Show Reviews

Eye Candy #75: Lily Allen at The Electric Factory, 9/19/14

Samsaya performing for YNOT radio (above) before their live show - Philly's own Josh T. Landow in the mix - above photos by Samsaya.

Read on for more from writer and photographer Megan Hawkey:

Samsaya, a Norwegian singer with a reggae and a non-traditional Bollywood influenced electro-pop sound opened for Lily Allen at the Electric Factory this past Friday. She twirled and hopped around the stage singing upbeat dance tunes. Her magnetic performance kept the crowd's attention for her entire forty-five minute set.

Giant toy baby bottles changed colors with the lights as Lily Allen entered the stage to the title track of her new album "Sheezus." With her back up dancers by her side and hiding behind a smiley face pillow, Lily was quite amused when she spotted a fan's “I love Lily Allen’s baggy pussy” sign (a nod to her video for “Hard Out Here”). She smoked, drank from what looked like a Big Gulp, and danced along with the crowd throughout the night. She would occasionally talk between songs but it was impossible to make any of it out, nevertheless, the crowd ate it up. Her backup dancers re-joined her in dog head masks to end the set with my personal favorite, the aforementioned, “Hard Out Here.”

Lily Allen photos by Megan Hawkey

Set list (according to Setlistfm):
- Sheezus
- Not Fair
- As Long As I Got You
- Our Time
- Everyone's At It
- The Worst (Jhené Aiko cover)
- URL Badman
- No Flex Zone
- Smile
- Life for Me
- Littlest Things
- Miserable Without Your Love
- The Fear
- 22
- Who'd Have Known
- Fuck You

- Or Nah (Ty Dolla $ign cover)
- Hard Out Here

Lily Allen - band site / facebook

Veronica Falls: Waiting For Something to Happen (Slumberland)

THURSDAY, MARCH 7TH, 2013 (Tonight!)
Veronica Falls w/ Cold Showers and Juan Waters
@ Johnny Brenda's (1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia PA)
21+ $13 Doors 8 p.m. - Show 9 p.m.

DON'T MISS IT: Veronica Falls is slated to headline Johnny Brenda's tonight with Cold Showers, and Juan Waters!  

"Simply superb second album from London's finest export. At once more immediate and deeper than their excellent debut album, Veronica Falls have created a pop album full of rich melodies, shimmering guitars and perfectly harmonized vocals, all wrapped around a baker's dozen of the best pop tunes you're likely to hear this year, or next. A complete triumph." (Slumberland Records)

What more can we say?  The band is definitely coming into their own, and showing that they have a lot more to create for fans of their lush sound.  When we first heard the London (UK) band's new album "Waiting For Something To Happen", we thought the whole group sounded calmer, and just really....confident, in all of the songs here.  

Highlights of the album include the simplistic lyrics of "Tell Me", the perfect pop and harmonies of "My Heart Beats" (both of which will stick in your head long after their opening notes) the dark lyrics of "If You Still Want Me" and "Buried Alive" (the latter, truthfully kind of freaking us out), and there's something undeniably sweet and young in the tracks "Teenage" and "Shooting Star".  If you take a listen, there is a lot to still love and fall in love with (again) on Veronica Falls' latest album.  Our advice is to not wait; go see them play tonight, "You could lead the way..." (Shooting Star, VF)


Veronica Falls, Waiting For Something To Happen
Slumberland Records, 2013

01. Tell Me
02. Teenage
03. Broken Toy
04. Shooting Star
05. Waiting For Something To Happen
06. If You Still Want Me
07. My Heart Beats
08. Everybody's Changing
09. Buried Alive
10. Falling Out
11. So Tired
12. Daniel
13. Last Conversation 

To read more about the band, we've included a link to a past interview that we did with them for their debut:

Upcoming Dates, March 2013:

7 – Johnny Brendas, Philadelphia, PA (Tickets) *
8 – Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY (Tickets) *
9 – Great Scott, Boston, MA  (Tickets) *
10 – Divan Orange, Montreal (Tickets) *
12 – The Garrison, Toronto, ON  (Tickets) *
13 – Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH (Tickets) *
14 – Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL (Tickets) *
15 – High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI  (Tickets) *
16 – 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, MN *
18 – Hi-Dive, Denver, CO (Tickets)
21 – Tractor, Seattle, WA (Tickets) #
22 – Media Club, Vancouver, BC (Tickets) (w/Brilliant Colors)
23 – Doug Fir, Portland, OR  (Tickets) #
26 – Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA (Tickets) #
29 – The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA  (Tickets) #
30 – Casbah, San Diego, CA (Tickets) #

* w/ Cold Showers
# w/ Brilliant Colors and Golden Grrrls

Veronica Falls - band site / slumberland

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & The Cairo Gang at World Cafe Live at the Queen (Wilmington) with the Phantom Family Halo


If you haven’t had a chance to catch a show at World Cafe Live at the Queen since its opening last spring, make it happen. This is a new venue with excellent acoustics, friendly staff, and enough positive energy to give Wilmington, DE a much-needed push towards revitalization. I visited the smaller upstairs stage several weeks ago for the My Friends/Atlas album release show, and was also impressed by the larger downstairs stage Thursday night. With accoutrements of the old theatre (including a balcony) still intact, the space has a great historical-mixed-with-contemporary decor. It also has a fairly vegetarian/vegan friendly menu and two full bars.

Louisville-originated openers the Phantom Family Halo were clearly a talented and experienced band, but seemed to struggle with connecting to the crowd. The set picked up when Will Oldham (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) came on stage to assist on some songs. Oldham (also a Louisville native) and the Phantom Family Halo recently put out a collaborative EP titled Mindeater (Knitting Factory). Tracks from that EP seemed to liven up the set and engage the audience. When I spoke to a member of the Phantom Family Halo after the show, he mentioned that the band was still figuring out how to best arrange their sets on tour. Let’s hope they do.

And then there’s Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Between at least five different stage names (Palace, Palace Songs, Palace Brothers, Will Oldham, and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) Will Oldham has built an intimidating musical catalog. He has also developed a film career, starring in everything from TV movies (Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure) to the critically acclaimed film, Old Joy. Oldham’s magnetic stage presence is clearly a result of his musical talent and love of dramatic performance diverging.

Listening to most of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s discography, one might expect a straightforward singer-songwriter experience in a live setting. However, Oldham, aged 41, appeared on stage with bright cerulean fingernails and some pretty serious eyeliner on his lower lids. While singing, Oldham often gestured dramatically with his arms and occasionally stomped his legs as though he was cast in O Brother, Where Art Thou. It sounds ridiculous, but like any great performer, his confidence was actually captivating and strangely moving. Oldham was backed by the Cairo Gang (a group of musicians that includes ultra-talented folk singer Angel Olsen). Oldham and Olsen cultivated a 1950’s Johnny Cash and June Carter country sound that was further amplified by the use of a Rhodes piano and an upright base. My favorite aspect of the show was that while I was not familiar with the vast majority of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s discography, I still felt captivated by the performance. I’d recommend catching this eccentric, talented performer next time he is in the Philly or Wilmington area.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s newest release, Wolfroy Goes to Town will be released on Drag City records October 4th.

Set List

  1.  No Match
  2.  Teach Me to Bear You
  3.  New Whaling
  4.  Out of Mind
  5.  You Want That Picture
  6.  Merciless and Great
  7.  Night Noises
  8.  Easy Does It
  9.  Whipped
  10.  Seedling
  11.  No Gold Digger
  12.  Beast for Thee
  13.  Three Questions
  14.  After I Made Love to You 1
  15.  I See a Darkness
  16.  I Don’t Belong to Anyone
  17.  You Win
  18.  Time to Be Clear
  19. There Is No God (Encore)
  20. Island Brothers (Encore)
  21.  You Ask Me (Encore)

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Domino Records / Drag City / myspace
Phantom Family Halo - Knitting Factory Records / myspace

The Joy Formidable, live at Kung Fu Necktie (Philadelphia) with Dig - 5/7/10

All Joy Formidable photos by C. Marcoux

Joy formidable 

"She could eat The Vivian Girls for lunch!" is not a quote often heard out loud. At least not without a guffaw or two....but in this case we couldn't agree more! We left Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia on Friday, May 7th, the light breeze outside hitting us [thankfully] cool on our face after such a great live performance. It was an elbow-touching-elbow close to capacity show and our ears were left burning from watching and hearing incredible Wales' trio The Joy Formidable perform live. We were completely in awe of a certain petite young blonde singer whose grinning growl was big enough to swallow a room with its noise and ferocity. The band who are no strangers to touring in the US (lead singer Ritzy Bryan confessed to living in Washington, DC for a time, herself) had many friends at the small Philadelphia show, which felt more like it was a comfortable home for the band to be at, rather than a trip away from one so far.

The group only played a small set, but with the little material they did have to offer, they made up for in pure spirit and a ferocious energy that had lead singer Ritzy on the back of their helpful stage hand at more than a few points during the evening. As the feisty lead singer/guitarist brought things to a distinctively louder level with her guitar feedback, she fed off of energy from the group's Russell Brand look-a-like drummer Matt Thomas, whose own sound complimented the loud fuzz from Ritzy's many pedals and FX gear that she stomped her feet on (and eventually got down on the ground to twist and turn) from song to song during the show. Bassist Rhydian Dafydd was firm in his resolve; getting the crowd clapping and involved with the group's music, also getting us ready for the track"Whirring" from their recently released EP, "A Balloon Called Moaning". Toward the end of their set, it became clear that they would exhaust all energies in giving their audience a lasting taste before ending sans encore for the evening--leaving an abrupt finish, but a very satisfied audience in their loud wake...!

The Joy Formidable, Live at Kung Fu Necktie Set Listing:
- The Greatest Light Is the Greatest Shade
- Cradle
- The Last Drop
- Austere
- Ostrich
- The Magnifying Glass
- Anemone
- Whirring

The Joy Formidable, live at Kung Fu Necktie - 5/7/10


The Joy Formidable are the first signed band to Passion Pit's independent label "Black Bell Records". They came to be on Passion Pit's label by touring with the group last year, and have since headlined gigs in NYC most recently playing a Mercury Lounge showcase, as well as selling out several previous dates in the city and around the US. Hopefully the group will be announcing new dates on the East Coast in support of the new EP "A Balloon Called Moaning" as well--we can't wait to see them again....and the way that their fanbase is steadily growing; we're expecting it to be another sold-out show too!

The Joy Formidable - band site / black bell records / myspace 

Crystal Stilts Live at Maxwell's: Love Is All headline show @ Maxwell's, NJ - 3/27/10

Brad Hargett, roguish front man, Maxwell's, photo by C. Marcoux

The Crystal Stilts, live at Maxwell's (Hoboken, NJ) - 3/27/10 

Another goodie, from the 'live music' folder! This is the live show that we took away from seeing The Crystal Stilts when they opened for Love Is All at Maxwell's in NJ this past month. Maxwell's is fast becoming our favorite place to see a band, and our favorite city (Hoboken) to hang around while we're waiting. NYC is great; but we don't mind a little bit of slow-down in the pace of things when we can get it for a leisurely and fun weekend out! 

For this show, The Crystal Stilts pulled out their live best. Honestly, we can't help in being swayed toward the fact that Brad Hargett's vocals are slickly similar to the suave depth of a certain Morrison's, but; we'll give the real reward here to keyboardist Kyle Forester who never fails to disappoint us with his furious keyboard skills, funny antics, and in-between song banter on stage! In recent news, the group has also announced that they have finished recording their next album with David Feck (Comet Gain) and that it is to be named, "Cinema Red & Blue". The new album is up for a late-Spring release date (so far). See The Crystal Stilts live in NY when they play The Bell House on April 22nd, and again at Glasslands on May 15, 2010. 

Crystal Stilts - slumberland records / myspace