STORY WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
For Digital First Media
Welcome to “Seven in Seven,” where each Friday we take a look at shows coming to the region over the next week. Whether your musical tastes are rock and roll, jazz, heavy metal, singer-songwriter or indie, there’ll always be something to check out in the coming days.
Here are seven of the best for the week beginning March 26:
The Regrettes – March 26 at Kung Fu Necktie
“Perfectly imperfect” is one way to describe Los Angeles-based punk act The Regrettes. Writing songs that proudly bear a brazen and unabashed attitude in the vein of acts like Courtney Barnett or Karen O, with a pop appeal of 50’s and 60’s acts such as the Temptations or Buddy Holly, the four piece create infectious, punk driven tracks lead by outspoken frontwoman Lydia Night. Taking cues from acts like Hinds and Hole, there’s a wistful sense of youth and vulnerability that lies at the heart of each song.
Architects – March 27 at Underground Arts
England’s Architects are a band who has never shied away from challenging the world around them. Long lauded as some of modern metal’s most progressive-thinking minds, for the past decade, the Sussex-based quintet have pushed boundaries, redefined genres, and never feared having to question themselves in order for their art to leave its mark on the musical landscape. Last year was both an incredible high and devastating low for the band; on one hand, they released their universally acclaimed seventh album, All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us, in late May, but then co-founder and lead guitarist Tom Searle died from skin cancer. If anything, this tour is about picking up the pieces and honoring a fallen bandmate.
Holly Bowling – March 28 at World Café Live – Upstairs
Though Holly Bowling is a classically trained pianist who began playing piano at the age of five, there’s one major distinction that separates her from other similarly studied musicians: she has a devotion to the rock band Phish. Having attended over 300 shows by the legendary quartet, she became obsessed by their famous rendition of “Tweezer” from Lake Tahoe on July 31, 2013. It led Holly to transcribe this 37-minute improvisational masterpiece note-for-note and arrange it for solo piano. The process, both painstaking and fulfilling, inspired her to transform other Phish songs and well-known live jams into solo piano interpretations. It’s made for her shows to be truly unique, standing out from so many other pianists.
Middle Kids – March 29 at Boot & Saddle
When most groups release their first single, they’re happy enough to have a few friends hear it and maybe get the odd spin on local radio. When Sydney’s Middle Kids unveiled debut offering, “Edge of Town” in May 2016, it received considerably more attention. Sir Elton John declared himself a fan, added it to his Apple Music playlist and aired it on his Beats 1 radio show. Not bad for a band that, when they recorded the single, hadn’t played a show. Now the indie-rock trio is hitting our shores, and this will surely be one of the last times they’ll be playing a venue as small as Boot & Saddle.
Portugal. The Man – March 30 and 31 at Union Transfer
Portugal. The Man’s last album came out over three years ago, which is a long gap for a band who’ve dropped roughly an album a year since 2006. They’ve spent almost every minute since 2013 working on an album called Gloomin + Doomin, until things took a complete left turn. Frontman John Gourley found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival. It seems like a small thing, but talking to his dad about the landmark event knocked something loose in his head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them. The band made a seemingly crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and they threw it out. Now, a new album is on the schedule, Woodstock, with the first single just released called “Feel It Still.”
Bon Jovi – March 31 at Wells Fargo Center
New Jersey’s biggest musical icon not named Bruce Springsteen is back in Philly to support last year’s This House Is Not for Sale, the 13th effort by Bon Jovi. The band’s namesake has been thrilling audiences for three decades plus now, and despite fractures along the way – like longtime guitarist Richie Sambora departing a few years ago – still draw an arena full of people for their arena sized hits like “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
Back 2 The 80’s Tour – March 31 at The Liacouras Center
A lot of the ‘80s might be wince inducing or forgettable today, but one thing that has stood the test of time is old school hip-hop. Some of the most cutting edge rappers from that era will be at the Liacouras Center to bring all those memories back. Slick Rick, Whodini, Al B. Sure!, Chubb Rock and Doug E. Fresh are just a few of the names who will be in attendance.