Friday, January 24
Were you one of those people whose mind was totally blown when you found out the opening guitar riff from Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” was a rip-off of the Pixies’ “U-Mass,” or were you the type that was all, “I listened to the Pixies before the Pixies were a band?” (As far as I know, those are the only types of Pixies fans; I’ve looked for others.) Either way, the clan perhaps responsible for Nirvana’s rise to superstardom is back—sort of. They’ve recorded new material for the first time in a decade—really, more like two decades—and they’ve done it without legendary bassist Kim Deal, who quit the band in June before the songs, on EPs simply titled EP 1 and EP 2, could be released. They’ve even put out both records themselves, which makes sense given their stark reputation, and they filmed a few accompanying music videos for good measure, too.
So, how does their fresh stuff sound? From really good to downright awful—but, hey, it’s the Pixies. The first song out of the gate on EP 1, “Andro Queen,” probably wasn’t the best to lead with; it’s a reverb-drenched soft rock number that makes you wonder why Frank Black didn’t just release the whole thing under his solo moniker. The same goes for a lot of what follows—it’s mellow, and Black’s voice sounds somewhat off. The final song of the four, “What Goes Boom,” probably sounds the most Pixies-ish, and it’s definitely the tightest. EP 2, on the other hand, is pretty solid. From the first track, Black goes out of his way to make it a hard rock record, something you would have bought and blasted during that sweet period in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s—when Sub Pop was a relative unknown and Gavin Rossdale hadn’t picked up a guitar yet.
The best part? New Pixies music means a new Pixies tour. Theirs began last week in Canada—and sold out in Philly in just a few minutes. / RANDY LOBASSO
8:30pm. Sold out. The Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332. electricfactory.info
Coffee and Conversation: What You Need to Know About American Politics
When President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion government spending bill on Jan. 17, it was lauded as a sign of progress where there often is none. Spending bills are supposed to be non-controversial, but in the age of Obama, everything is controversial; the mere suggestion of a judicial nominee or cabinet post is a reason to shut down the government and cry about fascism. Congress has reshaped itself so that Republicans and Democrats are more divided by representation than ever. It’s gotten so that during the last national election, Democrats received millions more votes than their Republican counterparts, yet still held only a small proportion of seats in the House.
State legislatures have become carbon copies of one another, taking their cues from bills picked up at the American Legislative Exchange Conference—a group that helps connect lawmakers to lobbyists and corporate interests, which write legislation themselves and simply hand it out to legislators from New Hampshire to Arizona.
And so, we ask ourselves: Does government still even work? That’s the conversation Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse, Senate historian Donald Ritchie and political science professor Richard Valelly will engage in at the National Constitution Center’s next “Coffee and Conversation” talk, entitled “What You Need to Know About American Politics.” It’s sure to be a great primer for politics newbies, yet challenging enough to satiate the wonkiest among us. / R.L.
Noon. Free, but reservations recommended. National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St. 215.409.6700. constitutioncenter.org
Elvis Birthday Bash
Come and celebrate what would have been the King’s 79th birthday with two of his most acclaimed impersonators acting out separate incarnations: Mike Albert will play “Vegas Superstar,” while Scot Bruce will star as “Teen-Idol Elvis.” 8pm. $34.50. Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave. keswicktheatre.com
Art After 5
This week’s installment of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Art After 5” series finds Zenia and the Natural Experience taking center stage with their Barbadian-influenced jazz fusion music in tow. 5pm. Free. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and the Ben Franklin Pkwy. 215.763.8100. philamuseum.org
Ishmael Beah: The Radiance of Tomorrow
Ishmael Beah garnered copious praise for A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, his nonfiction account of serving as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. And with the release of his first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, he draws on his experience to paint a picture of two friends struggling at the end of the country’s civil war. 7:30pm. $7-$15. Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 215.686.5322. freelibrary.org
El Gran Varon: The Latin LGBTQ Community 26 Years Later
As the first song recorded by an established artist to allude to the HIV epidemic, Willie Colon’s “El Gran Varon” marked an important milestone within the community of those living with the disease. The year’s first Tertulia, presented by Raices Culturales Latinoamericanas and GALAEI, examines the impact made by that song and similar media. 7pm. $5-$10. Raices Culturales Latinoamericanas, 1417 N. Second St. 215.425.1390. raicesculturales.org
40th Street Artist-in-Residence Exhibit
The Friends and Neighbors Exhibit asks each of its residents to invite two artists to display their work for Airspace’s annual show meant to address the need for artistic workspaces in the West Philadelphia region. 6pm. Free. Airspace, 4007 Chestsnut St. 40streetair.blogspot.com
Saturday, January 25
The Reverend Horton Heat
Some of the most delicious things in life are the results of combinations. Peanut butter and jelly, cream and sugar, gin and juice—the list goes on, and face it: Blended delights rock. The same can be said about music. After all, mixing the genres of country, surf, punk, big band, swing and rockabilly has resulted in a acts like the Reverend Horton Heat.
Defining their style as “country-fed punkabilly,” the Dallas-based trio—Jim “Reverend Horton” Heath on guitar and lead vocals, Jimbo Wallace on the upright bass and Scott Churilla on drums—have been active since 1985. Their driving music matches well with their signature whimsical lyrics, different from the usual hot rods and switchblades mentioned elsewhere in the genre. Their blistering tunes have been heard in TV and movie projects alike, as well as in popular video games for the better part of 20 years. Guitar Hero II, Hot Wheels Turbo Racing and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 are but a few of the group’s games score credits, and their reach even extends to films like Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Bio-Dome.
The group’s new album, Rev, is slated for released this week, perfect timing for their Trocadero show. In fact, their latest single, “Let Me Teach You How To Eat,” features a series of burlesque dancers, which suits the venue’s infamous origins just fine. Bon appetit! / KENNEDY ALLEN
7:30pm. $18-$20. With Nekromantix, THE CREEPSHOW + Deke Dickerson. The Trocadero Theatre, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.6888. thetroc.com
World Culture Day: Chinese New Year Celebration
Celebrate the zodiac year of the horse with music and dance performances, martial and healing arts demonstrations and the popular Grand Finale Lion parade. Aspiring parents, conceive now; children born under the sign of the horse are said to be strong-willed and goal oriented. 11am. University of Pennsylvania Museum, 3260 South St. 215.898.4000. penn.museum
Gabrielle Revlock: Confetti
Local choreographer Gabrielle Revlock takes a lighthearted approach with her newest performance. Featuring a hip-hop dancer, a child and her own mother, Confetti presents a series of quirky, interlocking narratives, surprising audience members with overlapping duets. 8pm. $20-$30. Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St. 215.898.6702. annenbergcenter.org
Jerry Blavat: Great Voices of the ‘60s
Legendary radio DJ Jerry Blavat, “The Geator with The Heator,” presents an oldies festival featuring Bobby Rydell, Jay Black, Low Cut Connie and more. Before and after the show, DJ Mark the Spark hosts a dance party to turn your old soul up and keep the celebration going. 8pm. $41-$100. Kimmel Center, 1500 Walnut St. kimmelcenter.org
Sunday, January 26
The rigor of touring can take its toll in myriad ways. Often glamorized, endless hours spent in a hot, funky van on roads to Anywhere can sound the death knell for any outfit, no matter how tightly-knit. But few bands can compare tour horror stories with Spanish dance-pop quartet Delorean.
In October 2013, the four-man band was slated to play Mexico City’s Mutek Festival. They received a phone call from men purporting to be hotel security, urging the Barcelona natives to change hotels due to unsafe conditions. The Delorean guys obliged, and what ensued was a hellish, 30-hour hostage scenario: That call actually came allegedly from Los Zetas, said to be one of the most feared and barbaric Mexican drug cartel. Members purportedly of the crime syndicate kidnapped and psychologically manipulated Delorean’s members—and their families—in an attempt to heighten the ransom amount. Thanks to a coordinated effort by local authorities, national police and Interpol, they were rescued and their captors apprehended. In a Facebook post after the horrific ordeal, Delorean claimed that “the threat of death was real.” They postponed their remaining dates tour dates, including the Oct. 22 gig in Philly at the First Unitarian Church.
That drama behind them, Delorean has again hit the road. Apar, their third and most cohesive LP to date, was dropped a month before Mutek and channels their indie rock upbringing. It features carefully measured song craft, straying away from their earlier sample-saturated work. / DANIEL GELB
8pm. $13-$15. With Mas Ysa. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. johnnybrendas.com
Koresh Artist Showcase
Philadelphia’s Koresh Studio offers dance classes and performances in Center City. Tonight’s show celebrates their new location in Rittenhouse, featuring local choreographers and explosive routines. 9pm. $10. Koresh Dance Company, 2002 Rittenhouse Square. 215.751.0959. koreshdance.org
Flyers’ Wives Carnival
This charity fundraiser, organized by players’ and coaches’ wives, gathers a mass of fans to benefit good causes. Activities include interactive games against players, meet and greets, shots-on-goal, a dunk tank and more. 1:30pm. $15-$65. Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St. wellsfargocenterphily.com
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide