What we're seeing live this week!
Wednesday, March 18: Sebadoh
When Sebadoh formed in the late 1980's, I was just a baby; my favorite record was probably Raffi Sings the Hits. By the time I was old enough to make my own musical decisions, they were practically broken up. But that doesn't mean their influence hasn't resonated with me in countless ways, even if I didn't actually listen to them until years later. Progenitors of home recordings and musical weirdness, Sebadoh emerged at the fore of the lo-fi movement alongside bands like GBV, Pavement, and YLT, releasing a handful of quirky, jangly, noisy records that were also catchy, angsty, and eerily on point. Conceived by Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow (who left the band soon after), plus Eric Gaffney, Sebadoh stumbled their way through pimples and hand-made magic-markered tees to eventually become lo-fi icons, propelled by ire, anxiety, curiosity, and horniness. Their 1991 record III is a great, classic record that rightfully deserves its place in the canon, and while Barlow and co. are much older now, they haven't forgotten how to rock. They play Union Transfer tonight; come live out the magic a second (or first!) time.
8:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $16–$17. Tickets available here.
Thursday, March 19: Pissed Jeans
Like Sebadoh, Philly punks Pissed Jeans are a bunch of old guys. They write songs about family, and going to work, and their hair starting to fall out. They're also one of my favorite bands to see live, and proof that punk is nothing but an attitude (and the ability to shred really, really hard). Formed by friends from Allentown, PA, Pissed Jeans shattered their way into the scene in 2005 with Shallow Parts, a furious, sludgy affront with lyrics about the banal that was absolutely perfect for dudes to blast at full volume on their car steroes will driving to work in their hybrid (I imagine) and letting off some steam. Since then, they pretty much perfected their brand of middle class hardcore punk; when I saw them at Made in America last fall, they completely destroyed both it and my eardums. They're now working on a new album and also touring, and will play Underground Arts this Thursday. Show up early for Amanda X's perfect fuzz pop and more fun curated by JUMP Philly.
8:00 at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., $3 (with RSVP), $10 without. Tickets and info available here.
Friday, March 20: Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket
Philly soul-funk carnival Johnny Showcase and the Mystic Ticket got their start as an absurd act in the 2009 Fringe Arts fest, where their Prince tribute, Purr Pull Reign (get it?) was a hilarious highlight. Six years later, they're more of an actual band, whose talent, style, and flair for the dramatic have made them a local favorite. Originally from the brain of David Sweeney — aka Johnny Showcase — a Rhode Island-bred, Philly-based artist who looks like he stepped off the set of American Hustle — The Mystic Ticket soon grew to an eight-piece tour de force, completing with back-up singers, a "spiritual adviser," and funky '70s costumes that complement their funky '70s sounds. Combining big, danceable grooves with snarky, sexy lyrics about The Big Three (that's sex, drugs, and rock'n roll), Johnny Showcase and the MT understand that sexy can still be fun and smart, and offer a show that's a mix of all three. They're joined by the equally salacious Minka for what promises to be the steamiest Friday night in some time.
9:00 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $12. Tickets available here.
Saturday, March 21: Meek Mill
Philly rapper Meek Mill's been in the news so much the past few months for reasons other than his music (I'll leave it at that) that sometimes we forget why we care about him in the first place (it's because he makes cool raps). Born Robert Rahmeek Williams in North Philadelphia, Meek first began dropping raps while still in high school, forming rap group The Bloodhoundz in 2003, and curating a collection of party-ready mixtapes. His big break came in 2008 when his Flamers mix caught the attention of Grand Hustle label head T.I., who signed him — although he ended up in jail shortly after, before releasing a proper debut. Luckily he soon rebounded, and in 2011 signed with Rick Ross's Maybach Music Group, who released his original LP Dreams and Nightmares: a thrilling, swaggering collection of emotional raps and lush production that introduced him as a budding talent. These days Meek's hard at work on his sophomore LP Dreams Worth More Than Money, rumored to feature Jay Z, Ross, Chris Brown, A$AP Ferg, and more. He plays the Wachovia Center this Saturday; come celebrate his return with fly raps and cool vibes.
7:00 at Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $36–$95. Tickets available here.