Friday, September 27
As far as jam bands go, we can, with clean conscience, pretty comfortably endorse the Disco Biscuits, who veer pretty far from the typical jam band protocol. By blending elements of electronica, jazz and house, they magically whip zoned-out crowds into an enthusiastic fervor. The fact that they call Philadelphia home is an additional feather in our collective caps, though we have, in the past, been brutally honest with our confusion surrounding their shockingly rabid cult following. DB fans will be fully present all weekend of their two-day City Bisco fest, no doubt, but so will some other folk who are lookin’ at just how robust this lineup is. After all, for Day One, those Biscuits got the big and blunted duo of Method Man and Redman, as well as Outkast’s own Big Boi, plus a slew of other like-minded jam peddlers and freakout connoisseurs, 15 in fact, to fatten up a sure-to-satisfy roster of performers.
But that’s the beauty of City Bisco: It capitalizes on the energy and magic that the Biscuits so capably conjure with their sonic concoctions and brings that euphoria—captured in the verdant fields and woods of upstate New York—to a hungry crowd at Fairmount Park. The Mann is the perfect place for the Biscuits to expand on grooves without time constraint, follow a hook noodle as far down the hole as is necessary and riff on a magical moment as long as the crowd demands. The beauty of what they do in 2013 is that they’re meeting the youth where they insist on congregating, but always spiking shows with their expertise in endless sonic experimentation and improvisation. / BILL CHENEVERT
4pm. $49.50-$80. Through Sat., Sept. 29. With Kill Paris, Treasure Fingers, Twiddle, Risky Disko, Horizon Wireless, Suspence, Shpongle, Emancipator, Gigamesh, Kilowatts, Lee Foss, Pimps of Joytime, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Space Jesus + Cosmic Dust Bunnies. Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. 215.878.0400. manncenter.org
In 1992, a young black man and a young white man meet on the D train to the Bronx and strike up a conversation that leads them throughout the city. Part comedy, part drama, this theatrical performance takes a look at race and class issues in the U.S. 8pm. $20-$25. Off-Broad St. Theater, 1636 Sansom St. azukatheatre.org
St. Practice Daze
We’ve reached the halfway point to St. Patrick’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than a huge party? Irish stout will be served, and Patsy and Paul will entertain with live Irish music. 5pm. Free. McGillin’s Ale House, 1310 Drury St. 215.735.5562. mcgillins.com
Call it six degrees of sep-ART-ation: This exhibition features works by artists connected through mutual acquaintances. Philadelphia artists including Erin Anderson, Shawn Beeks, Melissa Good, Erik Kenney and more participate in this show coordinated by Outside the Frame Collective. Through Sept. 30. Dick Blick, 1330 Chestnut St. facebook.com/outsidetheframecollective
The Scottish singer/songwriter’s latest, Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon, employs a slower and more somber approach to music than her previous poppy “girl stomp” anthems. Her earthy songwriting has garnered her comparisons to Jewel, Fiona Apple, Dido and Katie Melua. 6:30pm. $25-$30. Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. 215.232.2100. utphilly.com
The Berserker Residents and Swim Pony Performing Arts: The Giant Squid
Philadelphia’s own whimsical troupe of comedic performers perform a sea adventure of comical proportions. The show follows the wacky crew on a ragged whaling ship as they encounter the dangers of the deep. 8pm. $20. Annenberg Center, Harold Prince Theatre, 3680 Walnut St. annenbergcenter.org
Saturday, September 28
Pearl Street Block Party
The first-ever Pearl Street Block Party makes its debut in downtown Philadelphia this Saturday: an all-day celebration of fine art, performance and cultural diversity in the Callowhill section of the city and beyond.
The festivities—a project of the Mural Arts Program, the Asian Arts Initiative and others—begin with a ticketed brunch of dim sum and mimosas, and those in attendance will get to hang out with Philly artist Isaac Lin, whose super-colorful mural of peace-sign-waving animals can be spotted at 10th and Spring streets. That starts at 1pm and also includes meet-and-greet sessions with AAI’s brilliant Social Practice Lab artists-in-residence. An hour later, attendees will get a free two-hour class on how to construct tables and chairs from landscape architect Walter Hood, who’ll be in town all the way from Oakland, California, where he’s the principle of his own design studio and teaches at University of California, Berkeley. While that’s happening, there’s set to be live performances, tours and art displays up and down the 1200 block of Pearl Street, and the day will even feature booths where kids of every age can practice screenprinting and pop-up cardmaking. To top it off, the afternoon’s fun is set to end with a community feast, which will actually utilize the seating assembled earlier that day under the supervision of Hood, who partnered with the Asian Arts Initiative to “imagine how Pearl Street can be transformed into a space filled with art and life.”
Some of the Pearl Street Block Party’s participating community groups and art galleries include Jose Sebourne, Practice, Marginal Utility, Vox Populi and the Fleisher Art Memorial’s ColorWheels Van. It’s also being co-hosted by a number of community groups that’ve helped get the Callowhill neighborhood—sometimes known as the Eraserhood—off the ground in recent years, among them the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation and the Callowhill Neighborhood Association. / RANDY LOBASSO
Sat., Sept. 28, 1pm. Free-$20. 1200 block of Pearl St. 215.557.0455. asianartsinitiative.org
Before launching his own recording career in the mid-‘80s, Joe Satriani—or “Satch,” as the cool kids call him—made a living as a guitar instructor, giving lessons to eventual success stories like Steve Vai, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and Third Eye Blind’s Kevin Cadogan, to name just a few. When he finally released his debut album, Not of This Earth, in 1986, it suddenly became obvious why Satriani was so sought out as a teacher: Even the shortest of tracks, especially the tap-heavy closer “The Headless Horseman,” boasted an enviable virtuosity and understanding of the instrument that only he possessed and others desperately wanted.
Fast-forward almost 30 years later, and while Satch, now 57, still hasn’t enjoyed the same notoriety as his distinguished pupils, he seems to be rather content being a minor blip on most people’s radar. It certainly hasn’t affected his work ethic: He’s been churning out albums at a steady pace, with recent gigs in the supergroup Chickenfoot to keep him extra busy.
So, perhaps it’s fitting that his 14th studio effort, released this past May, is titled Unstoppable Momentum, featuring 45 minutes of visceral space-prog that rival even his magnum opus, 1987’s Surfing with the Alien. The crowd at the Tower Theater may not know what they’re in for when he takes the stage, sporting his trademark shaved head and dark sunglasses and rocking those Ibanez signature guitars. But something tells me they will. / JAKE ABBATE
8pm. $39.50-$69.50. With Steve Morse. Tower Theater, 69th & Ludlow sts., Upper Darby. 610.352.2887. thetowerphilly.com
Sistas for a CURE
Sistas for a CURE have made it their mission to help people conquer just about every disadvantage imaginable, and their latest fundraiser to combat pediatric cancer has the distinction of also serving as a fashion show. Donations will be collected for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 3pm. $30-$40. Crane Arts Building. 1400 American St. 215.232.3203. sistasforacure.org
Pour The Core: A Hard Cider Festival Philadelphia
The fall season is nothing without a glass of cider to enjoy, especially if it’s with a kick. The first annual Pour the Core festival aims to capitalize on that with imported hard ciders from England, Ireland and Sweden, as well as some of the best locally-produced varieties, all to be enjoyed on the scenic parade grounds of the Philadelphia Navy Yard. 1pm. $10-$65. The Navy Yard. 215.843.9273. pourthecore.com/philly
Set sail back to 1934 with composer Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes, performed by Jardel Drama, an initiative committed to making learning, participating in and watching theater more accessible. The play tells the tale of a smitten stowaway and his quest to court an heiress aboard an ocean liner to London. 7pm. $10. Jardel Recreation Center, 1500 Cottman Ave. 215.685.0596. jardeldrama.wix.com/jardeldrama
Philly Peace Day
The City of Brotherly Love, as we know all too well, does a fairly shitty job of living up to that nickname. The Urban Peace Campaign is out to turn all that around, one annual event at a time, with Peace Day Philly. Take part in this worldwide event with socially conscious film screenings at the Walking Fish Theater, a soccer game on the UPenn campus, and much more. 11am. Free. Strawberry Mansion Playground, 34th and Cumberland St. 215.688.6127. peacedayphilly.org
Calendar: March 25-April 1
PW's 2015 Philly Spring Guide