Levee Drivers Roll Into The Khyber March 20

For those who need a reminder, Levee Drivers won our Best of Philly Fans' Poll this past year, and were overall top performers as well. It was certainly justified, as it's hard to deny that these guys are the perfect soundtrack to this early summer we seem to have on our hands (how 'bout that, eh?). Drawing a great deal from old-timey country and blues in a Johnny Cash vein, they whip up something that sounds like driving at night with the windows down on that proverbial country road. "Quarter to Three" swells with a lovelorn harmonica, while "Leavin' Town" brings a rock swagger to the mix. They're joined at the Khyber tonight with rustic yelpers Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. The Khyber, 56 2nd Street, 9 pm, $10, 21+ - Joe Poteracki



Weekend Warrior, March 19 - 21

We’re interested in checking out Ghost Stepper tonight at the North Star. It’s comprised of a few the Lotus guys, one of our favorite drummers Mike “Greenie” Greenfield (formerly of Penn band The Ally which spawned future members of Yeasayer, Illinois and Xylos) and our favorite Mennonite musicians/brothers Jesse and Luke Miller. We can’t think of a nicer trio (well, except when the bros can’t find a headie beer that they can drink - beer snobs). We were told that “they sound better than Lotus - more dubby” so we wanted to see what that’s all about. Also they’ll be joined by one of our favorite local post-rockers Grimace Federation, whose lead guitarist Wes Schwartz is all about Metal and obscure Hip Hop, so be ready for a heavy night of guitar riffs and hot beats. Ghost Stepper sold out their debut performance at Silk City for their Haiti Relief Benefit, and Grimace Federation certainly has a local following of their own so expect a crowded and sweaty dance party on this fine, fine evening. Or just a bunch o f people like ourselves gettin’ way too fucked up and tryin’ to figure out how the hell do we get home from the North Star. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 9pm, $10, 21+
Here are some folks to check out that didn’t head down to SXSW this week…
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI The Stuffed Animal Project featuring The Nite Lights, Northern Liberties, Mondo Topless, SAT Far Out Fangtooth
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Ground Up
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Jawnzap7, SAT The Donuts and The Yarrows, SUN Lighten Up, The Holy Mess
M Room (12 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Dangerbird, SUN Banned Books
Tritone (1508 South St.) SUN Hollow Bones w/ G. Calvin Weston and Elliot Levin
Danger Danger Gallery (5013 Baltimore Ave.) FRI Kill You in the Face SAT Mirador
Pi Lam (3914 Spruce St.) FRI Ravens and Vultures, Ape School, Ghost/Light
JR's Bar (2327 S. Croskey St.) FRI Loafass and Fuck Attack
Cha-Cha' Razzi (1918 S. Bancroft St.) SUN Pony Pants and Da Comrade!

The Deli at SXSW: Part 2 - Free Energy at Paste Party

This being my first time at SXSW I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I have been to festivals, but I have never seen a town taken over in such mass and fervor as Austin, Texas is during these weeks of mayhem. On my way to Paste’s unofficial day party at Galaxy. I was asked for a hug instead of change from a homeless couple and met THE lizard man (check out full body tattoo, eyebrow implants and tongue augmentation below). I made my way in to the show just as Philly’s own Free Energy were taking the stage to get the week long party started. Their incessant energy, power stances, soaring guitar riffs and fantastic heads of hair immediately captured the crowd’s attention. They charged through their time-capsule rock n’ roll while front man Paul Sprangers sang of good women, good times and joyrides that fully captures the essence of this festival. They played much of their new album including early single “Dream City” and anthemic track ‘Free Energy’ before closing with the explosive (no pun intended) “Bang!” As their set ended and both the crowd and the band took a chance to catch their breath and wipe sweat off their brows, Sprangers left the stage saying, “Let us know if you find a secret hot tub and we’ll be there, actually if you find a secret hot tub we’ll probably already be there.” After such an unapologetic and electric set from these rising locals (who were recently named Best New Powerpop by Rolling Stone and #1 Artists to Watch in 2010 by Spin), I could not agree more. Don’t worry if you missed these guys yesterday though, before heading over the pond they will be playing seven, count ‘em, seven more shows over the next three days. (Photo by Joey F.) - Adam G.




Ravens and Vultures Flock to Pilam March 19

Sounding like “survival” and the wing flaps of “mythical beasts,” local act Ravens and Vultures have an allure all of their own. The hush-hushed vocals of “Willow Tree” and instrumented blips of “Fistswinterbeta” are akin to the lush orchestration of the Broken Social Scene, resonating in layers of percussive cycles and bending riffs. Each track drenched with eased ambience, echoes out in neared whispers coupled with stuttered beats and the colliding shake of cymbals. Smitten with thoughts of magic and the power of myths, this Philly trio plus honorary member Michael Johnson conjure up thoughts of Mogwai with similar post-rock finesse. Between their full-length Last Love and their EP Keep Your Kill, their sound is a deserving shoo-in to become the next big thing if only they played out more. Like a mellow b-side by Black Moth Super Rainbow, Ravens and Vultures play humming psyched out lo-fi that shines with subtlety. Grab the opportunity when you can, and catch their set with fellow fae Michael Johnson and the rest of Ape School, Miniboone (The Deli NYC’s Band of the Month) and Ghost/Light. Pilam, 3914 Spruce Street, 8pm, $5, All Ages - Dianca Potts



The Nite Lights Score Stuffed Animals at JB’s March 19

When he isn’t rocking out with his band The Nite Lights, Joe Boruchow is a renown area artist who is best known for his stylized paper cutouts. His posters can be seen at scattered lampposts all across Philadelphia, and he has even done commissioned works for the likes of Isaiah Zagar. To go along with the release of his newest book, Stuffed Animals - a narrative of 100 black paper cutouts that weave the tale of a young boy and his shocking discoveries, Boruchov’s two worlds are about to come together. The Nite Lights have been hard at work composing music to a 20 minute slide reel of the books imagery. And tonight they are prepared to unveil the results during two special sets at Johnny Brenda’s. They’ll be joined by the whirling dervish of ghost punk involutioners Northern Liberties as well as garage rock veterans Mondo Topless to round out a most interesting evening. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - Bill McThrill