Live Music: Propagandhi, The Feelies, N.A.S.A., Ozomatli, P.W. Long, Sonic Liberation Front, Butch Walker

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Photo by Tim Gough


Sat., March 14, 7:30pm. $14-$16. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.LIVE.

If we have the Dead Kennedys to thank for angry teens hating the Man, then it may be Propagandhi’s doing that some of them can answer why by citing NAFTA, U.S.-trained death squads and the shortcomings of representative democracy. If this sounds too much like homework, remember this is the band that tempered its polemic with nuggets like “Ska Sucks” and “Stick the Fucking Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Sonofabitch.” The FOP probably gets sand in their Geno’s just thinking about the “Free Mumia” stage banter Propaghandi dropped on its last visit. Now, eight years later, they’re joined by Philadelphia’s own Paint It Black and Witch Hunt, who also hate God, apple pie, the Flyers, honor students, me, you and your saintly old grannie. (Mike McKee)

The Feelies

Fri., March 13, 9:30pm. Sold Out. With Qatsi. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

New Jersey’s Feelies got in on the ground floor of American New Wave, producing a signature disc, 1980’s Crazy Rhythms, that defines the underground’s foundation. Inspiring everyone from R.E.M. to California’s Paisley Underground, the Feelies’ tinny guitar jangle was terse and anxious, like they were accosted by Wire. Singer Glenn Mercer’s speak-sing recalls Lou Reed with a dash of Peter Murphy’s theatricalism. They enjoyed a 15-year, four-album career until ’92 when lead guitarist Bill Million suddenly relocated to Florida with no forwarding address. They reunited last year, their vitality intact and the sound still sinewy sweet, even if it’s probably a grandfather by now. (Chris Parker)


Fri., March 13, 8pm. $10. Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave.

If the Los Angeles-based DJ duo N.A.S.A. could actually find a way to stuff everyone who appears on their sprawling new The Spirit of Apollo into the Barbary—including David Byrne, M.I.A., Kanye West, Santigold, Tom Waits, Chuck D, Method Man, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, George Clinton, John Frusciante, KRS-One, Lykke Li, Kool Keith, Spank Rock and CSS’ Lovefoxxx—it would hands down be the single greatest musical event of all time. Alas, you’ll just have to settle for DJ Zegon and Squeak E. Clean (aka Sam Spiegel, brother of acclaimed director Spike Jonze) mashing up this weird, exhilarating, old-school hip-hop/indie-rock/New Wave amalgamation all by themselves. Ah, what might have been ... (Michael Alan Goldberg)


Sat., March 14, 10pm. $25-$35. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 215.222.1400.

The Grammy-winning funk/hip-hop/Latin outfit Ozomatli fight the system. Originally formed to play at a labor protest, they have racked up appearances at political conventions, lefty rallies and genre-busting music festivals over the last 14 years. They even got arrested one year at SXSW—not for telling truth to power, but for violating street code with their samba-style conga line. You wouldn’t think the band’s agitative style would qualify them as diplomats, but surprisingly Ozomatli was named U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors in 2007. Since then they’ve been bringing their multicultural jams to audiences in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan. Now that’s change from within. (Jennifer Kelly)

P.W. Long

Thurs., March 12, 9pm. $8. With the Renderers, Naked on the Vague + Pink Reason. Khyber, 56 S. Second St. 215.238.5888.

A Detroit icon during the ’90s, Long began as Wig’s vocalist before quitting the band to release a terrific self-titled debut with his steel-billy act Mule. Featuring the Laughing Hyenas’ rhythm section, Mule forged gritty, beer-drinking backwoods blues with hillbilly stomp and a coarse, throttling Chicago postpunk veneer. It’s like John Spencer Blues Explosion with more Jack and less ADD. After Mule broke up, Long released a couple more albums of ragged blues/Americana in the late ’90s, minus much of the aggression but none of the gruff charm. Long’s played sporadically since the millennium, releasing a pair of albums whose gravelly country-rock twang could’ve spawned Lucero. (C.P.)

Sonic Liberation Front

Sun., March 15, 8:30pm. $5. With Grid Mesh + Hirlinger/Gerstein Duo. Gojjo, 4540 Baltimore Ave. 215.238.1236

Behind the guerrilla name there’s a fertile premise: Traditional Afro-Cuban music and experimental jazz aren’t merely compatible, but structurally related at the root. The connection goes back to bebop and the Dizzy Gillespie-Chano Pozo collaborations of the ’40s. Percussionist and SLF founder Kevin Diehl takes a more dissonant route, leading a shape-shifting ensemble with two horns, bass, batá drums, congas, cowbells, claves and often a guest vocalist or a programmed beat to change things up. The sound is about bracing polytonality, open improvisation, spare but demanding arrangements and futurist folkloric chant. (David R. Adler)

Butch Walker

Sun., March 15, 9pm. $23. Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011.

At the tail end of 2007, 39-year-old singer/songwriter Butch Walker lost everything he owned when his Malibu house burned to the ground in the midst of devastating California wildfires. Though traumatic, the ex-Marvelous 3 frontman has credited the experience with kicking him out of a rut of complacency and writer’s block, and leading him to his excellent new Sycamore Meadows. Via his rootsy, occasionally baroque pop and a compelling voice that’s simultaneously sugar and sandpaper, Walker explores themes of loss and starting over, whether he’s singing about his worldly possessions or failed relationships. Indeed, even after you’ve been burned, you’ve got to move forward. (M.A.G.)

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