For hip-hop fans of a certain age, Staten Island's Wu-Tang Clan are approaching classic-rock status. The group was originally made up of nine members in the early 1990s; all went on to have solo careers with varying success. There are also any number of revolving-door affiliates. So what to expect for Thursday's performance at the Troc? Ol' Dirty Bastard died in 2004, and RZA will be absent due to acting obligations. But Raekwon, Ghostface, Method Man, and GZA continue to put out quality work intended for loyal fan bases. All these years later, they're more MCs than businessmen. Expect a sound where the lyrics give off as much energy as the beats. Doors open at 9 p.m.
- Michael Pollock
If you dropped a bomb on Tritone on this wintry night, it would land on this city's avant-garde veteran best. And that'd be a shame, especially since one of them, guitarist Rick Iannacone, moved on to Portland, Ore., and has returned to Philly only to see family and friends and to play with his longtime collaborators in New Ghost. The Ghost are a most inspired treat - titans of Albert Ayler-esque fare led by saxophonist Elliott Levin's mean, weird reeds and Beat poetic words; Iannacone's keening screams and clicks; and brothers Steve and John Testa's pile-driving rhythms. For fans of Levin's newest ensemble - the Balkan-sounding West Philadelphia Orchestra - New Ghost is an odd delight. Ottokar are nothing to sneeze at, either. While Wally Smith holds down the Krautrocking wheeze on the keyboards, loop-favoring guitarist Tim Motzer (he's played with Ursula Rucker and David Sylvian) and percussionist Jim Meneses (of Toshi Makihara and the Stickmen) make a mess, a glorious one to boot.
- A.D. Amorosi
Gogol Bordello/Man Man
Communal chants, growls and screams, rousing oompah choruses, fanciful and semicoherent lyrics, dramatic dynamic shifts, chaotic stage presences, and absolutely fabulous facial hair - Gogol Bordello and Man Man make a simpatico pair. "We're coming rougher every time," Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz rasps on "Immigraniada" from this year's
, their Rick Rubin-produced major-label debut. The album isn't any rougher than their previous ones, nor is it much smoother: The New York City band's unbridled gypsy-punk fervor remains, as does its penchant for sociopolitical calls to action (and the occasional love song). Philly's Man Man are less political but no less unhinged. Their shows are exuberant, percussive, and unpredictable. They'll have a new album in 2011, so here's a chance for a preview.
- Steve Klinge