Welcome to the Connie Club.
On Thursday night at 10 p.m., WXPN-FM (88.5) will begin airing an hour long weekly radio show hosted by Adam Weiner, the South Philly-based Cherry Hill-reared piano pounding frontman of rock and soul band Low Cut Connie.
The Connie Club will feature old-school showman Weiner spinning records, in a way that evokes “a funky dirty weird little bar” where “everybody is welcome” and “people are all riled up.” Weiner will aim to bring that vibe to life with a party preceding the airing of the show on Thursday at 9 at Lucky’s Last Chance in Queen Village.
The playlist ranges from down and dirty blues and funk to wildcat rock and roll and old school rap — songs by blues man Slim Harpo and New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian troupe Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias and James Brown, Kurtis Blow and DJ EZ-Rock are heard later in the first show.
As the music plays, Weiner often joins in, stationed on the stool of his beat up upright piano, known as Shondra, presumably dressed in a sleeveless undershirt and suspenders while he talks along with and back to the artists he’s playing, in the storied tradition of illustrious Philadelphia DJs such as Jerry “The Geator” Blavat and the late Sonny Hopson, the proto-rapper known as the Mighty Burner.
Each episode features Weiner interacting with musical guests. In week one, it’s Hannah Taylor, the blues-country-rockabilly powerhouse vocalist who gigs regularly around Philly with the Rekardo Lee Trio.
Four episodes are in the can, with guests including bandleader Caroline Rose, Trenton, N.J. rapper SHE, Pogues bass player Cait O’Riordan and New Orleans bounce music star Big Freedia. Weiner and Low Cut Connie are set to begin a nationwide Azz Across America tour with Big Freedia on Oct. 24 in Atlanta.
That pairing will unfortunately not make it to Philadelphia. The closest it gets is Oct. 29 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. But Low Cut Connie does have a local date upcoming at Union Transfer on Dec. 21.
Weiner birthed the radio show with the goal of bring “wild, sloshy dive bar energy” to the radio with help of Dave Safar and (Philly radio vet) Jim McGuinn of Minneapolis radio station The Current. It’s of nine non-commercial stations that will be carrying the first four episodes of the show, which hopes to become a regular weekly program.
The advent of the Connie Club is one of several changes afoot at WXPN. World Cafe host Talia Schlanger departed last month and her replacement on the syndicated show, which is distributed to over 200 stations via NPR. Her replacement Raina Douris is due to take over this fall, with Stephen Kallao hosting in the meantime. And the station has also recently debuted Culture Cypher Radio, a monthly Friday night hip-hop show hosted by John Morrison.
Stream the first Connie Club episode below.