Live Review: Son Little @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 11/30/19

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Son Little performs at Rock and Roll Hotel on Nov. 30, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)

Philadelphia artist Son Little (the alias of Aaron Livingston), a sometime collaborator with The Roots and alternative hip-hop artist Rjd2, combines blues, soul, and hip-hop in his unique singer-songwriter style. Playing solo on acoustic and electric guitar, Son Little entertained a post-Thanksgiving crowd of music lovers at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday.

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Live Review: David Bromberg @ Sixth & I — 10/26/19

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David Bromberg (Photo by Joe del Tufo)

Noted roots artist David Bromberg appeared in a big band format at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue recently. His band included a horn section—trumpet, trombone, and sax — and strings — fiddle and banjo. But David honored his roots in the blues — he’s a protégé of the Rev. Gary Davis — growling and howling through numbers like his opener, which I think, was Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues.”

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Live Review: The Ocean Blue @ Union Stage — 10/4/19

TheOceanBlue26 David Schelzel fronts The Ocean Blue at Union Stage on Oct. 4, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Here’s how I like to imagine it happened: Teenaged David Schelzel stood on an overlook above Hershey Park in Pennsylvania and pondered the decade that was coming to a close. “I’m going to take the very best of the ’80s and synthesize it into one band,” he said, reaching deep into England, where the very best new wave and psychedelia had emerged, and scooping all of those sounds into one impossibly sweet band.

And so was born The Ocean Blue, which published its first self-titled album in 1989, and captured the zeitgeist of cool alternative music in one quartet (or so we say!). Quite active in recent years, The Ocean Blue again reminded us just how cool they are in a sold-out show at Union Stage last week.

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Snapshots: Breaking Benjamin @ Jiffy Lube Live — 8/22/19

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Benjamin Burnley fronts Breaking Benjamin at Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 22, 2019. (Photo by Jules McNamara)

Multi-platinum rock band Breaking Benjamin announced a 2019 headline tour across North America back in February, and they made that announcement a local reality at Jiffy Lube Live in a sizzling summer show recently. Jules McNamara was there to shoot the show.

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Live Review: Halestorm @ Jiffy Lube Live — 8/13/19

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Lzzy Hale fronts Halestorm at Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 13, 2019. (Photo by Angel Kim)

There’s something special about watching Halestorm perform in the middle of an actual storm. Winds blew rain deep into the covered seating area while lightning lit up the skies surrounding the venue, seemingly in tandem with the show’s light sequence. Real thunder wasn’t audible over lead singer and rhythm guitarist Lzzy Hale’s belts and roaring instrumentals, which were thunderous on their own — in a good way.

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Live Review: Kurt Vile @ Ottobar — 7/23/19

KurtVile10 Kurt Vile and The Violators rock a sold-out Ottobar on July 23, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)

There’s something about Kurt Vile that’s hard to pin down, but maybe that’s the point. Listen to any of his solo work that’s been released over the past 10 years and you might see what I mean. Although he has put out several albums over the past decade under both his own name and with various other artists, including Courtney Barnett, Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis — and he is a frequent collaborator with the band The War on Drugs — Kurt creates the kind of rambling but layered music that’s hard to pull yourself away from (if you ever wanted to in the first place).

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