Simon & Garfunkel once sang: “April come she will.” Well, she done came, and she’s brought with her some top-notch live music opportunities as many a nationally touring artist emerges from winter hibernation mode (read: strategic avoidance of any routing through the frigid northeast) and gets back on the road (read: stops avoiding a now-less-frigid northeast).
Here’s what’s on the Fly editorial team’s Hot Ticket for April:
Sufjan Stevens at Academy of Music
The date of September 25, 2005 will forever be etched in my memory. That was the day Sufjan Stevens brought his “Come on feel the Illinoise” tour to the Chameleon Club, performing his now classic Illinois album in its entirety – complete with a marching band and cheerleaders in full Fighting Illini costume. The show remains one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen at the Chameleon. Now, the indie rock icon returns with a new album – the March-released Carrie & Lowell – and goes on the road, opening his tour with back-to-back nights at Philly’s Academy of Music on April 9 and 10. Although a marching band is probably out of the picture for this tour, the imaginative mind of Stevens is sure to come up with another memorable stage show.
– Michael Yoder
Andrew Combs at Central Market York
It’s already been a big year for Andrew Combs. The Texas-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter released his sophomore album All These Dreams in March, pulling in much acclaim from NPR Music on down to USA Today. The following week, everyone from Rolling Stone to Esquire listed Combs in their “artists not to miss at SXSW” lists. The new album shows an attention to smart songwriting that is arguably missing from many of Music City’s musical denizens. To boot, its production is clean-cut without being sterile, pairing Combs’ at-times-gravelly vocals with pedal steel and electric guitar lines (anchored by Nashville guitar duo Steelism) that are no doubt causing long-gone country greats to smile in their graves. Kable House Presents welcomes Combs to its Central Market York stage on April 10, complete with an opening set by Philly’s Bernhardt Family Band, fronted by brother-sister duo Jerry and Kate Bernhardt who may or may not be my ridiculously talented cousins. (They are.)
– Mike McMonagle
<<MORE MUSIC: Check our concerts calendar for live music options in and around Central PA>>
Alvvays at Messiah College
First things first – it’s pronounced “always,” despite the double “v’s.” The Toronto-based jangly indie pop four-piece fronted by Molly Rankin received major attention last year with their sunny eponymous debut released on Polyvinyl. The group earned praise from mainstream music outlets Rolling Stone and Pitchfork and hit No. 1 on the U.S. college chart. Just listen to Rankin’s lovely vocals on “Archie, Marry Me,” (watch the video it below) and you’ll see why. Best of all – the Messiah College show on April 15 is a freebie. So unless you hate good music and fun, you have no excuse not to go.
– Mike Andrelczyk
The Wombats at Union Transfer
“And with all the angst of a teenage band / Here’s another song about a gender I’ll never understand.” Those lines from “Kill the Director” (from 2007’s A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation) are somehow emblematic of The Wombats’ entire output of catchy pop-rock songs – tales of young love and awkward infatuation sung over a background of twitchy, nervous guitars, ’80s throwback synths and massive, swooning sing-along choruses. There’s a wry, knowing wit about this Liverpool trio that belies their youth – tracks like “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” and “Techno Fan” do an admirable job of playfully analyzing hip scenes past and current. The Wombats are currently on tour in support of their third album, Glitterbug, releasing this month. They don’t show up on this side of the Atlantic very often, so they band’s April 23 visit to Union Transfer in Philly may very well be a rare opportunity to catch them live.
– Jed Reinert
What concerts are you hitting this month? Tell us below.