We’re seeing a lot of chatter on the social media channels about summer today, most notably the fact that today’s weather is the polar opposite (literally and metaphorically speaking) of beach weather. While we’ll agree that it is, in fact, cold as all hell these days, we aren’t ones to jump the proverbial gun in setting our brain dials to “Hot and sunny” quite yet. There are some great concerts coming up this month, after all – the likes of which make braving the cold so very worth it.
Here’s what’s on Fly’s Hot Ticket for February:
Jay Farrar at Chameleon Club
If Jay Farrar’s name isn’t immediately familiar to you, perhaps his former band – seminal alt-country outfit Uncle Tupelo – is. Uncle Tupelo pulled off perhaps the most heart-breakingly awesome split in ’94 – Farrar formed Son Volt as bandmate Jeff Tweedy established Wilco (you’ve heard of them, right?). I got to see Son Volt last year in Philly, and goddamn they were amazing, even breaking into a few Uncle Tupelo classics in – get this – both of their encores. If the Uncle Tupelo angle isn’t any help, Farrar has also collaborated with Ben Gibbard (of Deathcab For Cutie and The Postal Service) on One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur in 2009 and with Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Anders Parker and Will Johnson on the Woody Guthrie tribute album New Multitudes in 2012. Jay Farrar plays the Chameleon Club on February 6 at this year’s Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival (click here to enter to win VIP passes), kicking off an acoustic duo tour with multi-instrumentalist Gary Hunt. I’ll be in the front row.
– Mike McMonagle
Jeffrey Lewis & Diane Cluck at The Makespace
The anti-folk movement in music traces its roots to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the ’80s. Mocking mainstream music and the earnestness of ‘60s folk, early proponents of anti-folk included Beck and Kimya Dawson. Two other names on that list are New York-native Jeffrey Lewis and former Lancaster County native-now-Virginia resident Diane Cluck. Lewis has set himself apart from the tenets of ordinary and clichéd lyrics of pop music, penning some of the most intelligent and/or funny songs in the history of folk, including “The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song” and “The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane.” Cluck, who herself is also an accomplished lyricist and guitar player, released one of the best EPs in 2014 – Boneset. Both musicians have collaborated on songs in the past, and there’s a good chance they’ll team up for a few live tunes when they play The Makespace in Harrisburg on February 7.
– Michael Yoder
<<< Click here to enter to win 2 tickets to see The Districts at the Chameleon Club on February 13 AND a copy of the band’s new album, A Flourish and A Spoil, on vinyl. >>>
The New Pornographers
Indie rock superstars The New Pornographers just might be my absolute favorite band of the last 15 years. I’m notoriously fickle and ADD about music – I almost never like every track on a record – but this band has put out a half-dozen albums since 2000, every one of which I’ll happily listen to all the way through. Over and over and over. Unlike so many other bands, The NPs haven’t diminished in quality as they’ve increased in age. The title track off of their latest album, “Brill Bruisers,” was my No. 1 jam of last summer. It’s every bit as catchy and muscular as its title would imply – and the coy reference to the Brill Building era of pop songcraft is typical of AC Newman’s cerebral writing. The NPs have a reputation for exceptional live shows, with or without Neko Case, whose ever-growing solo career means she’s only an occasional part of the live lineup. Either way, you don’t want to miss The New Pornographers at Ram’s Head Live in Baltimore on February 12.
– Jed Reinert
The Disco Biscuits
Philly’s own jamtronica juggernauts – The Disco Biscuits – play a three-night stand at the Electric Factory in Philly on February 19-21. The inventive electro group is famous for marathon shows chock full of high-energy, blissed-out trance jams. Hardcore Bisco fans delight in the band’s dexterity which often includes playing inverted versions of songs and spontaneously leaving songs unfinished/picking them back up later in the show or even the next night. Fans will be pleased to hear that after last year’s highly regarded shows with Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, the Biscuits recently announced plans to reunite with the legendary Grateful Dead drummers this spring.
– Mike Andrelczyk