Wednesday, May 7: Hoots & Hellmouth
Philadelphia roots/rock band Hoots & Hellmouth have never been interested in doing things the "traditional" way. Since forming nearly a decade ago, the group's eschewed both major label support, choosing DIY and/or local labels to release their tunes, and cyclical, album-based touring, spending a large portion of the past 5 years on the road, building a fan base through fun, rousing shows. It's a formula that's worked very well for them thus far—their 2008 self-titled debut (released through Drexel's Mad Dragon Records) won an Independent Music Award for Best College Label Album; in 2010 their Kickstarter campaign to fund Record #3 was so successful, it ended up garnering nearly four times its goal. Of course, none of this is surprising if you've actually seen H&H—the band strums and wails with passion , anchored by front man Sean Hoots' twangy vocals and easy melodies that will have you clapping along. In recent years, they've moved further away from their folksy past, incorporating synths and electric guitar into a newly revitalized sound. They play Boot & Saddle every Wednesday this May, where they'll test drive new material before heading back to the studio this summer. We're serious when we say we can't wait to hear it!
8:30 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $8. Tickets available here.
Wednesday, May 7: Needle Points
Philadelphia's Needle Points make music that sounds like it came from a lost era: when guitars were fuzzy, jeans were flared, and free love and psychedelia reigned supreme—whether blasting from the hillsides of Woodstock, NY, or from the flower-laden San Fran valleys. A five-piece founded last year by veteran musicians Colin Holloway and Dave Ulrich (Bunnie), the group soon expanded to include Jordan Kaplan (Bunnie), Brian Langan (Langor, The Sw!ms) and Danielle Kinoshita—and set off on a quest for righteous party vibes. Thus, far they've been wildly successful. Combining acid guitar lines with swaggering, garage-rock vocals ,and a rowdy, freewheeling energy (two of the six songs on their debut EP contain the word "wild" in their titles)—Needle Points both borrow from and pay tribute to '70s greats while carving out their own unique niche in the scene. But if they sound raucous on record, they really kill live, where their eye-makeup, dance moves, and Hari Krishna apparel are liable to transform any party into the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Jam you never knew you needed. Before you go: stream debut EP Bom Tugangu for free via Bandcamp, then bust out your fave beaded headdress, and get ready to get wild.
9:00 at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 11: Art Star Craft Bazaar (feat. Oldermost, Johnny Showcase, and more)
Holy free show alert! This weekend, the Art Star Craft Bazaar—Philly boutique Art Star's annual celebration of art, artisans, and live music—takes over Penn's Landing, for two days of shopping and kick-ass tunes. Over the past decade-plus, the Bazaar's become one of our go-to faves for awesome, handmade goods perfect for last-minute Mother's Day gifts, or fun personal indulgences. It's also a great opportunity to hang out OUTSIDE, on the water, and soak up some musical vibes. This year's line-up is curated by Philebrity and features a ton of bands we've previously spotlighted here, including Oldermost, Joey Sweeney & The Long Hair Arkestra, and Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket—plus up-and-comers Royal Shoals, Kwesi K, and more. Tunes kick off at 1 pm each day, and run til 6'ish—we'll see you there, down by the water.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at The Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. between Chestnut and Walnut Sts., free.
Sunday, May 11: Lana Del Rey
At this point in her career, Lana Del Rey has waded through the muck and emerged on the other side, triumphant and with signature pouted lips. The moody pop seductress was the object of intense and sometimes nasty scrutiny when she burst onto the scene 2½ years ago with "Video Games," a song that perfectly encapsulated the quiet desperation and entrapment of hook-up culture, with critics harping on everything from her rumored lip injections to her failed prior career under her real name, Lizzy Grant. Yet through it all, Del Rey remained steadfast, and years later there's no one that I associate more with old Hollywood glamour, Gatsby opulence, or slow, indulgent seduction. These days, Del Rey is prepping for the release of her third LP, Ultraviolence (rumored to be produced by Dan Auerbach)—check out sultry first single "West Coast" here. She'll stop by the Mann Center this Sunday, where the fresh air and sunset vibes should be the perfect backdrop for her dark pop confections.
7:30 at Skyline Stage at the Mann, 5201 Parkside Ave., $47.50. Tickets available here.
Thursday, May 15: Lady Gaga
There's a lot you can say about Lady Gaga in 2014, and most of it will be true. The outrageous pop icon has, to be fair, worn dresses made of raw beef and bubbles; incorporated blood and vomit into her stage show; and owns more fake hair than the wig shop in Suburban Station. She's also sold 24 million records and was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. But if this combination of wacky and compelling doesn't motivate you to join the "Little Monsters" (that's the name Gaga's given to her fans), consider this relatively stripped-down performance from The Tonight Show. Yeah, that's right. She might be completely over-the-top with her imagery and personal appearance…but you have to admit the lady can sing (also, sometimes over-the-top can be really, really fun). She brings her bizarre carnival of song and dance to the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday for what she promises will be a "full on party combining music, fashion, and technology." We're pretty sure no one throws a party like Gaga—and cheap seats are only $35. Time to let loose and just dance!
7:30 at the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $35–200. Tickets available here.