Fall Guide: Live Music

Your prime directive: Have a ball this fall.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Sep. 15, 2009

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Mayer Hawthorne: Catch him at Johnny Brenda’s at the end of the month.

Well it’s that time again where we here at the PW Let’s Have a Kickass Next Couple of Months Committee jam all the shows going on over a splendid and tightly-packed fall into our Best Choices Generator, and see what comes spitting out. The last few hot, sticky and wet summer months are giving way to a much cooler and (one hopes) livable few months, and boy oh boy are the artists coming out. We’ve got legends popping up every week or so, white-hot newbies showing off their wares, and the best from nearly every genre busting through the city over the next couple months.

Below, we’ve bolded their names and told you when and where they’re playing. So skim through, highlight what you like. After that’s done, tear out this page, nail it to the wall of your bedroom, and refer to it often. Make several copies for friends. Mail it to them, including nails and a hammer, and instruct them to do the same. Make sure they know it’s of the utmost importance. As payback, they’ll buy you drinks at the shows they attend with you. Ah fuck, we’re rambling. On with it:

This fall it’s going to be hard to avoid people talking about the closing of the venerable Spectrum, which closes its doors for good on Halloween after four decades of hosting some of music’s greatest acts. And it’s going out with a bang. Seattle’s Pearl Jam do the honors of hosting the final four shows (Oct. 27-28, 30-31), and no doubt tears will be flowing. Evenly. 

Also at the venue that month, tramps (like us) will gather en masse to catch four shows by the Boss and his boys, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, who bring their workhorse blue collar Jersey swagger to the old hall (Oct. 13-14, 19-20). Old poet Leonard Cohen fills in the sleepy, lovelorn gaps a couple nights later (Oct. 22), and Hall & Oates give us a special hometown show the following night (Oct. 23) in support of their new box set Do What You Want, Be Who You Are .

Start saving now. 

If you’re looking to get into something completely and totally diametrically opposed, we suggest you hit up jazz-legend Sonny Rollins ’ gig at the Kimmel early on the same night you head out to see the ear-blowing, mind-melting sonic force of HEALTH at the First Unitarian Church (Sept. 25). Then again, Philly’s own Tickley Feather opens for HEALTH, throwing the bill’s own diametrically opposed element into the mix. 

Fans of hip hop have a good season in store. Wu Tang’s most compelling linguist Ghostface Killah stops by the Trocadero (Oct. 3), where he’ll be making up words and playing hits off his newly released R&B album (you read that right) Wizard of Poetry (that too). Philly-bred and amazing Hustle Simmons opens. Also on the hip-hop dial, Mos Def will bring the slurry playfulness of his best album in years, The Ecstatic , to the Electric Factory (Sept. 17). 

It’s a good season for R&B. Sexy motherfucker Maxwell starts off that stellar Spectrum month by laying down his smooth smoothness for a no doubt hot-and-bothered mostly-female crowd (Oct. 3). The genre’s King, R. Kelly , drops twisted sex-tunes at the Tower (Oct. 13); Doylestown native Pink (who started, remember, as an R&B act) brings her high-flying, Cirque-inspired trapeze thing she’s doing to the Wachovia Center (Oct. 3); and a white kid from Michigan with visions of Raphael Saadiq dancing in his head, Mayer Hawthorne , brings his pitch-perfect falsetto by Johnny Brenda’s (Sept. 30). 

He’s not the only pasty R&B stud coming to town: Har Mar Superstar (remember him?) hits the stage at Kung Fu Necktie (Oct. 25).

Fans of kitsch will find their needs met this fall, and will have no shortage of choices about how to get it done. Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio stops by Johnny Brenda’s with his solo project Rain Machine (Oct. 23); living Japanese cartoon Peelander-Z bring their over-the-top hodgepodge of WTF to North Star Bar (Oct. 8); and actor Ryan Gosling will be in town at the First Unitarian Church with his band Dead Man’s Bones . (Be sure to arrive early, when Gosling will be performing tear-
jerking scenes of The Notebook with the dummy from Lars and the Real Girl .)(That’s a lie.) Elsewhere in the land of My Mind Is Blown, Tel Aviv (Tel Avivian?) madmen Monotonix will be shoving microphones up their asses and setting things on fire at First Unitarian Church (Oct. 11).

Locals have lots to crow about this season. Everyone’s favorite New Orleans-to-Philadelphia label Park the Van have a showcase at North Star with National Eye , Floating Action , High Strung and Giant Cloud in tow (Oct. 22). Philly-faves Cheers Elephant also grace the North Star stage (Sept. 24), along with gigs at Silk City (Oct. 7) and Kung Fu Necktie (Oct. 29). (Be good to yourself, and catch them at least once.)

Elsewhere, Kurt Vile & the Violators will be celebrating the release of their highly-anticipated Matador record Childish Prodigy (Oct. 3) at Kung Fu Necktie, and Watery Love make friends at Pilam (Oct. 16). Be sure to catch Katherine Silkaitis’ “Umm … Drop” for more local love throughout the months.

Hmm. What else? Some band called Kiss is playing Wachovia (Oct. 12), and Built to Spill play the Troc (Oct. 16). Speaking of the Troc, it’s playing host to a couple really stellar nights of comedy—the down-and-dirty Doug Stanhope (Oct. 17) will crush your spirit while making you laugh, and the two Michaels , Ian Black and Showalter , will put their issues on full display (Oct. 29) late in the month. On Halloween Dead Milkmen get it together for another reunion show, which will be pretty funny too.

Making the last paragraph count with a sea of bold: Os Mutantes (Oct. 5) and A Fine Frenzy (Oct. 30) give World Cafe Live some “Oh hell yes!” Pink Skull (Oct. 14) and Dysrhythmia (Sept. 30) will weaken the foundation of Kung Fu Necktie. Krautrock pioneers Faust make the International House truly international with a workshop and show (Sept. 28, 29 respectively). And the Gossip stand in the way of control at Theater of the Living Arts (Oct. 8). 

Ta ta for now! ■

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