The best Philadelphia concerts happening soon
Looking for the best Philadelphia concerts to see this season? There are tons of cool acts coming to the City of Brotherly Love now through September—from rap, pop and R&B superstars playing in arenas like the Wells Fargo Center and Lincoln Financial to indie darlings putting on shows in some of our most intimate neighborhood venues. Follow our guide to discover the best concerts in Philadelphia for a well-rounded mix of shows and music festivals happening at venues all around town. On the night of the show, begin by hitting up one of the best bars in Philadelphia for happy hour and, if you have energy, cap off the night with dancing in one of the nearest Philadelphia nightclubs. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best places to see live music in Philadelphia
The 10 best sports bars in Philadelphia
Short of going to a stadium, there’s no better way to catch a big local game than at one of Philly’s sports bars. Philadelphia fans flock to these venues on game day to catch their favorite teams on huge TV screens and with an unlimited supply of beer and pub grub—like pretzels and the best Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Here we share some of the top sports bars Philadelphia has to offer. If you’re still hungry after the game, head out for a slice of the best pizza in Philadelphia or celebrate a big win at one of the nearby Philadelphia nightclubs. RECOMMENDED: Full list of best bars in Philadelphia
The 25 most essential Philadelphia movies
There's a reason there are so many great Philadelphia movies: This city was Hollywood back when Hollywood was nothing. In the early days of American filmmaking there was pretty much just Thomas Edison and Siegmund Lubin—and both of them had movie studios in the area. The movie biz eventually left us, of course, but it still pays a visit now and again, partly because Center City is so photogenic and partly because we give a sweet tax credit. Which brings us to this list of the most essential Philadelphia movies, the ones that capture something essential about our city—whether it’s a cameo by one of our Philadelphia attractions or an ode to one of our neighborhoods, like North Philly or the Italian Market. See if you can find them streaming or, if you’re lucky, catch them on the big screen again at one of the better movie theaters in Philadelphia.
Your guide to Philadelphia public transportation
When you’re trying to see Philly on a limited time frame, stick to Philadelphia public transportation or—as it’s called around these parts—the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Philadelphia’s SEPTA lines give you quick access to all the must-see Philadelphia attractions, best restaurants in Philadelphia and, with 24-hour service every weekend on the Philadelphia subway lines and many bus routes, it can come in handy as a designated driver when you’ve had a little too much Philadelphia nightlife. Below is our comprehensive guide to Philadelphia transit, including a couple non-SEPTA options especially for tourists. For newcomers, the subways are easy to figure out. The regional rails and trolleys take a bit more work. And the buses, well, it can be a case-by-case scenario. Listen up and we’ll steer you in the right direction. PHLASH Tourist Bus A great option for visitors, the purple PHLASH tourist bus runs on a continuous loop around the city with 22 stops at popular Philadelphia attractions—from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Zoo to Independence National Historical Park and sites along the Delaware River Waterfront. The PHLASH bus offers daily service between May 1 and September 4 and from November 24 to December 31. You can access it Friday through Sunday from September 8 to November 19. Besides being convenient, it’s also inexpensive at $2 per person per ride or, if you’re planning on hopping on and off all day (each stop gets
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Though it’s really just a parking lot with a stage at one end, Festival Pier wins points for its location. The 6,500-person-capacity venue at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge hosts rock, pop and hip-hop concerts during the warmer months of the year. Face east and feel the breeze coming in from the Delaware. Now face west, where performers are framed by gleaming buildings and zipping trains. When the sun goes down on a summer night, Festival Pier becomes one of Philly’s most blissful places to see a show.
The Experience + Innocence Tour drops by for two shows spurred by the release of Songs of Experience late last year. The songwriting is as intimate as U2 is likely to get anymore, but you can expect a flashy, bombastic concert experience
With Mirth and Laughter
Fans of the Bard will enjoy this fast-paced large-ensemble comedy that promises “improv in the style of Shakespeare.” Expect well-timed thys and thous.
Good Morning, New Miami
Every month, Philly comic Reem Seliem hosts an “end-of-days time talk show” set in New Miami, West Virginia. Basically it’s like the Today Show except the year is 2050, climate change has destroyed much of the eastern seaboard and everything is funny in a doomed kind of way.
Kindy’s Christmas Factory Outlet
Kindy's Christmas Factory Outlet is a no-frills holiday decorations depot and a Southwest Philly institution for 80-plus years. Tinsel, ornaments, fake trees and more are stacked high in this place. Out front, there’s a blinking light show synced to music designed to lure you inside for the winter crafts market.
Chickie’s & Pete’s
This Philly-based sports-bar chain has outposts all over the region, including the original in Northeast Philly, but the one near the stadiums is a veritable temple to fried food and fandom. Tremble in terror before its 18-foot TV as you feast upon piles of spicy crab fries and the decadent “white creamy cheese sauce” that accompanies it. Chickie’s & Pete’s is so serious about crab fries that they own the name and have vigorously defended the trademark.
From the built-in exclamation point to its supermassive screens and viewing areas, this sports bar/food court, built on the site of the old Spectrum arena, was made for drinking up and bro-ing down. There are several bars within the compound, including the Flyers-themed bar Broad Street Bullies Pub, the country-ish PBR Bar and Grill (featuring a mechanical bull), Victory Beer Hall, NBC Sports Arena and 1100 Social. If you need a respite from yelling “woo!’ and/or “boo!,” wander the outside area where statues of Dr. J, Kate Smith, Joe Frazier and more have been seen shaking their heads in the moonlight.
The TVs are up high for easy viewing, and there are always drink specials during Flyers games, but this converted auto body shop is not mainly a sports bar. People come to party, shoot pool, play skeeball and drink beer. Lots of it. They’ve got more than 300 kinds of beer, all of it in cans, lined up in fridges behind the bar. And if you don’t like whatever fancy new food cart has rolled into the Garage on a given day, Pat’s and Geno’s are right outside the door.
New Wave Cafe
This is a friendly neighborhood watering hole, a low-key gastropub and a sports bar all at once. On the menu: flatbread pizza, white bean hummus and brisket burger sliders. On the walls: old Sports Illustrated issues and framed jerseys. From the bartenders: smiles and good conversation. Of course, there are always several games going at once on New Wave’s many TVs, and if any of them involve the Phillies, Sixers, Flyers or Eagles, there’s probably a drink special to go with it.
Sometimes the best sports bars aren’t really sports bars. Brauhaus Schmitz is a sturdy, South Street restaurant with a menu full of wurst and schnitzel and a well-curated selection of German brews on draft. It’s also a friendly place to watch a game, especially soccer. Philadelphia Union fans have been known to gather here, either to watch the game or to have a drink or two before the party bus takes them to the stadium in Chester.
Fado Irish Pub
This surprisingly laid-back Center City Irish pub is a lot of things to a lot of people. Young professionals belly up at happy hour, club kids come to dance on the weekends and everybody shows up for soccer. More than just a World Cup bar—although the crowds for that are enormous—Fado makes TV time for “the beautiful game” in all of its iterations: English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, MLS and more.
City Tap House
There are a few City Tap House locations around town, but the one in University City is especially impressive. The dining area is spacious, with high ceilings, lots of high-top and low-top seating and TVs everywhere you look. But it’s easy to escape the game too, thanks to the large outdoor area overlooking Walnut Street, dotted with tables and stone fire pits. City Tap House is a sweet spot to set up shop for a long night of sports-watching, with plenty of room for friends to come and go throughout the night.
11 concerts you need to see at Festival Pier this summer
Though it’s really just a parking lot with a stage at one end, Festival Pier wins points for its location. The 6,500-person-capacity venue at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge hosts rock, pop and hip-hop concerts during the warmer months of the year. Face east and feel the breeze coming in from the Delaware. Now face west, where performers are framed by gleaming buildings and zipping trains. When the sun goes down on a summer night, Festival Pier becomes one of Philly’s most blissful places to see a show. The 2018 concert season at Festival Pier kicked off last weekend with Marshmello, the Philly-born DJ/electronic musician who’s known for wearing a giant white marshmallow helmet and intense, artful remixes of pop and hip-hop artists like Selena Gomez, Migos, Khalid, et al. It was a worthy send up to a summer of exciting talents hitting the waterfront this year. Who else is playing Festival Pier this summer? Here are 11 acts we’re most excited about. Liam GallagherThe erratic Oasis frontman dropped a decent solo record last year, bolstering a set list still dotted with old favorites like “Wonderwall,” “Morning Glory” and “Be Here Now.” (May 17 at 8pm, $25-$40) MigosThe Georgia hip-hop trio (recently parodied to perfection by Donald Glover and co. on SNL) headlines a tour centered around Spotify’s influential RapCaviar playlist. (May 19 at 7pm, $59.50) KhalidThe young singer-songwriter has won hearts, minds and Grammy noms thanks to R&B anthems like “Location” and “Young, D
Hop Along bring the bark, bite and buzz for their latest LP
A few weeks ago, Frances Quinlan put in her last shift at Johnny Brenda’s, where she’s waited tables for the past five years. “At least for the time being,” she says, adding, “I’m still going to be a frequent customer.” Seven days later, she and her indie folk-rock band, Hop Along, were upstairs celebrating the release of their fourth record, Bark Your Head Off, Dog. They’ve played JB’s before, of course, every band in Philly does, but this show signaled the start of something special. Perhaps from this point forward, Quinlan & Co. can make a go of it as full-time musicians. There’s no betting on the music industry, but things certainly seem to be falling into place for Hop Along. They’ve got a respected record label behind them (Saddle Creek, home to Conor Oberst, the Faint et al.) and loads of favorable reviews. As you read this, Hop Along is in the middle of a countrywide tour to spread the word. As always, Quinlan’s lyrics are delightfully obfuscating, jumping topics but tied together by emotional threads. The lines leap out at you. “Sunset on a cart pulled home by a white horse,” from the wonderfully complicated song “Not Abel,” sounds like the title of a painting by an Old Dutch master. On “How Simple,” she self-deprecatingly catches herself in a moment of vanity: “Pale as a banshee sun / Think I should stop checking myself out in the windows of cars.” The lyrics are often dotted with literary references, if you know where to spot them—everything from Watership Down to
Your guide to Record Store Day in Philadelphia 2018
Yeah, vinyl’s making a comeback. It’s always making a comeback. But, listen: It doesn’t do your local record shop (or your local economy) any good if you’re ordering all your vinyl off Amazon. This city is full of record stores. And those stores are full of records. Which means you have plenty of options on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 21. Here’s what to look for and where to go. P.S. Keep in mind, not every shop will have every record, and some are really limited releases, so you’ll need the eye of a tiger and a little luck on your side. Godspeed. Good hunting. Five (and a half) Record Store Day releases by Philly artists Lil Uzi Vert The young, heart-on-his-sleeve Philly rapper is dropping vinyl versions of two early mixtapes: Combined, Luv is Rage and The Perfect Luv Tape, which, among them, feature guest spots by Future, Playboi Carti and Young Thugs, and lots of writing and production work by Don Cannon, among others. Ron Gallo The Philly garage rock veteran, now based in Nashville, is dropping a small vinyl run of his Really Nice Guys EP released earlier this year. If you haven’t gotten on board yet, this one’s a good place to start, with Gallo’s boozy-poet persona in full effect. Sun RaIf you’re a Sun Ra completist you’re probably rich and/or insane. Either way, you’ll be excited to hear about all the interesting audio artifacts featuring the Germantown-by-way-of-Saturn jazz hero that are hitting the shelves this Record Store Day. There’s the live stuff: Pine Str
Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster talks new album, surviving Catholic school and covering Taylor Swift
Screaming Females don’t mess around. Known for their loud, adrenalized live shows, the veteran NJ-Philly trio comes to the studio with everything written and practiced and demoed to precision. You can’t fake the kind of tightness and dynamism that defines the new album, All at Once (out now on the Don Giovanni label). It’s a heavy, textured garage-punk record and maybe their catchiest yet. More than ever before, Marissa Paternoster—one of the most dazzling guitarists in the biz—lets her booming mid-register voice elbow its way into the foreground, turning songs like “End of My Bloodline” and “Agnes Martin” (about the media-shy painter) into instant favorites. Hear the album live when they play Union Transfer on April 5. Paternoster was on her way to band practice when we talked. Tell us about the song “Agnes Martin.” Aside from being a very big fan—she’s one of my favorite painters—I really appreciate her humility and how she decided to remove herself from the mainstream conversation that was being had about Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism, and was like, “I’m just gonna make paintings that make me happy.” And sometimes I think that’s what I’d like to do. I just want to make stuff that makes me happy. And I think through embracing that humility and aloneness, she probably made some of the best paintings ever. Does this mean you’ll be moving out to the desert like she did? Probably not. I fucking hate the heat. I’m guessing “End of My Bloodline” is about the decision no
Go on our Philly Wing Bowl scavenger hunt for a deeper look at the annual gorge fest
Once regarded as a monocle-popping maelstrom of shocking gluttony and shameless ribaldry, the Wing Bowl has, more recently, taken on an air of institutionalism in the city’s consciousness. (And yet it persists, with the 26th such contest taking place on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. It’s a sold-out crowd once again.) Sure, Wing Bowl is still an event in which buffalo wings are eaten competitively in a hockey arena. And, by most accounts, there’s no less crude humor, ogling or vomiting than there used to be. So much vomiting. But as society grows ever more sophisticated, we find ourselves numb to its excesses. In 2018, we are tempted to view the contest on another level—as a rare opportunity to appreciate moments of beauty, sadness and truth. Here then, is your Wing Bowl Contemplation Scavenger Hunt. Please bring along this checklist and note which of these scenes you observe. Top prize is a sense of wonder and oneness with the universe. Score one point if you see… ⃞ A husband holding his wife’s beer as she arches over a trash can—and he does not drink from it ⃞ The winner thanking Jesus in an otherwise unintelligible victory speech ⃞ A man in an unlicensed Nick Foles T-shirt quietly lean toward a scantily-clad Wingette and whisper, “Pardon me ma’am, but it appears that your nipple has popped out” ⃞ A contestant regurgitate his wings and feed a nest of baby pigeons Score three points if you see… ⃞ Someone shout “woo” and mean it, like really mean it ⃞ A Wingette stare off
Ten underdog anthems to get Eagles fans pumped for the Super Bowl
The Patriots are five-point favorites over the Eagles in the Super Bowl, according to Vegas. Know what? That’s fine. In Philadelphia, we like being underestimated. We want to be the underdogs. May the odds be never in our favor. With that, here’s a little playlist to get you pumped for the big game. Some are underdog anthems. Some are historical curiosities. At least one made the list just because it mentions eagles. Play these loud. 1. Survivor, “Eye of the Tiger” Total cliché, right? Right. What, am I supposed to ignore the famous stuff? This is football, not stump-the band. Besides, this 1982 hit and Rocky III theme song still does what it’s supposed to: Get the adrenaline going. (Just ask Kevin Hart.) 2. Meek Mill, “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)” Pompous, politically incorrect and currently incarcerated, Meek Mill’s not the easiest guy to love but, hell, neither are the rest of us. According to a million articles, the Eagles have been using this track by the North Philly rapper to get psyched in the locker room. Why not? It’s righteous and defiant and it’s got a killer beat once it gets going. “Like that little engine, I could.” 3. The Roots, “The Fire/Fly Eagles Fly” You’d never know it from the Fox broadcast, but Black Thought, Questlove and company played the halftime show at the NFC Championship game against the Vikings. They did a good job working “Gonna Fly Now” into the mix, too. 4. DiskothiQ, “Eagles” The Football Albums: National Conference by DiskothiQ Her
How to Drink Your Way Through Philly's Holiday Attractions
Survive Philly’s holiday attractions with our drinking game and guide to the nearest watering hole. Macy’s Christmas Light Show Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/J. Fusco The giant singing, blinking, five-story display has been craning necks since 1956. So many Philadelphians smile remembering how their parents would drag them to the department store to sit on the floor and watch the time-honored story of, like, nutcrackers and clocks and elves and whatever the hell else it was about. You deserve a drink when: You realize only the parents are paying attention. Head to: Fergie’s Pub for its alternate-universe version of the citywide special: a can of Austin Eastciders pineapple cider and a shot of tequila. It’s efficiently festive. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Photograph: Matt Stanley Drink on the waterfront at this urban wintertime retreat, or bring skates and hit the ice on the outdoor rink. You deserve a drink when: You see one shaky-legged skater take down a whole family along the sideboards. Head to: The on-site Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin for house-made hot chocolate. It’s nonalcoholic, and maybe that’s a good thing when everybody’s wearing knives on their feet. The Comcast Holiday Spectacular Photograph: Courtesy Visit Philly/M. Fischetti Since 2008, families have oohed and aahed at this all-singing, all-dancing show on a 2,100-square-foot hi-def LED video wall in the Comcast Center. You deserve a drink when: It hits you that you basically paid for th
Alec Ounsworth on ill-informed critics, navigating hype and why he stays indie
Back when Myspace ruled the world, jangly, high-intensity Philly indie-pop band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was an unlikely juggernaut. The songs on their eponymous debut album were catchy but idiosyncratic and vulnerable. The band was the indiest of indies, without even a small label repping them in the U.S. Still, they found themselves touring the world to rave reviews. The follow-up, 2007’s Some Loud Thunder, was beloved by the true believers, but the internet hype machine was starting to move on. Now that second record is cause for celebration, with a revamped CYHSY playing it front to back at Johnny Brenda’s twice, on November 30 and December 1. We recently caught up with singer-guitarist-songwriter Alec Ounsworth—whose levelheadedness doesn’t seem to jibe with those emotional Billy Corgan-esque vocals. The first record brought a lot of attention. What did you learn from the experience?I learned to be grateful when your music connects with anyone. I already knew this, of course, having played so many good shows in Philadelphia and New York between 2003 and 2005, before the album was released. I think my gratitude was only reinforced when the album came out and I began playing in other parts of the world. Were you suspicious of the hype?I don’t think I was suspicious. I was aware of it. Hype has nothing to do with me, so I guess I could and can ignore it fairly easily.… In the end, I guess I am just proud that any interest came to the band organically rather than on account
Five tips for getting the most out of your Made in America experience
JAY-Z’s Made in America Festival returns to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Labor Day weekend, bringing two days of concerts to five stages along the thoroughfare that connects City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (see the full performance lineup here). Thousands of music fans are expected to come into the city for the festival, which means you better start planning if you want to get the most out of your experience. Here, we lay out some simple expert tips on what you should do to prepare for the festival and what you can expect while you’re there. 1. Bring hand sanitizer Most bathrooms on-site are Porta Potty units. When you get home, consider dipping yourself in Purell. 2. Be strategic Keep your eye out for signs of fratboy migration. When the white ballcaps are pointed at the stage (like, for instance, when the Chainsmokers are playing), that’s when lines will be shortest at the beer gardens. 3. Keep your eyes peeled for nonperforming famous people watching from the wings Later you can be like, “I saw Kelsey Grammer going nuts for Green Velvet; here’s a blurry iPhone pic!” Or whatever. 4. Hit the free water-bottle filling stations frequently You are permitted to bring “empty aluminum and factory-sealed bottles” of water into the festival. There will be several filling stations on-site, so fill up often. 5. Pack wisely The list of things you’re not allowed to bring into Made in America is huge: alcohol and other drugs, weapons, lawn chairs, fireworks, Frisbees, backpa
10 predictions for Made in America 2017
JAY-Z’s monster music fest Made in America returns to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Labor Day weekend. The fest—now in its sixth year—features HOV as headliner along with J. Cole and the Chainsmokers, but there will be around 50 other local and national acts to see throughout the two-day run. Can the Chainsmokers prove they’re worth that top-of-the-bill status? Will there be any special guests (ahem, Beyoncé)? Who are the best local acts to see? Here, we get into all that and predict some of the things we’ll all be talking about the next day. 1. JAY-Z will pause the show for a PowerPoint presentation on Tidal. Before 4:44 was even released, the dude posed with a plaque saying it went platinum. Why? Because HOV’s in the empire business. Though the record is his most personal, being rich and awesome remain favorite subjects. Which is why Tidal, his music-streaming service co-owned by Sprint, needs to be a success. 2. Solange will shut everybody up. Gigantic multistage festivals offer plenty of opportunities to sing along, shout at the stage and generally yell “woo!” at each other, but everybody had better keep quiet when Solange sings. She has things to say—about race, social justice, unity—and her voice is so pretty, you have to pay attention. Maybe this isn’t so much a prediction as a plea. Hush! Photograph: Shutterstock 3. Killer Mike will give a shout-out to Bernie 2020. Did you hear? Sanders is thinking about running again. If so, it’s a safe bet he’s still got No. 1 B
Why Sheer Mag's Tina Halladay isn't afraid to speak up about lefty causes
Lots of bands have a thing or two to say about politics, but how many invite a candidate onstage to sing with them? That’s what South Philly’s Sheer Mag did in May, summoning prospective District Attorney Larry Krasner to join them on a cover of the Clash’s “Clampdown” in the basement of the First Unitarian Church three days before the primary. The band liked the civil rights attorney’s progressive bona fides: representing Black Lives Matter and Occupy, standing up to the Fraternal Order of Police and more. Despite his lackluster vocals, Krasner secured the punk/D.I.Y. vote and won the Democratic primary decisively. He takes on Republican candidate Beth Grossman in November. Getting so ground-level political is “a whole can of worms,” admits Sheer Mag singer Tina Halladay, but she’s no good at staying silent about lefty causes. “That’s basically being complacent, and as much as people think that’s not taking a side, it is taking a side. It’s taking the side of the oppressor in the situation.” And if this sort of thing costs them a few “racist” or “piece-of-shit conservative” fans, she’s cool with it. “I don’t need their fucking money.” After building momentum with high-energy shows and three well-reviewed EPs, Sheer Mag celebrates the release of its first full-length, Need to Feel Your Love, on August 26 at Union Transfer. Built on guitarist-songwriter Kyle Seely’s garage-punk melodies and Halladay’s raw, soulful vocals, these songs are brazen and unabashedly lo-fi. Most of S