The AV Club, October 16, 2011 (lost in site overhaul) Hulk Hogan, reality TV’s steroid-pumped Ward Cleaver, can still swing a carefully-orchestrated punch in the pay-per-view ring. All the canned pasta, Christmas movies, and judicious parenting in the world couldn’t dilute Terry Bollea’s fake-baked prowess and he runs wild on Philly tonight to prove it. The Hulk leads a Viking charge of Impact Wrestling champions to Temple’s Liacouras Center: strapping spandexed superheroes who seem to take their costuming cues from leather bar patrons and Juggalos. Their sparring may be staged but the fan enthusiasm certainly won’t be. Current TNA Heavyweight Champion Sting may look like a pumped-up Alice Cooper and Rob van Dam may have a mullet the likes of which haven’t been seen since “Achy Breaky Heart,” but together they can garner as many cheers as the show’s scantily-clad Knockouts. It’s red-blooded male entertainment—with a generous heap of camp and shiny spandex.
The AV Club, September 28, 2011 Punk and race have had a long and tetchy relationship, what with some of punk’s skinhead outliers dealing in shock-value fascism since the ’70s. But while white-power wackos the National Front corralled East London kids into a safety-pinned Hitler Youth and Siouxsie and Sid flashed their sensibility-shredding swastikas, The Clash headlined the Rock Against Racism concert and Afro-punk bands Death, Pure Hell, and others challenged the image of the skinhead. The recently releasedWhite Riot anthology looks unflinchingly at this sometimes uncomfortable history, charting how punk aesthetics have been deployed by both racists and members of all races. Anarchist collective Wooden Shoe Books stirs up further havoc and thought, hosting a related discussion about bigotry, equality, and music—a rebel yell against racism in book-club form. Wooden Shoe Books, Friday, October 7, 7pm.
The AV Club, September 2011 (lost in website overhaul) Day 1, September 23 Summer music festivals have come at an increasingly steep price since the love-and-peace crowds descended on the Catskills for an impromptu Aquarian Exposition. Now a trip to Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo will set you back several hundred bucks, expose you to Coldplay and a rash of merchandising, and force you to subsist on rationed water and hashish as you live in a badly-pitched tent with your college roommate, her boyfriend, and their dealer for four days. There’s an easier path, however, a way to see the big names in little bands and still sleep in your own bed. The indie indoctrination comes to South Philly as Popped! Music Festival relocates to the stately FDR Park. Friday, The Shins, still dreamily melodic if not as life-altering as Zach Braff claims, headline with their half-forgotten Beach Boys-do-Dr. Seuss ditties. Who knows, their return might be enough to make you forget that even your mom has “New Slang” on her iPod. Meanwhile Animal Collective zoo-escapee Panda Bear plays his folk-electro Tchaikovsky, and NASCAR bastard Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. wins the admiration of your friends—and instantly becomes uncool. Day 2, September 24 […]
The AV Club, August 11, 2011. (No longer on their website after a website overhaul that eliminated all local interest content. It can be resurrected through the Wayback Machine.) For a Bromley boy, alien immigrant, and Goblin King, David Bowie sure does like Philadelphia. We already paid tribute to him in July for the recording of David Live—the musical wake at the end of his skeleton-march Diamond Dogs tour—at the Tower Theater. But Bowie, a quick-change artist cycling from alien trans-ient to Soul Train conductor in one record spin, transformed so radically in the ’70s that we don’t feel we’re repeating ourselves by mentioning him again. The Bowie who croaked and rattled through David Live was hardly the Bowie who arrived at Philly’s Sigma Sound on Aug. 11, 1974 to record the songs that would become Young Americans. He was still otherworldly, flame-haired, and strung out into another universe, though not yet down the rabbit hole of pool exorcisms and urine preservation. He’d tired of the apocalyptic mythology, cut-up lyrics, and spandex jumpsuits of his previous rock incarnations—Ziggy Stardust, his American cousin Aladdin Sane, and their Orwellian friend Halloween Jack. At Sigma Sound Studios at 12th and Race, the studio of Gamble and Huff’s then-current Philadelphia Soul, Bowie would fashion himself a […]
The AV Club, August 7, 2011 (no longer on their website due to loss of local interest content in website overhaul) Jenny Starrs, 15, has a storybook name, star-spangled eyes, mall princess clothes, and an open-diary honesty. She’s the self-identified biggest Taylor Swift fan among her girl gaggle of bffs, and ticks off her favorites with the fickle conviction of fifteen—and a thousand internet quizzes. Favorite Taylor Swift song: “Stay Beautiful,” a twangy, boy-dazzled chorus from Swift’s first album. Favorite Taylor Swift boyfriend: muscleboy and Twilight paramour Taylor Lautner. Saturday night, standing in line at Lincoln Financial Field to see her idol, the subject of a hundred magazine collages and leader of countless car sing-alongs, Starrs is ecstatic, beaming in anticipation of a fairytale come to life. Taylor Swift sung about fifteen once—that wobbly, diary-charted age between dolls and school dances, packed lunches and dinner dates, the tipping point where boy cooties become tongue kisses and promise rings mean nothing when it’s true love and he kisses you in the rain. That worldwise but nostalgic song earned her a VMA—but also, infamously, the ire of Kanye West. That real adult world has its glamour, its gold-plated astronauts, and its J. Mendel dresses—but […]
The AV Club, August 6, 2011 (no longer on their website due to overhaul) August is the traditional dumping ground for worthless movies–long-shelved rom-coms and schlocky horror feasts dumped on audiences when they’re too heat-dazed and CGI-blinded to notice. And in Philly, apparently, August is the resting place of musical misery. We can accept differences in musical taste (keep on rocking out to the Allman Brothers, Dad) but we just can’t take artists who screw with fans, blab to the press about romantic conquests, and project a general air of self-important sleaziness. In an industry of studied debauchery and cultivated “bad boy” images, it takes a lot to stand out for douchiness. But these five artists or bands somehow manage it. Here’s a list of the musical dirtbags who are coming–or planned to come before melting down in a collective, vomit-splattered hissy fit–to our fine city (or rather, most to Camden, take that as you will) this August. Adam Levine (and Maroon 5) First up is Adam Levine, who continues to ride the train of Songs About Jane‘s 2003 success all the way to the Susquehanna Bank Center tonight. Levine is a perverse crossbreed of Conor Oberst and The Situation who somehow multiplies […]