Impose’s Philly Report

Editor’s Note: One of my many jobs at the waterfront is to book summer concerts featuring Philly bands. Now that spring has begun (sort of), I’m on a quest again for new music. Dayna Evans, from Impose Magazine put together an awesome list of Philly bands, including interviews with performers, music writers and others. She was kind enough to let me repost it here on Philly Love Notes.

After playing my first real show in Philly in 2010, embarrassed from a poor performance that got worse with each song, I decided to take a long hiatus from playing music. I knew that no one in my new home of New York would mourn my band’s end, so I let the whole thing go.

On subsequent visits to my hometown, I’d run into people asking me when we would play again, if we had any cassettes to sell, what kind of music I was writing, if I wanted to jam. At the time, I had posted only three songs to Myspace, and didn’t promote them anywhere. My response was always dismissive bemusement. “Oh, yeah, that? It’s over now. Kaput.” There was a bullying disapproval that came with these conversations, friends who were gently critical of my giving up on something I cared about, and these conversations were the currency of community, of which Philly’s is astonishingly strong.

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A writer in New York recently attempted to capture that community in a quickly constructed embed roundup. The result was shoddy and disingenuous, making the city out to be some dirt-drowned rube’s town with the occasional cubic zirconia shining through. What the writer hadn’t considered is that Philly has never needed or wanted outside approval. When no one in New York even knew my band existed, people in Philly who had watched us struggle through a shaky set were asking us to play again, encouraging me not to give up. Those same people came to the shows that I did eventually play, three years later, and enthusiastically bought cassettes that took me that long to put out.

When I conceived of putting together this report, I knew it wouldn’t be hard to get friends to contribute. And this, in no way at all, is every single show attendee, band member, writer, or artist. It’s a limited cross-section of those involved in a community that isn’t just thriving now because of some omnipresent outsider validation—it has been thriving, and in a number of positive ways. Below are voices from Philly speaking on what makes our East Coast city a place of not just brotherly love, but of creative prolificacy, thoughtful allegiance, and stalwart independence.

The rest of the piece features interviews with great Philly musicians and writers including Amanda X, Bleeding Rainbow, John Vettesse from WXPN, and a primer on Philly bands to check out. Read more HERE.

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