The Roots, Doc Watson & more this week
Okkervil River After a decade of slogging upstream with their raggedy righteous rock, Okkervil River has finally become a cool cult sensation. Maybe that's why poetic front man Will Scheff is now ruminating darkly on the downside of success on OR's new album, "I Am Very Far." So what does the stage show hold? Titus Andronicus and Future Islands, for starters.
After a decade of slogging upstream with their raggedy righteous rock, Okkervil River has finally become a cool cult sensation. Maybe that's why poetic front man Will Scheff is now ruminating darkly on the downside of success on OR's new album, "I Am Very Far." So what does the stage show hold? Titus Andronicus and Future Islands, for starters.
Trocadero, 10th and Arch Sts., 9 p.m. tonight, $19, 215-922-6888, www.thetroc.com.
The Roots Picnic 2011
Philadelphia's funk/rap/soul/rock heroes aim to serve both fan contingents - "the Pitchfork" (alt rock) "and Okayplayer" (nu soul and hip-hop) "crowds," with this year's Picnic dishes, said Roots drummer/spokesman Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson. Along with their own crossover stew, The Roots will back prog-rapper Nas and modern jazz/soul singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding, this year's Best New Artist winner at the Grammys. Hot-shot rapper Wiz Kalifa is the other big draw for the Okayplayer site set. For alt rock devotes the lures include Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Man Man and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, among others.
Festival Pier, Columbus Blvd. & Spring Garden St., 2 p.m. Saturday, $65/$70, 800-745-3000, wwww.livenation.com
Organ Day tribute to Trudy Pitts
The Kimmel Center is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ in a big way tomorrow - with a free, seven-hour marathon of organ performances highlighting the instrument's riches (6,938 pipes!) and versatility. More than a dozen soloists and duos will pull out the stops, starting at noon. The celebration culminates with a special homage (starting at 5 p.m.) to the much-missed Philly talent Trudy Pitts, the first jazz artist to play the extra-grand Cooper organ. Pat Martino's group, with Pat Bianchi on organ, will offer excerpts from Pitts' "Joyful Noise Suite." Also blessing the occasion, poets Pheralyn "Lady" Dove and Sonia Sanchez, plus a Jazz Vespers performance by saxophonists Tim Warfield and Larry McKenna, trombonist Clifford Adams and The Clayton White Singers.
Kimmel Center, Broad and Locust Sts., noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, free, 215-893-1999, www.kimmelcenter.org.
Doc Watson & Friends
Legendary country/bluegrass flatpicker and singer Doc Watson has been a favorite of the Philadelphia Folk Song Society since the 1960s. So how appropriate that they're having him back for a special fund- and awareness-raising show, warming us up for this August's 50th Philadelphia Folk Festival. David Holt now plays second guitar to Doc, a role long filled by Watson's late son Merle. And they'll be joined by the amazingly versatile (old timey to jazzgrass) banjo master Tony Trischka.
Keswick Theatre, Easton Road and Keswick Ave., 8 p.m. Sunday, $39.50 & $29.50, 800-745-3000, www.keswicktheatre.com.
With a gorgeous four-octave voice, impeccable taste and flair, Jen Creed can do it all, from pop to Broadway, classical and spirit music. And she pretty much does, on her classy new "Goodnight Is Not Goodbye" album, produced by Grammy winner Glenn Barratt. One of Philly's best-kept secrets, Creed has been studying voice and instrumental performance since she was 5, toured in musicals, became a vocal coach, damaged and regained her own instrument, then added "therapist" to her resumé. Creed recently sold out the Ambler Theater, and seasoned Tin Angel booker Larry Goldfarb and talent manager Biff Kennedy both proclaim Creed "the real deal." Especially recommended for fans of Linda Eder and Josh Groban.
Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 7:30 p.m. Sunday, $20, 215-928-0770, www.tinangel.com.
The Baseball Project
Love rock and baseball, too? Here's a rare chance to put those passions together, courtesy of this all-star team of Steve Wynn, Scott McCaughey, Linda Piton and Mike Mills (pinch hitting for Peter Buck) - the 2011 road-trip lineup of The Baseball Project. Tunes on their new "Volume 2: High and Inside" album may harken some to the styles of the Beach Boys, Lou Reed or Bob Dylan. But the yarns are uniquely focused on baseball lore, with an emphasis on heroic originals ("Ichiro Goes to the Moon") and beautiful losers, like Boston's "chosen son" Tony Conigliaro (ruined by a fastball pitch to the eye) and ramblin', gamblin' Pete Rose, here given an easy walk on the "Pete Rose Way." The Bigger Lovers warm up first.
North Star Bar, 27th and Poplar Sts., 8 p.m. Monday, $12/15, 215-787-0488, www.northstarbar.com
One of the true Funk Brothers, Coffee poured wah-wah riffage on a gazillion Motown hits (like The Temptations' "Cloud Nine"), and also caffeinated sessions for Funkadelic, Quincy Jones and Barbra Streisand. Now, at 70, the guitarman's hitting the comeback trail with a self-titled set of shred-tastic, shag-adelic soul and some stage shows backed by the young Detroit funk band Will Sessions (Black Milk, Mayer Hawthorne, Slum Village), with vocalizing by Kendra Morris.
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. 8 p.m. Tuesday, $27-36, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
- Jonathan Takiff