There is so much to celebrate over the summer: hot weather, cold beverages, the abundance of beach excursions, the absence of education and of course the summer concert season. Throughout the whole world music festival attendees celebrate sound and sunburn for days on end, with thousands of like-minded peers. Festivals like Barcelona’s Primavera Sound and Chicago’s Lollapalooza host shows with acts ranging from the Pixies to Arcade Fire to a reunited Soundgarden to Lady Gaga. Those places are so far away! But there are plenty of golden shows playing close to home as well, and although the local festival scene is sparse, the Philadelphia summer has its fair share of mind-blowing concerts.
Isis, Melvins- June 29- Theatre of the Living Arts- Isis is an influential and inventive instrumental band whose live show has been said to be life-changing. Their sprawling instrumentals take elements of Explosions In the Sky-like post rock and biting art-metal. If that doesn’t sound convincing enough, let this add some incentive to attend: this date is part of Isis’ final tour, for they have recently announced a split after multiple decades of impossibly powerful music.
Xponential Music Festival- July 16-18- Wiggins Park on the Camden Waterfront- Philadelphia’s favorite, (and only) independent public radio station returns once again with it’s annual waterfront music festival. This year’s mouthwatering lineup includes Philly natives Dr. Dog, The Walkmen, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Rosanne Cash, Fool’s Gold and many more. The station relies on listener funds to continue playing incredible music, so this festival is a great way to show some support.
The Black Keys, Morning Benders- July 30- Festival Pier- The Black Keys are a blues rock duo who have a ridiculously tight live show. These are some talented dudes. Last year at the Roots Picnic, guitarist Dan Aurbach played so hard he blew out his amp in a blaze of glory. The Morning Benders will open the show with whimsical indie rock songs about the beach. Fun stuff!
Arcade Fire, Spoon- August 2- The Mann Center- This show is truly the indie kid’s wet dream. For those who aren’t familiar with the headliners, (in other words, for those who are not cool), Arcade Fire crafts anthems like it’s their job. Oh wait… it is. Their 2004 album Funeral is the most devastatingly epic album that CHE students have been alive to see the release of. The concert Arcade Fire puts on is said to be a fantastic life-changing experience: one that solidifies them as the generation’s best rock band. Spoon, an Austin rock band, will open the show with a killer-tight performance spanning from their consistently awesome discography that spans two decades.
Local Natives- August 6- First Unitarian Church- These newcomers released their debut album earlier this year to a tidal wave of buzz. It is well deserved, for these guys put on a beautiful live show, utilizing gorgeous four-part harmonies and subtle facial hair. The Church is the perfect venue to encapsulate their echoing sound.
Public Enemy- August 13- Trocadero- It has to be mentioned that reunions of the classic political hip-hop collective Public Enemy are nothing new to Philly. Just last year, they played straight through their protest monster of an album It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, at last year’s Roots Picnic. But that by no means takes away from the power of the show: the Picnic was the muscular highlight of the concert season in 2009. But underclassmen beware, this show requires an 18 years or older ID to be in the same room as Chuck D and Flavor Flav.