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Levee Drivers

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Weekend Warrior, December 22 - 24

Meshing a traditional country-blues feel, anchored on an accessible storytelling foundation, there’s a spectrum of gut-wrenching, emotional outpouring and simultaneous threads of tenderness in the music of the Levee Drivers. Those familiarly worn, vital vocals of August John Lutz II roar in a rabble-rousing fashion, as each spirited song is on the verge of tearing the listener to piece. Surrounded by an incendiary, dusk-light, dusty-road stomp, the band is hardwired to a heart-aching but optimistic duality, stinging with sincerity, as evidenced by their latest album Motel City HoneyTonight, as part of the Big Damn Holiday Brawl at Ortlieb’s, they’ll be joined by the soul-grasping, country rock of Ali Wadsworth, the melodic, energy-infused garage rock of Scantron, and silky-serenading, retrofitted country-folk of Dirty Dollhouse. Get rowdy this holiday weekend! – Michael Colavita

More places to wet your whistle at this Christmas weekend…

Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI Levee Drivers, Ali Wadsworth, Scantron, Dirty Dollhouse, SAT Thunderbird, Gibbous Moon

Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) FRI Southwork, Circadian Rhythms, Miss Cantaloupe

Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Frost Giant, Corpse Hoarder, Wolves Attack /It’s a King Thing, Joy Riding, The Classic Brown/DJSC/Trieves: Jesse Tyler, Sean Hearn, SAT Slingshot Dakota/Solomonic Sound System

PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th St.) FRI Voltheque, Cheap Dinosaurs

Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) SAT Mars Parker, Harvey Cash, KilConfirmed, Juso O, Sodacanman, Corey Lee, Re.ye

World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI (Upstairs) Annabelle Kempf, The Soundcheck, The Disapproved, Julia Kenyon, The Brandywine Fiddlers/(Downstairs) Steal Your Peach, The Whiskeyhickon Boys, SAT GTS Presents: 3rd Annual Rockmare Before Christmas

MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Tweed, Agent Zero

Bourbon & Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) FRI Behind The Grandstand, La Capitaña/Reed Streets, SAT Kingfisher, Tucker Hill Band, Sitting In Cars

Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.) FRI Ed Christof, SAT DJ Deejay

Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) SAT Jersey Corn Pickers, SUN Rusty Cadillac

Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI The Plibmen. Mr. Unloved, KMX Band

Frankie Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor St.) FRI DJ Chris Urban, SAT Brian Toll

Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) FRI FV

The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) FRI Something Divine, Slow Voice, Judah Kim & The Assassination, Kevin Cox Band, SAT Apple Juice Jones

Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.) FRI Kings & Comrades, SAT Electron, Eat Your Beats

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New Levee Drivers LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

The long, long wait is over; Levee Drivers' new full-length album, Motel City Honey, has arrived. Steeped in guttural, rabble-rousing, country-blues, the collection of songs taps into a swaying sensitivity. Whether it’s a road-worn yearning or an uptempo rumbler of love lost, the visceral magnetism draws one in. Traveling home in the twilight, the tunes continuously matriculate ahead, but lament in an emotive sense of the past. Levee Drivers is set to celebrate its release this evening at Johnny Brenda’s, supported by local pals The Lawsuits and and Virginia's The Dawn Drapes. (Photo by Bob Sweeney)

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Weekend Warrior, December 30 - January 1

A new year represents aesthetically a clean slate, the chance to turn the page and let the past whether, recent or not, behind. Of course, the past may also hold cherished memories that one wishes to carry into the future. Either way, Saturday night serves as an opportunity to celebrate, for some, the year that was and for others the year that one hopes 2017 will be.
 
Now, my first instinct when I enter any environment is to look and listen; if there’s music, that’s typically a solid forecaster of good fortune. With that criteria, here are a few places one should consider spending the last hours of a trying 2016. 
 
The high-octane ragged barrelhouse blues of TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb will be headlining Boot & Saddle, paired with the earnest Americana of Levee Drivers, and the playfully bizarre, eclectic Mercury Radio Theater. If funky R&B and soul are your aspirations, Underground Arts is the destination. The brass beacon of Balkan beats, known as West Philadelphia Orchestra, and the retrograde soul-funk engine of Johnny Showcase once again come together for sweaty, good time. And channeling the silky authoritative dance-inducing vibes of Byrne & Bowie, MINKA enters the fray, which also starts with the funky instrumental slices of Muscle Tough.
 
The spellbinding folk-psych of Kurt Vile brings his mellow/mercury-spiking spectrum to The Fillmore, where he’ll be joined by psych-folk outfit Woods and Nathan Bowles. Ortlieb’s will host the mobile-layered, grooving, melodic sojourn of Mo Lowda & The Humble, as well as the atmosphere-altering, future-traversing experimentation of Air is Human, and a DJ set from Suburban Living, who will be pulling double duty that evening performing at Franklin Hall with Vacationer and CRUISR. BTW: Speaking of DJ sets, Lushlife will also be occupying the decks at Johnny Brenda’s.
 
Wherever you’re headed, embrace the joy and stay safe. - Michael Colavita
 
Other places to spend this last weekend of 2016…
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Grubby Little Hands, Tutlie, SAT Kevin Manning/Lushlife (DJ Set)
 
Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) FRI Oh, Are They? (Record Release), Belgrade, Honeytiger, SAT TJ Kong And The Atomic Bomb, Mercury Radio Theater, Levee Drivers
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Riverside Odds/Momma Hankton, Rexedog, Erik Kramer, SAT Eaten Alive/Fame Lust
 
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) SAT West Philadelphia Orchestra, Johnny Showcase, Minka, Muscle Tough
 
Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St,) SAT Making Time
 
TLA (334 South St.) SAT Cabinet
 
The Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal St.) FRI Louis Futon, SAT Kurt Vile
 
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI (Upstairs) Philadelphia Jug Band, The Theologicals, SAT (Upstairs) Phil Nicolo’s Eve of Destruction, Darla / (Downstairs) Marc Silver
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI The Loud Company, Commonwealth Choir, The Last Brontosaurus
 
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Kingsound, GhettoSongBird
 
Frankford Hall (1210 Frankford Ave.) SAT Vacationer, CRUISR, Suburban Living
 
Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) SAT Mo Lowda and the Humble, Air is Human, Suburban Living (DJ Set)
 
Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.) FRI Rich Medina, SAT DJ Deejay
 
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) SAT Brown Sugar
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI Laura Cheadle Family Blues Band
 
The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) FRI Solar Circuit, Naps Past Noon, Max Seidman Band, Los Festingos, SAT Matt Duke, Andrea Nardello, Quixote Project
 
Bourbon & Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) FRI Chalk & the Beige Americans, Shy Boyz, Dirty Soap Blues Band
 
Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.)  FRI Nik Greeley & The Operators, SAT Start Making Sense, Band From Mars
 
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Grand Re-Opening All-Day Music Festival at The Fire Sept. 17

Summer may be starting to fade; however, before it’s officially in the rearview mirror, head over to The Fire for an all-day outdoor music festival celebrating the venue's Grand Re-Opening. Beginning at noon, the free event, sponsored by PBR as well as local brewing stalwarts Philadelphia Brewing Co., will be chock full of entertaining scenarios, including food and craft vendors, which one can indulge in whilst consuming the litany of performers. Among those slated for the task are the invigorating, bluesy, boozy Americana of Levee Drivers, the sun-kissed melodies of Archawah, the sleek and surging sound of New England’s Potty Mouth and the bare-and-booming, never-ending get down of Mumblr, so set up shop, catch some rays, and stay awhile. The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., 12pm-8:30pm, Free, All Ages - Michael Colavita

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Rosu Lup Album Release Show at JB's March 20

What began through a Craigslist meet-up between Jonathan Stewart and Josh Marsh has resulted in the creation and celebration of their recently released debut album, Is Anything Real. Tonight, Rosu Lup will be anchoring a Philly-forward show at Johnny Brenda’s after the band took the new album on the road, performing the atmospheric indie-folk tracks from the group's latest effort. The tone of their music shifts from soaring Tom Petty stadium-style rock to blooming, wandering folk with lush arrangements that recall The Acorn and Lord Huron. Jonathan Stewart has a gentle, pleasing voice that, at times, sounds more than just a little like Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs; not that being reminiscent of one of Philly’s biggest musical exports is a bad thing. Longtime Deli favorites, Levee Drivers, led by the grinding and gritty voiced August John Lutz II, will be warming up the crowd this evening. Rounding out the show is Hemming, the acoustic project of singer-songwriter Candice Martello, who we know from the rollicking and too short-lived project Omar, with drummer/manager Nick Fanelli. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Adam G.

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