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Mercury Radio Theater

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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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Mercury Radio Theater Record Release Show at Boot & Saddle Oct. 28

Tonight might just be the only album release party where you could possibly walk away winning two sweet-ass guitars as part of Gretsch’s Twang-O-Rama! Buddy Mercury and his multi-faceted musical cavalcade, Mercury Radio Theater, have been adding to the weirdness in Philly with a cacophony of rockabilly sounds, old-world gypsy melodies, tumultuous guitar riffs, saxophone blasts, dancehall punk, gang vocals, and more for the past 15 years. And the band’s latest release, Fabulous Red Menace, is a bold culmination of all of the above, while being themed around Eastern European propaganda in an American context. The show will also feature the gritty, Americana rock of Big Lazy and the mariachi-meets-surf-guitar tunes of Gringo Motel. Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Bill McThrill

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WPO & Mercury Radio Theater Post-Halloween Freak Out at Boot & Saddle Nov. 1

Boot & Saddle plays host this evening with a wide-reaching and varied sonic combination. The expansive Mercury Radio Theater creates a theatrical feel, developing a broad range of compositions through the intermingling of horns, strings, accordion, etc. that is increasingly jubilant and yet incorporates flourishes of creepy scenery, at these odd, timely moments. This will lay the groundwork for the steady churning eclectic Balkan-beat of West Philadelphia Orchestra, whose all-hands-on-deck sound dishes out a hypnotic dance groove. There's a reason why they remain a staple in the Philly music scene and an oftentimes a go-to band for a good time at community events. It's your post-Halloween freak out. Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 8pm, $12, 21+ - Michael Colavita

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Mercury Radio Theater Presents "The Gobblepocalypse" at JB’s Nov. 24

A dark undercurrent sweeps through Johnny Brenda’s tonight as Mercury Radio Theater presents "The Gobblepocalypse." MRT has the knack for combining stalwart surf/punk instrumentation synching the fundamentally intense vibes of a thick rhythm section and guitar searing the ground that lies in its path. The band takes that “ready to launch” mentality and infuses a twisted cinematic horror narrative and other classics, but mismatched, yet well-placed tones build a scene right before your eyes. One can’t help buying in. Throw in burlesque interludes by Peek-A-Boo Revue's Lulu Lollipop, and this theatrical music escapade kicks it up a notch with a little va-va-va-voom. Six Acre Lake will open the show with heavy-handed mathematical guitar/percussion/synth approach, while the reinvigorated bizzaro cinema of Faquar Muckenfuss also sets the stage. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Michael Colavita
 
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