There's always been a Kenn Kweder, and there always will be. At least when it comes to the Philadelphia rock scene, it seems that way, anyway. Evidence of this is abundant on John Henderson's
A Million Light Years of Kenn Kweder: Pandemonium Live!
, the new DVD available at
» READ MORE: www.kennkweder.com
that collects 35 years of spirited, irreverent KK performances. The collection, as always, leads one to ponder why the ageless wonder, who plays two New Year's Eve shows at the Tin Angel, never found a sizable audience outside Philadelphia. Besides including such keepers as "What Am I Talking About," "Doctor Says" and "The Ballad of Manute Bol" (performed at Pennypack Park with Amos Lee and a basketball hoop on stage),
also features footage from Kweder's Elvis and Robert Palmer impersonator phases, and an "Exercize with Kweder" segment that involves a bottle of wine, a rowing machine, two comely beauties, and the sage advice "Don't go to work tomorrow if you don't want to." It's worked for him.
- Dan DeLuca
The Dresden Dolls' unabashed theatricality could easily degenerate into shtick: a piano/drum duo from Boston mimicking Weimar-era German story songs colored with a healthy (or potentially unhealthy) dose of goth drama. Add to that a penchant for dressing in bowler hats and dark period costumes and it could all be too much. But too much is part of the point, and what saves the Dolls is the songs: Amanda Palmer can do minor-key swing ("Bank of Boston Beauty Queen"), jaunty pop ("Coin-Operated Boy") and unhinged aggression ("Girl Anachronism"), all the while cataloging emotional extremes and depicting degenerate characters. Palmer's working on a solo album that Ben Folds is producing, but she and drummer Brian Viglione bring their self-proclaimed "Brechtian punk cabaret" to town tonight.
- Steve Klinge
Only a month after his two solo acoustic shows at the Tin Angel, multitalented multi-instrumentalist Clarence Greenwood, a.k.a. Citizen Cope, is back to enthrall the faithful. Only this time, he's ramping up his sound with the backing of a full band for his two appearances - Saturday's sold-out show at the Electric Factory and his New Year's Eve Fillmore/TLA gig.
With story-filled lyrics and innovative sonic musings that blur the boundaries between folk, hip-hop, classic soul and rock, the eclectic Cope's songs take on both personal and political concerns with an unflinching (and generally uplifting) vibe. His latest album,
Every Waking Moment,
is a series of musical snapshots that pack a visceral sonic punch. Lyrically, it's all about making a connection, with himself, a lover, or the listener: even singing about politicos "ordering the killing of innocent civilians," Cope's background chant is "without you I'd be all alone."
- Nicole Pensiero