The biggest news of the fall 2019 concert season is the opening of City Winery, the Philadelphia outpost of the music venue mini-chain founded by nightlife entrepreneur Michael Dorf.
The intimate two-tiered club — which has one room that holds 350 seated patrons, and another whose capacity is 150 — is located at 10th and Filbert Streets as part of the new Fashion District Philadelphia (or the old Gallery, as you know you’re going to call it).
On Sept. 27, Emmylou Harris opens the $8 million venue, kicking off a four-night run in which she’s followed by Mountain Goats (Sept. 28), Josh Ritter (Sept. 29), and Justin Townes Earle (Sept. 30). Among the highlights of the fall season to follow: LaBamba & the Hubcaps on Oct. 6, Bilal Oct. 10 and 11, Avery Sunshine Oct. 27, and The Flatlanders Nov. 16.
Besides the 21 shows highlighted below, there’s plenty of other action in venues in and around town, as the concert business moves back indoors. Rarely touring alt-country pioneers the Long Ryders play the Locks at Sona on Sept. 19, and Philly punks Mannequin Pussy are at the First Unitarian Church that same night.
Local horn player and bandleader Jeff Bradshaw celebrates his 50th birthday with two shows at Ardmore Music Hall on Sept. 26 and 27, with various guests.
Hugh Jackman plays the Wells Fargo Center on Oct 2, the Black Keys are at the arena with Modest Mouse on Oct. 14. Bob Seger will play the final date of his Roll Me Away tour there on Nov. 1 there, and Elton John takes his final bow (again) at the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 8 and 9. The War on Drugs drummer Charlie Hall leads a 50th anniversary tribute to Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way on Oct. 10 at World Cafe Live. The Average White Band and Tower of Power funk it up at Ovation Hall at Ocean Resort in Atlantic City on Oct. 19.
Canadian twin songwriters Tegan & Sara — who have a new memoir, High School, coming out — do the Keswick Theatre on Oct. 26. The Chick Corea Trilogy, featuring Philly’s own Christian McBride on bass and drummer Brian Blade, play Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center on Oct. 27.
Angel Olsen supports her new album All Mirrors at the Franklin Music Hall on Halloween. The Hooters are at the Keswick Nov. 1 and 2.
Singer-songwriter Joan Shelley plays the Boot & Saddle on November 13. There’s a The Last Waltz tribute at the Tower Theater on Nov. 15 with Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson and Lukas Nelson. Katrina Paul — better known as Black Belt Eagle Scout — plays Union Transfer Dec. 8 with Devendra Banhart. And before you know it, it’ll be the holiday season: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” singer Darlene Love is at the Keswick on Dec. 13.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters (Sept. 17, Mann Center). Led Zeppelin fans may never see their reunion wish granted. And why should the Golden God revisit his illustrious past when such satisfying roads lie ahead? Robert Plant’s 2017 album Carry Fire is his second with the Sensational Shape Shifters, cooking up a swirl of Celtic, African, rock-and-roll, and blues influences. (manncenter.org, 215-546-7400)
Massive Attack (Sept. 20, The Met Philadelphia). In the 1990s, three trip-hop acts stood above all others: Portishead, Tricky, and Massive Attack. The latter band hit its high-water mark with the 1998 album Mezzanine. This show, rescheduled from the spring, commemorates that album, and features Cocteau Twins singer Elisabeth Fraser. (themetphilly.com, 800-653-8000)
King Crimson (Sept. 23, The Met Philadelphia). Here’s one more 1969-2019 anniversary to celebrate: King Crimson, the English prog-rock band led by Robert Fripp, the revered guitarist who has had an English bitter beer named after him by Ardmore’s Tired Hands brewery. The band whose “20th Century Schizoid Man” was sampled by Kanye West on “Power” is commemorating In The Court of the Crimson King. (themetphilly.com, 800-653-8000)
The Midnight Hour (Sept. 23, Johnny Brenda’s). A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Los Angeles retro-soul producer Adrian Younge — who’s worked with the Delfonics and Ghostface Killah — are the Midnight Hour. They worked together on the soundtrack to Netflix’s superhero series Luke Cage, and the concept on their 2018 album is “Black excellence: an ode to the cultural sophistication of the Harlem Renaissance.” (215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com)
Tyler, the Creator (Sept. 25, Skyline Stage at Mann Center). Tyler, the Creator is the producer and provocateur of alt-hip-hop Odd Future collective, which let loose a staggering amount of talent when it emerged a decade ago (Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, The Internet). Tyler has proven himself to be an artist with staying power on six solo albums, the latest of which, the soulful and vulnerable Igor, is one of the best of the year. (manncenter.org, 215-546-7400)
Philly Music Fest (Sept. 25, Milkboy Philly; Sept. 26, Johnny Brenda’s; Sept. 27-28, World Cafe Live). In its third year, the nonprofit Philly Music Fest takes place in three clubs around town and presents a wide range of Philadelphia sounds. Rock standouts include Thin Lips, Ali Awan, Speedy Ortiz and RFA; hip-hop is heard from with Ill Doots and Sammus; and something wonderfully strange will happen when Man Man and the Sun Ra Arkestra are on the same bill. (phlmusicfest.com).
Brittany Howard (Sept. 27, Fillmore Philadelphia). Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard has been testing life outside the band with her Thunderbitch and Bermuda Triangle side projects. She puts the Shakes on hiatus and goes it alone with Jaime, her first solo album, which comes out on Sept. 20, and she’ll sound just as soulful and funky as ever, judging from songs such as “History Repeats" and “He Loves Me.” (TheFillmorePhilly.com, 215-309-0150).
Whitney (Sept. 27, Union Transfer). Chicago band Whitney introduced its indie roots soul sound with 2016’s Light Upon the Lake. The duo of drummer Julien Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek do themselves one better with their new Forever Turned Around, with beguiling grooves gilded with falsetto vocals. (215-232-2100, utphilly.com)
World Cafe Live 15th Birthday Bash (Oct. 2, World Cafe Live). The two-tiered University City club opened its doors in 2004. It celebrates a decade and a half in business with a Tuesday night show with local acts New Sound Brass and Martha Stuckey, and there are happening shows all that week, with Lucinda Williams on Oct. 1, Sonny Landreth Oct. 3, James Poyser of the Roots’ Future Sounds X jam session on Oct. 4, and JD McPherson and Stereo League on Oct. 6. (worldcafelive.com, 215-222-1400.)
Chance the Rapper (Oct. 4, Wells Fargo Center). Chance the Rapper makes joyous music, infusing his clear-eyed and hopeful hip-hop with gospel fervor and warmth. His new The Big Day is all about conjugal bliss, presenting him with a challenge he’ll aim to overcome on this arena tour date: Can he make contentment as satisfying for his fans as it is for him? (wellsfargocenterphilly, 215-336-3600.)
Carrie Underwood (Oct. 5, Wells Fargo Center). Country music women are banding together, fighting back against male-dominated radio playlists. Along with the Highwomen supergroup and Miranda Lambert’s all-female tour this year, Carrie Underwood is giving exposure to young female acts on her Cry Pretty tour. Her openers are Maddie & Tae and Nashville trio Runaway June. (wellsfargocenterphilly, 215-336-3600)
Bon Iver (Oct. 10, Liacouras Center). Is Bon Iver big enough to play the Liacouras Center? We shall see. The disconsolate Wisconsin indie rock star who emerged from the woods with For Emma, Forever Ago in 2009 and won a best new artist Grammy five years later has earned lavish praise for his new i,i. (liacourascenter.com, 215-204-2400)
Eric Church. (Oct. 11-12, Wells Fargo Center). One of Eric Church’s biggest hits is called “Springsteen,” and the self-styled country outlaw takes a tip from his inspiration when it comes to putting on marathon shows. On his Double Down tour, Church lays two nights in a city — always a Friday and Saturday — playing two sets for a total of three hours each night. (wellsfargocenterphilly, 215-336-3600.)
Charli XCX (Oct. 19, Union Transfer). The last time Charlie XCX played Philadelphia she opened for Taylor Swift at the Linc. This time, the British singer with a flair for big pop hooks — she co-wrote Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and Shawn Mendes and Camilo Cabello’s current hit “Senorita” — is playing to her own people in a cozier setting, supporting her new Charli. (utphilly.com, 215-232-2100)
Jenny Lewis (Oct. 26, The Met Philadelphia). Dating back to her beginnings with Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis’ career spans a full two decades. Her new On the Line is one of the Southern California songwriter’s best, a collection of 1970s- and 1980s-style rock tunes that highlight her skills as a sharp, storytelling lyricist. (themetphilly.com, 800-653-8000)
Sleater-Kinney (Oct. 27, Fillmore Philadelphia). All eyes and ears will be on whoever the drummer is when guitarists and singer Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein bring their much-loved punk band to town without Janet Weiss, the all-powerful force behind the kit who left the band after recording the group’s new The Center Won’t Hold. That St. Vincent-produced album layered with pop sound is at odds with the raw fury the band is known for. (TheFillmorePhilly.com, 215-309-0150).
The 1975 (Nov. 16-17, BB&T Pavilion). Are the 1975 a boy band, or a rock band? The Matt Healy-led quartet from English town of Wilmslow certainly sound like the latter on “People,” the ferocious new single from their forthcoming Notes on a Conditional Form, which will open with a four-minute speech by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. These two dates are rare indoor shows at the Camden venue. (bbtpavilion.org, 856-365-1300)
Rosanne Cash and Ry Cooder (Nov. 3, The Met Philadelphia). This we’re-lucky-to-have-it five-city tour pairs Johnny Cash’s daughter with a guitarists for whom The Man In Black was a formative influence when he was growing up in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. The show is called Cash and Cooder on Cash: The Music of Johnny Cash. (themetphilly.com, 800-653-8000)
Tanya Tucker (Nov. 30, Sound Waves at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino). Tanya Tucker was a 13-year-old singer with a grown woman’s voice when she had her first hit with “Delta Dawn” in 1972, and she continued to have country hits through the early 1990s. After a long layoff, she’s back with “While I’m Livin’,” a rough and tumble comeback album produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings that rightly positions her as an Americana musical hero (hardrockhotels.com/atlanticcity, 833-448-8436)
Madonna (Dec. 7, 8, 10, and 11, The Met Philadelphia). Thirty-five years after Like a Virgin, Madonna this spring released Madame X, donning an eye patch as a fashion statement and mixing the influence of her recent residency in Portugal into her dance-pop sound. This is a classic music business underplay, with an artist accustomed to performing in much larger rooms creating buzz by doing shows that sell out instantly, which these did. (themetphilly.com, 800-653-8000)