Preview: G. Love & Special Sauce @ The Hamilton Live, 1/30/20

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G. Love (Photo by Sarah Ewalt)

G. Love released The Juice, his latest studio album, on Jan. 17 via Philadelphonic/Thirty Tigers. G. Love & Special Sauce performs at The Hamilton Live on Thursday, Jan. 30.

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Live Review: Yola @ 9:30 Club — 1/10/20

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Yola sings at Americanafest on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Steven Pisano)

Several years ago, country-soul songwriter Yola was testing a Christmas gift that involved a live flame. Unbeknownst to her, the accelerant she used leaked onto her dress, and, when she went to light it, she caught fire.

To her surprise, Yola responded by breaking into laughter, as she realized she was bizarrely happy at this turn of events. That says a lot about where she was at the time, Yola told a sold-out 9:30 Club audience recently.

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Live Review: Madonna @ The Met Philadelphia — 12/7/19

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Madonna and dancers perform on the Madame X Tour at Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn on Sept. 17, 2019. (Photo copyright and courtesy Stufish)

How on earth do you express your admiration for an artist who is a global icon?

Maybe like me, you met Madonna when she was quite young and ambitious — and she took her ambition to Manhattan dance halls. At this street level, you fell in love with her, and she grew. And grew. And grew.

Now, Madonna, the best-selling female singer of all time, hasn’t belonged to New York City, or any one place for that matter, for a long time. With Madame X, her 14th studio album, she’s declared her concerns to be worldwide. She is touring that album right now in Philadelphia.

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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: Hozier @ The Anthem — 11/18/19

Hozier Hozier performs at The Anthem on Nov. 18, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)

Something happens in the mind when music washes over us, replete with that familiar sense of a life lived — of politics, of being a human, a lover, part of a family — balanced with the urge to dance and lose ourselves, if only for a moment. It feels like something real and honest, yet still somehow something almost frivolous.

I am reminded well of something Hozier’s music has long done — it treads the tenuous line between the sacred and the profane. The crowd singing along, and if I close my eyes, I can smell the scent of incense, see the stained-glass smiles of saints. Is this so different? Are the people on the rails not worthy of sainthood? Aren’t we all, in our ways, very nearly worthy? At the very least, do the sacrifices demanded of so many not reach into martyrdom? Not so much in the theistic sense, but the realistic one.

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