Mos Def plays the Trocadero on February 18th. Photo: Volker Neumann
Mos Def plays the Trocadero on February 18th. Photo: Volker Neumann

Trying to find the best shows going on next month, but are too overwhelmed by how many choices are out there? Here’s a Look at some shows that might just be a little too good to pass up! And note, while this list primarily features Philadelphia, it showcases bands who are currently touring the country. So if you like what you hear, then you might just want to check their websites and see if they’re coming to a stage near you!

Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB February 11th at The Electric Factory

From Wikipedia

Trey Anastasio is an American guitarist, composer, and vocalist most noted for his work with the rock band Phish. He is credited by name as composer of 152 Phish original songs, 140 of them as a solo credit, in addition to 41 credits attributed to the band as a whole. After Anastasio completed high school, he enrolled in the University of Vermont, attending from fall of 1983 to spring of 1984 as a philosophy major. It was here that he met Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, and Jeff Holdsworth, who founded Phish in 1983. In December 1983 the group formed to play an ROTC dance. They played a setlist of cover songs, including “Long Cool Woman” and “Proud Mary” which was performed twice. The band was very primitive at this time and used hockey sticks as mic stands. Since that time the band has gone on to perform for over 20 years. Anastasio has also found the time to perform with other acts such as Oysterhead, Phil Lesh and Friends, 70 Volt Parade, SerialPod, and most recently Classic TAB.

Trey hits the road in February for a month-long tour with Classic TAB, featuring the same lineup from last fall, with the addition of horns back into the mix. Russell Remington (tenor saxophone and flute) and Jen Hartswick (trumpet and vocals) once again join Russ Lawton (drums), Tony Markellis (bass) and Ray Paczkowski (keyboards). New to the group is Natalie Cressman on trombone and vocals.
Trey Anastasio

Murder City Devils February 12th at Theatre of Living Arts

From Wikipedia

The Murder City Devils was a garage punk band active between 1996 and 2001. Since 2006, the band has played occasional shows at festivals and in Seattle and briefly toured the West Coast in February 2009. It has since become more of an official reunion. The band’s original lineup, consisting of Spencer Moody, Dann Gallucci, Derek Fudesco, Coady Willis, and Nate Manny formed in Seattle, Washington in 1996. Within a year, the band had released two singles Three Natural Sixes (Hopscotch Records #5) and Dance Hall Music (Empty Records MTR-354) and signed with the “Die Young Stay Pretty” label, a subsidiary of Sub Pop. The self-titled debut album was released in 1997.

In 1998, the band released Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, its second full-length album. This release saw a greatly increased use of electric organ, and in the same year they recruited Leslie Hardy as their full-time keyboard player. Hardy had previously played bass guitar for Hole on the 1993 single “Beautiful Son.” The Murder City Devils then embarked on a year-long tour of North America to support the record. During that tour, they played with the likes of At the Drive-In, Pearl Jam, The Black Halos and Built to Spill.

After a short break, the band released In Name and Blood in 2000, with photos in the liner notes notoriously depicting every member as a murder victim. They also appeared as both individual actors as well as a band in David Larson’s independent film The Edge of Quarrel. The band released the Thelema EP in 2001 before breaking up later that year due to circumstances surrounding Hardy’s departure from the band. (The Stranger Sep 27 – Oct 3, 2001 issue, It’s My Party column by Kathleen Wilson)

The band’s concert on Halloween 2001 was recorded and released by Sub Pop in 2003, titled “R.I.P.” Notably, R.I.P. includes two previously unrecorded songs. It was also released on DVD in 2005.

At the end of their set, on Dec 30, 2009 at The Showbox – Seattle, WA, Leslie thanked the audience for coming and confirmed that the band was indeed working on new material. No additional information was given. After the set finished, the band returned to the stage and performed a a cover of The Birthday Party’s song, “Several Sins.” This seemed to be a hint toward the new material on the way. With this tour it looks to be more official.
Murder City Devils
18 Wheels

Jack Rose Record Release / Memorial featuring Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano, and more February 13th at Latvian Society of Philadelphia

From R5 Productions –

Jack Rose Record Release / Memorial
Jack Rose passed away suddenly at home in Philadelphia on December 5. He was widely regarded as the most profound exponent of acoustic guitar playing of his generation. Jack grew to be loved and admired by a great many people through his live performances, electric personality, profound cooking skills and a general mastery in the art of friendship. This concert is a release party for his new album Luck In The Valley and an occasion to celebrate and remember the good Dr. Ragtime. The artists performing were all dear friends of Jack’s and admired by him musically.

Thurston Moore + Paul Flaherty + Chris Corsano
Thurston Moore, for those of you just visiting planet Earth, has been playing music and liberating whatever ossifying standards rock n’ roll becomes threatened by since the late 70s when he walked the downtown jungle of punk/post-punk/no wave NYC and started the band Sonic Youth. For this special event, he is teaming up saxophonist Paul Flaherty and drummer Chris Corsano; two important figures in the contemporary avant-garde, improvisational scene.

D Charles Speer
Singer-guitarist Dave Shuford possesses a deep, woodsy baritone and the confident intonation of a master storyteller. In a world populated by meh-rate bar bands, Shuford and his crack quartet are our best saloon band. Members of No Neck Blues Band.

If there was ever a band suited to the double lp format it would be Pelt. Their massive drone raga epics can fill a cd in a blink of an eye. Theirs is the sort of transcendental inner space music that you want to drift on for ever and ever.

Michael Chapman
The guitar and voice of Michael Chapman first became known on the Cornish Folk Circuit in 1967. Playing a blend of atmospheric and autobiographical material he established a reputation for intensity and innovation. A lively and accomplished improviser, Michael gained a reputation for re-working material, both before an audience and on record. Songs were seen as standards, themes to be explored, extended and varied on stage and in the studio. This self-styled old white blues guy from Yorkshire is one of the most under-rated heroes of our time. With his uniquely English melancholic perspective and emotive guitar style he deserves wider recognition.’

Playing their own sets (not together)
Jack Rose
Thurston Moore on Wikipedia

Tegan and Sara February 16th at The Tower Theatre

From Wikipedia

Tegan and Sara are a Canadian indie rock/indie pop duo consisting of identical twins Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Kiersten Quin, born September 19, 1980. Both Tegan and Sara write, sing, and play guitar and keyboard. They have released six studio albums since 1999, most recently Sainthood in 2009.

Tegan and Sara were born in Calgary. They initially played as PLUNK and lacked a drummer and bass player. In 1997, they used their school’s recording studio to record two demo albums: Who’s in Your Band? and Play Day. They had three demo albums called Orange Demo, Yellow Demo, and Red Demo.In 1998, they made an early breakthrough by winning Garage Warz Battle of the Bands, a local music competition in Calgary.Since then, the two have toured extensively. They are signed to Neil Young’s Vapor Records in Canada and to Sire in the United States as their previous label, Sanctuary Records, is no longer releasing new music in the United States.

When they were competing in Garage Warz, they were known as “Sara and Tegan” because that is how their mother registered them on the competition forms. The competition was held at a local bar/club in Calgary, and since the twins were only 17 at the time, they were actually not able to go inside without adult supervision. Their first album, Under Feet Like Ours, was initially released under the name “Sara and Tegan”. This Business of Art, released in 2000, was their first official release through Vapor Records, though they independently released Under Feet Like Ours the previous year. This album was recorded at Hawksleytown Studios and mixed and mastered at Umbrella Sound in Toronto. So Jealous was Tegan and Sara’s fourth album, released on September 14, 2004. One track on the album, “Walking With a Ghost”, was later covered by The White Stripes and became the title song of their EP Walking with a Ghost.

While both twins are similarly involved in vocals and playing instruments, the singing of the lead melody usually goes to whichever twin wrote the particular song.

Their fifth album, The Con, was released on July 24, 2007.It was co-produced by Chris Walla. Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals (who was with Weezer during The Blue Album and Pinkerton), Hunter Burgan of AFI, and Kaki King appear on the album.

Tegan and Sara released their sixth album Sainthood, produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp on October 27, 2009.Spin Magazine gave Sainthood four out of five possible stars and wrote, “Tegan and Sara’s music may no longer be the stuff of teens, but its strength remains in how much it feels like two people talking.”
Tegan and Sara
Walking With A Ghost

Fucked Up with Kurt Vile and The Violators February 17th at The Barbary

From R5 Productions –

Fucked Up
Returning to Philadelphia with a singles comp on Matador Records. Threading together the best elements of Killed By Death obscurities through the Undertones’ melody, Black Flag’s aggression and Minor Threat’s Marshall-driven guitars, F’ed Up rarely make for direct comparisons, arriving instead at something wholly intense and new, manipulating everything from its lyrics and artwork to song length and writing to make a distinct, singularly unique point. In a word, F’ed Up are dangerous and unpredictable in a time when punk has become a manufactured commodity. Matador Records.

Kurt Vile and The Violators
Philly’s Constant Hitmaker and newly signed to Matador Records. Our Favorite longhair-about-town returns to Philly for one more performance before going on tour with Fucked Up.
Fucked Up
Kurt Vile
Crooked Head
Freak Train

Mos Def and De La Soul February 18th at The Trocadero Theatre

Mos Def on Mos Def (From his Myspace)

M O S D E F peace. i was born in brooklyn new york in 1973. ive been working professionally as an artist for nearly 20 years. ive been very blessed to work with some of the worlds brightest talents and many of my personal heroes.thus far ive been nominated for 2 grammys, a golden globe, an emmy, and a source award among others. i was awarded a peabody award for my work on the hbo series “def poetry” and won an obie award for the suzan lori parks play “fucking A”.

i was on broadway in another suzan lori play “topdog underdog” w/ my man jeffrey wright and directed by my other man george C. “big daddy” wolfe in 2002. the play won the pulitzer prize that year. we performed it in london the following year. im proud to have been apart of it. ive done work in film and television as well w/ folks like bill cosby and the late great nell carter to name a few.

like i said ive been blessed and im grateful. mashaallah. i just wanna say i appreciate all the love and good vibrations that folks have been sendin my way thru the years on this particular journey and im wishin you all peace love and power in your own journey as well. the elders say “love em all,trust a few,and fear none”….thats wassup. one love. peace.

De La Soul (From Wikipedia)

De La Soul is an American hip hop group formed in 1987 on Long Island, New York.[1] They are best known for their eclectic sampling, quirky lyrics, and their contributions to the evolution of the jazz rap and alternative hip hop subgenres. The members are Kelvin Mercer (Posdnuos, Mercenary, Plug Wonder Why, Plug One), David Jude Jolicoeur (Trugoy the Dove, Dave, Plug Two) and Vincent Mason (P.A. Pasemaster Mase, Maseo, Plug Three). The three formed the group in high school and caught the attention of producer Paul Huston (Prince Paul) with a demo tape of the song “Plug Tunin'”. Prince Paul was also sometimes referred to as Plug Four. The “Plug” names are alleged to come from the numbers that each bandmate’s microphone was labeled on the soundboard. Posdnuos was always plugged into plug one, Trugoy was plugged into plug two, and so forth.

With its playful wordplay, innovative sampling, and witty skits, the band’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising, has been hailed as a hip-hop masterpiece.[by whom?] It is also the band’s biggest commercial success to date, with their subsequent albums selling progressively less, despite receiving high praise from critics. A measure of 3 Feet High and Rising’s cross-over appeal was the fact that it was voted Album of the Year by NME Magazine, a title better known for its taste in guitar-based music. De La Soul has influenced numerous other hip hop artists such as Camp Lo, Black Eyed Peas, and Digable Planets.[citation needed] They were also influential in the early stages of rapper/actor Mos Def’s career, and are a core part of the Spitkicker collective. They are the longest standing Native Tongues Posse group, after the Jungle Brothers.

In 2006, the group won a Grammy for their collaboration with the Gorillaz on the single “Feel Good Inc.”
Mos Def
De La Soul
Oh No

Editors, The Antlers, and The Dig February 20th at The Trocadero

Editors released their third album, ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ on 12th October 2009. The album represents a significant step forward for the band following the huge successes of debut album ‘The Back Room’ and the Number One follow up ‘An End Has A Start’.

There have been many changes to life in Editors since ‘An End Has A Start’ broke the band worldwide and established the then Birmingham based four piece as one of the UK’s most prominent bands of recent times. Bassist Russell Leech and guitarist Chris Urbanowicz are now resident in New York whilst singer Tom Smith has become a father. These changes added to the sense that ‘In This Light And On This Evening’ was the start of a new chapter for Editors and the band came together in London for the recording sessions with producer Flood at the start of 2009 with a determination to push their sound into wholly new territory. Whilst all four members were keen to make a far more electronic record, they were determined to ‘give the machines a human feel’ in the words of lead singer Tom Smith.

London dominates the record, both lyrically and musically. According to Tom, now resident in the capital for four years, ‘I actually think it’s in every song. In the right time and place, in the right light and on the right evening, something you have seen 1,000 times before can still take your breath away’ whilst the background of electronic whirrs and hums that run under many of the tracks mimic the constant background noise of the city.

Renowned for their explosive live performances, the release of the album sees the band return to UK dates for the first time since their triumphant double header at Alexandra Palace in March of 2008. Prior to those concert hall shows, the band appear at selected festivals throughout Europe. Dates follow overleaf.

They’ll be Joined by The Antlers, who have been receiving a lot of buzz for their album Hospice; and The Dig, the indie New York rockers who are also getting ready to go on tour with Portugal the Man.
The Antlers
The Dig
The Racing Rats
He’s a Woman

Flogging Molly February 26th at The Electric Factory

Bio By: Gary Zeldner

What makes a band truly remarkable? Insightful lyrics? Memorable melodies? Blow-your-mind live performances? The truth is that it takes all of those things along with a boundless enthusiasm, an infectious energy and a supreme devotion to the fans. With this rare combination, a band may ascend past “good,” – or even the record industry’s Holy Grail, “marketable” – and reach sublime. Drawing on the hardships and joys of their own lives and a musical history ranging from old world Celtic to modern day punk rock, the seven members of Flogging Molly do just that, and they do it with a charm and an ease that makes them one of the most accessible bands performing today.

“We’re not a traditional band,” explains Dublin born singer/songwriter, Dave King. “We are influenced by traditional music and inspired by it, and we put our own little twist on it.”

Founded in Los Angeles in 1997 by the expatriate King, Flogging Molly got its start and its name from a local bar called Molly Malone’s where the band played and grew and laid down the blueprint for its eventual success. As every member of Flogging Molly will emphatically explain, there were no predetermined expectations for the band’s sound. From night to night playing to a packed house at Molly Malone’s, the sound evolved organically. Traditional Celtic instruments like violin, mandolin and accordion blended seamlessly with grinding guitars and pounding drums. Without consciously attempting it, Flogging Molly merged the music of King’s childhood in Dublin with the music of his adulthood in L.A.

“If it didn’t have mandolin, accordion, fiddle and whistle, it would be punk rock, and if it didn’t have guitar, bass and drums, it would be traditional Irish music,” King admits, adding, “You can’t be bothered being labeled.”

With a sound anchored in such diverse influences and with band members ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s – a decidedly non-MTV-friendly demographical mix, Flogging Molly was not embraced by the mainstream music industry. The band simply didn’t fit any preconceived notions of what a “successful” band was. Not deterred in the least, Flogging Molly embraced a DIY philosophy (that’s “do-it-yourself” for those of you not in the know). Their amazing work ethic and rapidly growing fan base led them to DIY-style record label, Side One Dummy, and the two fit hand in glove.

In 2000, their Side One Dummy debut, Swagger, featuring the anthemic “The Likes of You Again” and “Black Friday Rule” along with the best ode to a hangover yet, “The Worst Day Since Yesterday” (which later found its way into the Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), obliterated initial expectations and sold over 50,000 copies before Flogging Molly headed back into the studio to record their 2002 follow up, Drunken Lullabies, which included instant classics like the rousing “Rebels of the Sacred Heart” and the doleful “The Son Never Shines (on Closed Doors).” 2004’s Within a Mile of Home once more showcased the band’s ability to play driving rock and roll on one track then slide effortlessly into lilting, pastoral harmonies on the next and contained a beautiful duet between King and Lucinda Williams on “Factory Girls.”

Flogging Molly’s latest album, Float, recorded in King’s native Ireland, delivers still another iteration of the band’s sonic evolution. More mature yet retaining the immediacy that marks all of their work, Float may find the widest audience acceptance of any Flogging Molly album. Hard charging tunes “Paddy’s Lament” and “You Won’t Make a Fool Out of Me” give way, as listeners have come to expect, to more sober ruminations on tracks like “Float.” The overall effect is a symphonic layering of sound that possesses a unique rhythmic flow from boisterous to bereaved and back again. Long time fans and new discoverers will be equally astounded.

First, last and always a live band, Flogging Molly tours quite a bit more than the average group. On the road seemingly at all times, the band is a regular on the Warped Tour. Even still, their fans can’t get enough. People traveled from all over the country to catch them playing with another Celtic-rock powerhouse, Dropkick Murphys, in Philadelphia in September 2007. Flogging Molly’s annual Green 17 Tour begins 2008’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration on February 1st – because you can never get an early enough start on St. Patrick’s Day – and will take the band to 30 cities for a total of 34 shows before it’s over. For Flogging Molly, a bar band at heart, the contact with their fans is essential.

“I feel as good about meeting [the fans] as they feel about meeting me,” says bassist Nathen Maxwell, “because they’re just as happy as I am. They’re just people like everybody else, and that’s how I look at myself.”

Spend 10 minutes in a room with the members of Flogging Molly, and you will have no doubt about their passion for their music. As mandolin and banjo player Bob Schmidt describes it, “We’re deadly serious about what we do. As much as it’s a good time and a fun thing, it’s no joke to us.” Guitarist Dennis Casey echoes that sentiment, saying, “I just give it all I’ve got because I just believe in it that much.”
Flogging Molly isn’t a mere band, they’re a seven member nuclear family. They are as devoted to one another as they are to the music they create. It’s no wonder their extended family – the legion of loyal Flogging Molly fans – keeps growing every day.
Flogging Molly
Drunken Lullabies

Culture Upcoming Philadelphia Concert Watch for February 2010. Featuring Nationally Touring Acts!