Concert picks for the week before Christmas!
Friday, December 19: The Making Time $2 Bill with Nothing
9:00 at Voyeur, 1221 St. James St., $2 before midnight, $10 after. Tickets available at the door.
Saturday, December 20: Pig Destroyer
I will admit as I write this that I'm probably not hardcore enough to see Pig Destroyer. The long-running punk-nihilists deliver what they call "savage grindcore": furious, hard-hitting, thrash-metal nugs that pummel you in the face with raw aggression. Formed in 1997 by J.R. Hayes and Scott Hull, whose monstrous growl and super-charged guitar form the basis of their sound — Pig Destroyer's extreme racket and wild live show helped them easily fit into the East Coast hardcore scene of early aughts, playing alongside bands like Kid Dynamite, Converge, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. And while the band actually hails from Virginia, we've always felt like they have a special connection to Philly — whether it's their f*ck off, we do what we want attitude, or their shared affinity for DIY. (West Philly punks will remember their epic show at Stalag 13 back in the day, which I did not attend but hear was "out of control.") In recent years, they've tempered somewhat — 2014's Mass & Volume is probably more droney than savage — but we have a feeling they'll put out all the stops at the Church. Not feeling the Christmas spirit? Come rage it out in a sweaty basement instead.
8:30 at the First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., $16–18. Tickets available here.
Saturday, December 20: Cheerleader
If spending Saturday night in a moshpit isn't your idea of a good time (no judgment!), head over to Johnny Brenda's, where Philly indie popsters Cheerleader offer sunny jams that belie the freezing weather outside. A five-piece formed late last year when guitarists Chris Duran and Joe Haller moved to Philly from Hartford, CT with the goal of forming of a band — Cheerleader quickly bonded over their shared musical goals, and set about creating prefect car stereo jams. Since then, they've released their debut EP On Your Side, which contains the lovely "Perfect Vision" — a slice of summer pop so refreshing, it's a wonder they don't put it in mojitos. Along the way, they've built up the requisite buzz, earning a spot on the Rachael Ray Feedback party line-up at this year's SXSW, and hitting the road with The Hold Steady last May. They're now back in Philadelphia and will play JB's this Saturday. We love these guys for their laidback tunes and positive attitudes, and once their full-length drops, we have a feeling they'll be huge. Get on board now; claim bragging rights later.
9:15 at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $10. Tickets available here.
Monday, December 22: Tyler, The Creator
Tyler Gregory Okonma — aka, Tyler, The Creator — is only 23 years old, but already has more enemies than most people acquire in a lifetime. He also has more fans. Since bursting onto the scene 5 years back, the rapper, producer, and Odd Future frontman has proven wildly successful at most things, but especially attracting attention. His breakthrough record, Goblin, was criticized for being misogynistic, homophobic, and violence-obsessed — even as Tyler himself denied the claims — but still went on to sell over 200,000 copies and earn critical acclaim from the music press. His follow-up, Wolf, sold even more, and an appearance in Adult Swim's Loiter Squad helped paint him as a good-natured hooligan looking to have fun. Which is ultimately how we view Tyler — strip away the hype and you'll find an artist who is angry, yes, but also creative, interesting, and not afraid to expose his raw self to the world. (Also, we can thing of myriad well-respected artists who were deemed "offensive" at the time.) This Monday he'll bring his gritty and menacing rap to the TLA — whether you like it or not.
8:00 at the TLA, 334 South St., sold out.