Thursday, March 26: Title Fight
Title Fight hail from Kingston, PA, a small town near Wilkes Barre — where they originally formed as an emo-y punk act (think: hardcore vocals and song titles like "No One Stays at the Top Forever.") Since then, they've evolved into a more complex and nuanced rock band, whose evolution likely mirrors the tastes of their first fans (because no one stays emo forever either). Formed in 2003 by twin bros Ned and Ben Russin, plus Jamie Rhoden — with Shane Moran hopping aboard soon after — the band's first break came after a tour with New Found Glory in 2009; they released their debut record, Shed, 2 years later. Subsequent tours followed; their fan base grew; and these days they're comfortably settled on ANTI- Records (Dr. Dog, Man Man), who released their new, shoegaze-y record Hyperview last month. Wait, did I say comfortably settled? I take it back. What makes Title Fight so impressive is their constant evolution — and while we dig Hyperview's reverb and dreamy soundscapes, we have no doubt their next record will bring something different yet. For now though, we're happy to wade in their vibes, if only temporarily.
7:30 at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., sold out.
Friday, March 27: The War on Drugs
For a while, not too long ago, The War on Drugs were everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Philly's resident, exuberant-yet-world-wearied crooners won over our hearts … then the hearts of everyone from Jimmy Fallon to Pitchfork, generating so much buzz that people maybe got tired of hearing about them … which is sad, because they're actually a really great band. These days, it's been more than a year since their last headlining performance (not counting a "secret" show at JBs last September + a set at the Roots Picnic) — which means by now the hype has subsided and we can focus on why we really love this band. I think it's because in some ways, they're like Philly itself: gritty, complex, and weary — but also hopeful, passionate, and constantly in motion. Formed more than a decade back by Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile (with Vile later departing to focus on solo material), The War on Drugs slowly worked their way through the indie ranks through invigorating performances and epic, sprawling records, that combined touchstones like Dylan and Springsteen with a modern sensibility. Since the release of their third LP Lost in the Dream, they've been constantly on the road — but return home this Friday to play the Tower. Hype or not, we're happy to have them back.
8:00 at The Tower Theater, 6900 Ludlow St., $25. Tickets available here.
Saturday, March 28: DRGN King with Dream Safari
There's something about the warmer weather that makes me wanna kick my couch potato habit and do active things, like sports. Unfortunately, my athletic abilities are closely aligned with Daria — which means I'm super grateful for places like Everybody Hits, a batting cage arena that truly lives up to its name (even I can hit slow pitch), IN ADDITION to hosting kick-ass shows. On deck this weekend? Local party boys DRGN King alongside smooth vibers Dream Safari, who will battle it out (metaphorically) on Saturday night. The long-running project of Philadelphian Dom Angelella, plus friends, DRGN King delivers cheery surf-pop with a wild, fun show. They're now fresh off a 6-week tour supporting their newest, Baltimore Crush (stream it here!) and will bring those road-perfected tunes to life during a homecoming show. Dream Safari is the quirky electropop project of Philadelphian Chris Coulton, whose effortlessly cool beats and style means that even though you're in an unsexy batting cage, things will still feel super suave. Extra perk? These super cool baseball cards by local photographer Scott Troyan, showcasing the showdowns. Go sports!
8:00 at Everybody Hits, 529 Girard Ave., $5. Tickets at the door.
Tuesday, March 31: Steve Gunn
Steve Gunn is a Brooklyn guitarist, who crafts the sort of easy-going Sunday afternoon anthems that surprise you with their depth. Born in Lansdowne and bred in the Philly folk scene, Gunn cut his teeth playing with Jack Rose and Meg Baird, among others, gaining acclaim for his impressive finger-picking and precision. He also logged time in Kurt Vile's backing band, The Violators, and recorded two acclaimed psych rock EPs with drummer John Truscinski. So it's no surprise that his newest record, Way Out Weather, is the type of transcendent rock explosion that makes you feel like you're swirling through space and time, images of dandelion fields and amber waves of grain, and you know, America, all lazing by your eyes. (Even Pitchfork, who sometimes delve into overly technical or obscure descriptions, can't help but paint Weather as "liv[ing] in hollowed out holes of America's past… disused gas station[s] off an Oklahoma highway [and] … booming out of a roadhouse on the Mississippi Delta.") He headlines Boot & Saddle this Tuesday; show up early for ethereal duo Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler.
8:30 at Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., $10–12. Tickets available here.