bernicker + Hold Your Own. The Legendary Dobbs, 304 South Street. 215.501.7288. dobbsphilly.com
London-based quartet the Vaccines have been compared to everyone from the Strokes to the Jesus and Mary Chain, though their own brand of indie rock is full of unique charms. Their sophomore record, 2012’s Come of Age, was recorded in both Belgium, and their native country and combines smart-ass lyrics with simplistic melodies. 8:30pm. $20. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
Dog Days of Summer
Gravers Lane Gallery hosts an ode to man’s best friend with a collection of paintings, sculptures and other unique depictions of adorable pups. Featured artists include Rick & Val Beck, Rachel Bliss and Mark Chatterly. Through Sept. 1. Gravers Lane Gallery, 8405 Germantown Ave. 215.247.1603. graverslanegallery.com
All of Philly Bloco’s 20-plus members are bringing their mashup of samba, funk and reggae to World Cafe Live. Get ready to dance! 9pm. $15. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400. philly.worldcafelive.com
CHF First Friday: Some Like It Cold
There’s no better time during the year to enjoy a mouth-watering ice cream cone than during the sweltering hot summer months, a fact the Chemical Heritage Foundation takes to heart with this month’s First Friday. Visitors will learn how advancements in science have helped yield different varieties of everyone’s favorite frozen delicacy. Bonus: Enjoy free samples courtesy of Pop’s Water Ice, Weckerly’s Ice Cream and Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream. 5pm. Free. Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St. 215.925.2222. chemheritage.org
Upstairs Downstairs Tour
No time machine necessary. The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion will present an insight into the lives and times of Victorian-era woman of various socio-economic levels. Guests will be treated to champagne and receive an authentic Victorian recipe. 7pm. $20. Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 W. Tulpehocken St. 215.438.1861. ebenezermaxwellmansion.org
First Friday at Philadelphia Theatre Company
The Philadelphia Theatre Company rings in its inaugural First Friday celebration with performances by fire-belly-dancing collective Lux Arati and local DJ Big Jawn. Hedy Sirico, Emily Schnall and others will also be on hand to show off their art. 5pm. Free. Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. 215.985.0420. philadelphiatheatrecompany.org
Movies Under the Stars
Channeling the good-natured spirit of a drive-in theater (without the carbon emissions, of course), the Betsy Ross House will kick off its trilogy of outdoor horror film screenings—complemented by a tour of the venue—with 1958’s The Screaming Skull. 5:30pm. $5. Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St. 215.629.4026. historicphiladelphia.org
Saturday, August 3
Bounce TV Summer Music Festival
In the early days of the ‘70s, the group Raw Soul was—like its singer, Frankie Beverly—born in Philadelphia. They gigged and released a few singles before Beverly ended up leaving Philly to create one of the most iconic catalogues in R&B history. Sure, he was raised and informed by folks like Gamble and Huff (of Philadelphia International Records), but his real idol was Marvin Gaye, and Beverly fled to San Francisco to put down musical roots. Thankfully, it was Gaye himself who was so impressed by Beverly that he went to the label execs he knew and demanded, “Listen to this guy.” They did, and in 1977, after the band underwent a Gaye-suggested name change, Capitol pressed Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. It went gold. And it featured the damn fine “Happy Feelin’s,” a tune that built Beverly’s career and will surely be on the setlist at Saturday night’s Bounce TV Summer Music Festival.
Beverly is to Maze what George Clinton is to Parliament-Funkadelic: The band has seen loads of lineup changes and personnel fluxes, but it’s always been his vision. And what amazing vision it is. For over 30 years, Maze has build one killer collection of funk-R&B hybrid smashes that are as fresh today as they were upon their release: “Joy and Pain,” “Southern Girl,” “We Are One,” “I Wanna Be With You” and “Golden Time of Day,” to name a few.
Adding to the legendary nature of this night, Beverly and Maze will be supported by the Isley Brothers. That’s right: The guys who gave us classics like “It’s Your Thing,” “Summer Breeze,” “Footsteps in the Dark” and the super-sexy “Between The Sheets” will open it up tonight with some soulful, old-school flavor. In fact, the two acts together are surely responsible for heaps of grooves that’ve been sampled by hip-hop acts over the last 20 years, a nod to the heavy influence of their flawless attention to hooks, melodies, emotionally-deep delivery and timelessness. / BILL CHENEVERT
Sat., Aug. 3, 7pm. $29.75-$150.75. With Kem. The Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.546.7900. manncenter.org
Low Cut Connie
Local rockers Low Cut Connie are centered around the musical partnership between Jersey guy Adam Weiner and British-born Dan Finnemore. If all you’ve heard of them is the vaguely unhelpful tag, “indie band” their second (and most recent) LP, last year’s Call Me Sylvia, is a good place to start piecing together just who these guys really are. Its lead single, the fast-paced, beer-soaked rocker, “Boozophilia,” is not only an ode to Philadelphia, but a standout moment on the record, fortified by a music video that features Weiner’s inadvertent Jerry Lee Lewis impersonation before an adoring, shirtless crowd. The pounding, piano-led, groove finds the guys sounding more like Bachman Turner Overdrive on “Takin’ Care of Business” than anything going on today, as they seem to inhabit a specific niche of nuts-and-bolts rock n’ roll.
Low Cut Connie may not be changing the world anytime soon, but they’re fun as hell to listen to. So when you see their poster herald “a new boogie for all mankind” behind an illustration of a burning piano, they don’t necessarily mean new per se—rather, more of a return to some genuinely good times. / ANTHONY TRIVELLI
8pm. $10. With Shark Tape, James & the Apostles + DJ Dan Connie. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St. undergroundarts.org
Project Twenty1 Launch Event
Project Twenty1, a nonprofit which helps to foster budding filmmakers and animators, hosts a launch party for its annual 21 Day Filmmaking Competition, which challenges aspiring directors to create short films in—you guessed it—21 days. 6pm. Free. Mixed Plate, 216 South St. projecttwenty1.com
Flea, Food and Fun
Check out some truly righteous deals at Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church’s flea market, where clothing, furniture, crafts, books and baked goods promise an afternoon of good hunting. Add live music and, for thrifters, this could be a truly religious experience. Noon. Free. Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church, 13 E. Mt. Pleasant Ave. mtairypres.org
Fishtown’s Reanimator Coffee Roastery hosts an all-night party, which includes Latin BBQ, free beer and a dancefloor. Now you don’t have to leave the party to get your drunk food. 4pm. $10-$25. Reanimator Coffee Roastery Warehouse, 1722 N. Palethorp St. reanimatorcoffee.com
The African Cultural Alliance of North America presents the sixth annual African Festival; catch a sampling of everything from Afropop to reggae, enjoy authentic food, and watch breathtaking dance performances. 2pm. Free. Penn’s Landing, 121 Columbus Blvd. delawareriverwaterfront.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide