I have seen A LOT of Illinois‘ shows over the years and last night’s show might have been the best to date. Illinois took the stage at Archie’s Big Heads (Hatboro, PA) at about 11:15PM and played nearly two hours of all Illinois with only two Tom Petty covers thrown in by request. A true “is this heaven” moment for any Illinois fan and anyone in attendance. If you missed this awesome show, the following photos and videos might help you to imagine what it was like to be there firsthand.
Val Emmich – “Lately (The Crazy)”
Singer-songwriter extraordinaire (excellent actor and writer to boot) Val Emmich released his newest single last week called “Lately (The Crazy)” “It’s about this feeling of being in a constant state of alarm, not being able to turn it off, even at night, in the comfort of your own home.” An optimistic sounding song in a time of madness. Thanks for the comfort, Val, I think we can all use some.
Mike Herz – “The Acrobat”
This song, “The Acrobat” is the title track from Mike Herz’s January 2017 release. On the album this track appears last and I wonder if it was always intended to be that way or was that beautiful robotically harmonic sounding “goodbye” the deciding factor? Anyways, a great song, that voice is confident yet warm, and I know a banjo when I hear one. Catch Mike Herz at Burlap and Bean – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Illinois – “Summer”
Listening to a song titled “Summer” does not seem seasonally appropriate when winter is near. Or, maybe it’s the perfect song to remind us of those warm, sunny days. Either way, this song embodies the fundamental underlying essence of the band Illinois—FUN. But it’s no secret that Illinois’ strength lies in their ability to effortlessly conquer any music style with confidence. You’re in luck, Illinois plays Archie’s Big Heads – Saturday, December 9, 2017.
Hemming – “Counting Stones
Hemming is a Philadelphia, PA based artist but it took me seeing Mondo Cozmo last February for me to hear her music for the first time. Well, I never claimed to be the sole discoverer of all great music. I always welcome your music suggestions. Anyways, this song sounds SO GOOD. And if I don’t get my chance to see Hemming live this Sunday at Boot & Saddle then I’ll be very upset with myself.
Strand Of Oaks – “Passing Out”
“Passing Out” is from the forthcoming album ‘Harder Love’ original recordings (January 19, 2018 digital release) by Strand Of Oaks. “Harder Love feels like Hard Love in an alternate dimension. A whole lot stranger and even more raw, it’s like the tripped out, spiritual brother to its predecessor.” Based on this song alone I can kind of see where that description comes from. It’s no “Goshen 97” and that’s where my appreciation of Strand of Oaks comes from. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—just something different and different can be good. Strand Of Oaks’ Winter Classic 2017 starts tonight (Saturday and Sunday) at Boot & Saddle.
Let these photos provide you with some of the sights from Saturday night’s Ben Arnold Band double set show at Burlap and Bean (Newtown Square, PA). The musicians for this performance were Ben Arnold (singer, songwriter, guitar, keys), Matt Muir (drums, vocals), Erik Sayles (guitar) and Jonathan Colman (bass, vocals). Plus, special guest, Bob Beach on harmonica for a few songs. As usual, Ben Arnold and band gave another fantastic performance and the music sounded delightful. Also, Burlap and Bean is such an amazing listening room and it’s always nice to see a show at this venue.
Ben Arnold has a forthcoming album to be released January 2018. Having heard a mini-set of new material tonight, I say—GET EXCITED.
Originally Banners was supposed to tour with Echosmith and play the Theatre Of Living Arts (Philadelphia, PA) on 11/9. I was so excited when I heard that news. Then the Echosmith tour was postponed and Banners would no longer be a part of it. That was terrible news because all I wanted to do was see Banners perform live again. Is that too much for a music fan to ask!?!
I remember I first heard Banners music on AltNation and immediately knew that his music was something special. The first thing from Banners’ music that caught my attention was THAT VOICE. It’s a voice with such an amazing sound that I would gladly listen to endlessly and having heard it I would never want to lose that sound. That voice belongs to Liverpool born singer-songwriter Michael Nelson who goes by the stage name Banners. So, you can imagine how excited I was when the AltNation Advanced Placement Tour came to The Foundry (3/10/16) and Banners was on the bill with The Moth and The Flame along with Pop Etc. That show was SO GOOD, and I got to see some great bands.
Anyways, when I found out Banners would be playing the Mercury Lounge on 11/6 I knew that missing the opportunity to see Banners live again was not an option. This show had “I WANT TO GO TO THERE” written all over it. So, I went there. Banners had the closing set of Monday night’s early show at the Mercury Lounge. Banners played a full-band performance with a real rock show experience. The set list included songs from Banners latest ep ‘Empires On Fire’ (released last Friday) as well as other material. There were even times of comical stage banter. It was nice to see an artist who truly seemed to be grateful to play to a sold-out crowd full of fans. It was perfect.
Dean Lewis @ Mercury Lounge (11/06/17)
The opening set belonged to Dean Lewis. He played a solo set alternating song-by-song between playing the keyboard or the guitar. Up until Monday night I had no knowledge of Dean Lewis’ music. And sometimes it’s nice to go into a show with a clean slate and no preconceptions about an artist’s music. Then you can leave it all up to the performance to decide whether you like what you heard. Thankfully Dean Lewis did not disappoint, and I enjoyed his entire set. I’m going to have to do some Dean Lewis music shopping now.
Well, if my thoughts have failed to convey the fact that I am a huge fan of Banners’ music then I apologize because that was my intent. Also, I am a new fan of Dean Lewis’ music and am wondering why no one ever mentioned his music to me before. Oh well, I’ll call it a better-late-than-never moment. I must thank Banners, Dean Lewis, and the Mercury Lounge for a great night of music and a memorable show.
On a side note, I wish I brought my real camera because these iPhone photos are sad. Hehe 🙂
Have something to add to this post? Please add your thoughts in the comments.
“We All Dance Like Fire” is from the upcoming release, ‘City Stars’ by Aquino, a Cuban-Rican indie musician from New Jersey. The song opens with soft vocals, guitar, and distant harmonies. “Never say adieu, and run away / There’s no one who could steal the day like you” are the beginning lyrics and create a heartfelt start. I can’t help but be wowed by the lyrics “we love the sway of all the moments through the lens of age” for the description just works wonderfully. The song ends with a repetitive almost echoed “we all dance like fire, baby” as if a final gusto of emotion.
As Aquino states, “the last song [on the ‘City Stars’ EP], ‘We All Dance Like Fire”, is a reflection on who I’ve become and a personal dedication to my wife.” Maybe that’s why the song exudes such a beautiful vibe in such an effortless way—meaning this song is brimming with charm. Give “We All Dance Like Fire” by Aquino a listen.
Join Aquino Saturday, October 14th, at The Little Theater in the Bloomfield Public Library for an album release party with Laree Cisco | 2PM – 4PM | Tickets $10/person – proceeds will be donated to the ConPRmetidos Hurricane María and Irma Recovery Fund | More info