Archive: July, 2012
The Brooklyn band plays Union Transfer tonight.
Twelve years into the game and the Liars are still pretty hard to nail down. But their most recent release, the dark, dreamy WIXIW (pronounced “wish you”), encapsulates the Brooklyn band’s heavily fluctuating style better than any album so far. The Liars are out on tour right now — and in Philly tonight. I chatted with Aaron Hemphill (guitar, percussion, synth) last week, as he was on the road to Milwaukee.
City Paper: You’re taking a fun little loop across the country, up into Canada for a minute, swooping back down again and then blasting off to the UK to finish up the tour. What comes after that? Will you have some down time to recoup from all that traveling?
Aaron Hemphill: We might take a little bit of a break in December, tentatively, but the way it generally pans out is that we basically end up working through the time we were supposed to have a break. Which is fine, not an issue.
CP: But the tour is going well so far? You set out July 5th, you’ve been on the road pretty non stop since, huh?
AH: I think it’s great, I mean it’s kind of tough but I think it sometimes depends on how your home situation is. But right now I think my life is pretty well experienced with just touring and working on music. For me, I enjoy being on tour right now and I enjoy playing and working every day, meeting people. So I’m really, really happy right now.
CP: You’ve toured pretty extensively for most of your albums, pretty heavily throughout Europe, what’s the overall experience of all the tours over the years?
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: Heidecker rips ships. Bourdain in simpler times. Feastival starts strong at Sampan. Benny Krass comes alive.
“Recently, I read that Bob Dylan’s new album Tempest will feature a 14-minute song about the Titanic,” starts expatriate Philadelphia comedian Tim Heidecker innocently enough on a recent blog post. “I wrote this song to see if I could beat the Master to it. I can’t wait to see how close I got to the real thing.” With that, one half of the Tim & Eric team, unleashed a teaser (you gotta pay for the whole thing) to his own eerie 14-minute epic. Good luck.
Philadelphia’s Video Pirates do what their name infers: rip and clip precious booty and throw it up for the world to see. Happily, the VP crew shows off “Horrors” July 28 at International House, with swipes of commercials from Krass Brothers clothiers and the classic rock dawn of WYSP when Randy Kotz was still happily a regular on-air jock.
When weiner wonks Hawk Krall and Holly Moore judged this week’s hot dog cook-off at Hot Diggity on South Street, one of the immediate area’s top notch spaces took home the prize. Not nouvelle chef hot spots like Supper or Pumpkin or Brauhaus Schmitz. Marrakesh won — the forever-on-Leithgow-Street home to the best in Philadelphia’s Moroccan cuisine. I haven’t been there in a minute but love their lamb dishes, their private copper-table dining rooms and the manner in which their waiters pour hot tea from six feet above your table. Go. But don’t ask for hot dogs. I’m pretty sure they don’t serve them.
Further down the block on South Street this weekend, another longtime tradition gets upheld: the Midnight Movie at the Theater of the Living Arts. Live Nation tested the waters back in May and return to the scene of the crime for the next several Saturdays with John Waters’ Pink Flamingos (July 28), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Aug. 4) and Mommie Dearest (Aug. 11). Bring your own toast to toss.
Remember when life was simpler? When hot dog water enthusiast (thanks Pen & Pencil) Anthony Bourdain was just a heavy -smoking, leather jacket-wearing Leonard Cohen-lookalike trying to sell some books and NOT the foodie icon Philly lusts after? I do. I found this chat with him from 2001 when he stopped to meet me at L’Ange Bleu hawking copies of Kitchen Confidential. They’s all growed up.
OK, perhaps I picked the wrong day to leave my Italian Market neighborhood. Anthony Bourdain was strolling up and down my block of Ninth Street, filming bits of his television show The Layover with stops at Di Bruno’s (where owner Emilio Magnucci chatted him up), Paesano's (eating “Livveraces” and hanging with owner Peter McAndrews) and the living shrine to Brit chef Marco Pierre White before heading to Amis and Dirty Frank’s. This morning he was at Pho 75. I should stay home more often.
I only left the Ital because the cast and crew of Paranoia started their tour of South Philly at the same time Bourdain was in the Market. While film trucks lined both sides of South Fifth from Tasker to Moore, from Morris and Sixth to Moyamensing and South Fourth at Cross (the area doubles for Brooklyn), the main action of Paranoia took place between Fourth and Fifth on Morris. That’s where we repeatedly watched Liam Hemsworth’s character (all in white) getting yelled at by Josh Holloway’s character (in a charcoal colored suit and tie). Who doesn’t love symbols of purity and evil at odds with each other, especially when it involves the nice guy from Hunger Games and “Sawyer” from Lost?
Before that scene started, I watched Hemsworth go between trailers without a shirt while my photographer was changing lenses. Drat that. After that scene wrapped, Holloway headed to his trailer just doors from Hemsworth’s wherein upon his exit, he grabbed a smoke, put on a baseball cap and shades and greeted us before taking off for the day. Filming hadn’t ended though — the next Paranoia scene was set to involve Hemsworth and Richard Dreyfuss. So out came Dreyfuss from the last trailer in the row, equipped with a back brace and wearing a faux Brooklyn baseball jersey. It was then, as we shot Dreyfuss, that security had had enough of us and blocked the rest of our shots. OK then, we’ll see you at that double wide ex-church on Lombard between Eighth and Ninth, the one you dolled up to look like a stately manor, even if you won’t see us (word has it that most of the shoot at that location is indoors). Bring Indiana Jones and Commissioner Gordon (Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman) with you next time.
When the last of the foreign combat troops left Iraq nearly seven months ago, the war's official “end” was marked by little ceremony and many questions left unanswered: Was this really a war? Why were we ever there in the first place? What does the future hold for Iraqi citizens? Where most conflicts have an explicit agenda, the Iraqi occupation was always shrouded in confusion, particularly for the average American living far away from any live combat. During the Bush years, we heard the slogan “no blood for oil,” suggesting Iraq's long-thriving oil economy as the central motive for US involvement in the country. Nine years after the initial invasion, these claims still linger, neither proven nor officially disproven by those in power.
Investigative journalist Greg Muttitt takes a deeper look at the oil politics behind occupied Iraq in his new book, Fuel on the Fire. Drawing on various government documents and his own experience reporting on the war, Muttitt provides an inside story behind the war that dominated U.S. foreign policy for most of the last decade.
Join him for a free reading and discussion of the book tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Moonstone Arts Center (110A S. 13th St.).
Every week, Brittany Thomas rounds up the week's sure-bet live shows. This week: Leroy Justice, Co La, Mornin' Old Sport and more.
Wednesday: Tomorrow, Mornin' Old Sport will make an appearance in Philly to play jazzy country melodies from their debut album, Your Grandparents Will Jam to These Tracks — an appropriate title for this dreamy 1930s-inspired ensemble. 8 p.m., $7-10 donation, with Liz & the Lost Boys, On the Water, Joey Angel, PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., 267-519-9651.
This was the first year of the Firefly Music Festival, held near the Dover Downs in Dover, Del, and for three days, the music didn't stop. Back-to-back shows featured major players of our generation, including The Flaming Lips, Jack White, Cake, Death Cab for Cutie, The Black Keys, The Killers and more. Tens of thousands surrounded the premises in tent cities where peaceful partiers winded down each night to prepare for the next day's events. Here's a little snapshot of the scene for those who missed it.
In this installment: Counting Crows, Delta Spirit, Diego Garcia, JD Souther, John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders, Kaki King, Rhett Miller and We Are Augustines, playing on Sun., July 22 at WXPN's annual three-day concert in Wiggins Park and the Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden.
In this installment: Wilco, Avett Brothers, Dave Hause, Dr. Dog, Kathleen Edwards, Lee Ranaldo, Lower Dens, Patterson Hood, The Bailey Hounds playing on Sat., July 21 at WXPN's annual three-day concert in Wiggins Park, Camden.
In this installment: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, The Lumineers and War on Drugs playing on Fri., July 20 at WXPN's annual three-day concert in Wiggins Park, Camden.
The members of Fang Island established themselves as masters of the catchy guitar riff in their 2010 self-titled album. Since then, the Brooklyn-based rockers have added soaring vocals to their repertoire, making the songs on their soon-to-be-released album, Major, more ebullient than ever. The vocal and instrumental hooks pile upon each other, leaving listeners’ heads banging and fists pumping. Infectiously positive and unquestionably fun, Fang Island proved they are the perfect summer band and a fitting choice for Morgan’s Pier's summer concert series.
Regardless of the band’s transition from quintet to trio status for the new album, Fang Island played their set as a five-piece, with each member wearing the same joyous grin as they blazed through material from Major and their breakout 2010 album. Band members demonstrated their rock-god poses, high-kicking skills, and finger-tapping abilities, while onlookers sang along to songs that haven’t even been officially released yet. Not content to keep the good vibes on stage, the band encouraged attendees to high-five their neighbors. The entire crowd enthusiastically complied.
Fang Island describes themselves as “the sound of everyone high-fiving.” That's the sound of sincerity triumphing over pretension.
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