Live Music

Flogging Molly, Witchcraft, Man Like Machine, Ugh God, One Nation Under A Uke, The Intelligence, Miracle Fortress, Griffin House, Chris Potter, James

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Flogging Molly

Tues., Sept. 16, 8pm. $27-$29. With the Loved Ones + Beat Union. Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. 215.627.1332.

Long-running live favorites Flogging Molly mix traditional Celtic folk instrumentation with scruffy punk-ruffian 'tude and energy--the result more akin to the Pogues than Dropkick Murphys. The septet's led by Dublin-born singer Dave King, who in a different life was the vocalist in Brit-Irish metal outfit Fastway (alongside Motorhead's "Fast" Eddie Clarke). Rediscovering his Irish roots in the mid-'90s, King put together his current cast of characters--young punks, grizzled rock vets, violinist/tin whistlist (and now-wife) Bridget Regan--and hit the road. Since then Flogging Molly has rarely stopped touring, playing rowdy and weepy working-class anthems laced with political and social concerns to the faithful hordes. (Michael Alan Goldberg)

One Nation Under a Uke

Sat., Sept. 13, 7pm. Free. With the SnakeOilers, Hot Time Harv, Emit Jasper Es, Mr. Dead Guy + Uke Skywalker & Tuba Fett. Green Rock Tavern, 2546 Lehigh Ave. 215.203.0840.

As instruments go, ukuleles don't earn much respect outside Hawaiian records and old-time-y novelty. The unlikely One Nation Under a Uke festival won't change that, but it's a good excuse to drunkenly rejoice with musical weirdos. Curated by Philly's psych-tinged SnakeOilers, the zany lineup unites the Neil Hamburger-esque cross-dresser Hot Time Harv, the dreamily abstract Emit Jasper Es, the skeletal visage of Mr. Dead Guy and the Pittsburgh duo Uke Skywalker & Tuba Fett, who cover Weezer, Justin Timberlake and the Velvet Underground with equal panache. And if you can't resist brandishing your own uke, a two-hour open mike kicks things off. Make sure to practice, though, because the competition will be fierce. (Doug Wallen)

Man Like Machine

Wed., Sept. 17, 9pm. $5. With All Crazy + DJ Paul Atkinson. Silk City, 435 Spring Garden St. 215.592.8838.

Alongside the devil-may-care apathetic mentality that permeated the ethos of '90s grunge bands, Philadelphia trio Man Like Machine introduces the glam elements of electroclash and goth. Loud, dramatic and angsty with lots of snyth, the band completes its homage to an era past (and present) with skinny black jeans and mussed-up hair. But it's not some shtick--the songs are catchy, compelling and unsettling. The darkness that seeped out of bands like the Cure and Duran Duran is eminently at home with Man Like Machine. And like both bands, Man Like Machine can twist anything into a good, solid pop tune. (Katherine Silkaitis)


Tues., Sept. 16, 7pm. $20-$22. With Unkle Bob. Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. 215.922.LIVE.

Sing it with me now: "This bed is on fire with passionate love/ The neighbors complain about the noises above/ But she only comes when she's on top." Surely you remember "Laid" from the 1993 album of the same title by James. It was an alt-radio staple back then, and still gets plenty of play. Chances are you remember little else about James, unless you're a hardcore Anglophile, in which case you're aware that the Manchester band fronted by Tim Booth and his theatrical falsetto has been around since the mid-'80s, when they were tabbed as the second coming of the Smiths due to their refined, melodic pop and flair for the dramatic. James split in 2001, but they've re-formed and recently issued their 10th album Hey Ma. The new songs are strong, but we all know what the big singalong will be. (M.A.G.)

Chris Potter & His Quartet

Fri., Sept. 12, 8pm and 10pm. $25. Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. 215.568.3131.

The 37-year-old Chris Potter has been toying with piano, guitar and saxophone since he was 13, dabbling in classical, rock and jazz in the process. It's that last genre that captured Potter's imagination and in which he excels. The saxophonist/composer remains true to the masters in his playing and writing, often evoking John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins with his effortless runs and improvisation. With splashes of cool jazz, bebop and trad, Potter and his quartet routinely delight audiences with their sophisticated and polished playing, all while drawing the listener into the emotions tumbling through the music. (K.S.)


Mon., Sept. 15, 9pm. $8. With Gods and Queens + Hot Guts. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Lars Finberg's Intelligence sounds a lot like the Fall in an abandoned bomb shelter, or the Swell Maps in metal flak jackets. Sure, it's post-punk, but post-punk for a post-industrial wasteland, its cavernous beats clattering off cement walls, its shout-along melodies like the big chorus from a robot opera. There's a pop sensibility buried in the blistering distortion, even a sense of fun, but don't expect to get too comfortable. In the best Intelligence video on YouTube, someone unauthorized has spliced "Deuteronomy" to footage of a Japanese cubicle jockey going postal--a near- perfect distillation of the band's ordered march to chaos. (Jennifer Kelly)

Ugh God

Fri., Sept. 12, 9pm. $7. With Mose Giganticus, the Emotron + Hey Hey. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave. 267.671.9298.

Things you might see at an Ugh God show: a double guitar. Two drummers, one with freakishly high cymbals. A light bulb in the bassist's mouth. Add to that a wealth of wiseass song titles and stage names, and it's clear these guys aren't taking things too seriously. Yet there's something admirably studied and intense about the noisy squall they kick up, tail-spinning from mellow and meandering to foreboding and explosive at the drop of a hat. There are shades of Mogwai and maybe Slint in the quintet's alternately deadpan and apocalyptic use of atmosphere, and most of those over-the-top live touches seem incidental compared to such murky, volatile songwriting. (D.W.)


Tues., Sept. 16, 9pm. $12. With Graveyard + TK Webb & the Visions. Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

Swedish druid-rockers Witchcraft worship at the altar of '70s/'80s American doom-rock band Pentagram, who themselves worshipped at the altar of Black Sabbath. So yeah, Witchcraft's meaty riffs are totally Iommi, with touches of Iron Butterfly thrown in for good measure, though they're also way into weird (mainly English) psych-folk and prog-metal, which makes for a few "Stonehenge" moments. The quartet's insistence on vintage gear and old-school recording techniques makes their most recent, The Alchemist, a perfect listen in a wood-paneled basement filled with bowling trophies, bongs, tattered Playboys and a Pong console. (M.A.G.)

Miracle Fortress

Sun., Sept. 14. 8pm. $10. M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave. 215.739.5577.

Miracle Fortress is one of those lightly veiled one-man projects, its recorded output solely the product of Montreal's Graham Van Pelt. Yet there's nothing austere about Five Roses, the Fortress' first album, no intimations of solitude or introspection. Van Pelt has evidently spent a lot of time thinking about the masters of large-scale pop--Brian Wilson and Phil Spector in particular. That means instead of a songwriter's reedy self-love, we get masses of harmonies, dense instrumentation and a sense of communal joy. Things will likely get even friendlier live, as Van Pelt's four-person band brings these songs to full exuberance. (J.K.)

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