The gorgeous Fillmore Philly was the spot to be this past Wednesday evening for a sea of funkheads coming from far and wide to catch the funkmaster himself GRiZ, alongside fellow groovemasters Muzzy Bear and Big Wild. Considering this was GRiZ’s first stop in Philadelphia in almost 2 years and both Muzzy Bear and Big Wild’s first ever appearances in the City of Brotherly Love, the show was nothing short of highly anticipated. Scanning through the crowd upon arrival yielded sights of Bassdrops (the symbol of bass-god Bassnectar), snapbacks riddled with pins, pashmina scarves, and an abundance of smiles.
After arriving towards the end of Muzzy Bear’s far out opening set, Big Wild took the stage soon after to an impressive reception from the crowd. Wielding a pair of trusty drumsticks, Big Wild dove into what we can only label as one of the dopest opening live performances we have seen to date. Throwing down an assortment of beats that got the entire Fillmore bouncing, Big Wild wasted no time running through his majorly successful hits such as his “For The Love” remix of the man himself GRiZ, the “Show Me Love” remix which has almost 400K plays on Soundcloud, and the perfect blend of improvised drum patterns and groovy synths. Big Wild couldn’t disappoint if he tried, and the room full of genuine lovers of music at the Fillmore had nothing but appreciation and respect for his change of pace and unique musical character.
The man of the hour stepped up to the decks around 11:20 to an eruption of cheers from the crowd of thousands ready to get the funk down. GRiZ immediately dove into an insane set filled with oldies, goodies, newbies and everything in between. From “Hard Times” and “A Fine Way To Die” to “Gettin’ Live” and “Good Times Roll,” GRiZ knows what the funk he’s doing.
Heads were bobbing out of control as the Fillmore continuously heated up, getting hotter and hotter and GRiZ blew through his almost two-hour long set of sheer musicianship. As the night wrapped up and the crowd begged for more, GRiZ knew what needed to be done. What better song to close off the night than Flux Pavilion’s anthem of a remix of Skrillex’s “Recess.” Every soul in the venue screaming out the lyrics perfectly summed up the pure sense of unity that emanated throughout the crowd all night long. At the end of the night, we can say that we highly anticipate Big Wild to only grow bigger in the music community in coming time, and for GRiZ to simply continue being GRiZ, and putting on shows of the highest caliber for time to come.
We’ve been big fans of Robert DeLong for quite some time now but have only had the chance to catch him at large festivals like ‘Firefly’ and ‘Made in America’. On Monday, December 15th, we finally had the chance to catch him in a much more intimate setting at ‘Boot & Saddle’ in South Philly. The 150 person venue was sold-out for his show with a ton of fans lamenting if they had slept on getting tickets early when they went on sale.
We popped into Boot & Saddle a few hours before the show to sit down with Robert DeLong and discuss his career, his fans, and eating Reindeer. You can catch our interview right here:
Later that night we returned to the venue to catch his performance which kicked off at 930pm. The room was already packed when we arrived, with many of the fans wearing DeLong’s signature face paint. His stage set up was quite impressive for such a small space and included large video screens that really let fans see what he was doing with those keyboards, video game controllers, and drums. It’s refreshing to see electronic artists who actually create music live. The “press play” DJ is really starting to stale. Just because you are a talented producer shouldn’t mean that you don’t take the time to learn how to actually create live music or DJ when you go on tour. Those clowns could learn a lot from Robert DeLong.
His 75 minute set included several of his upbeat, rock-infused, electronic tracks off of 2013’s ‘Just Movement’ and his recent ‘Long Way Down’ EP. Some of our favorites were “Religious Views”, “Acid Rain”, ” Basically I”, and his cover of the Rolling Stones “Miss You”.
It was a real treat to see him play in such a small room and afterwards he hung around to take pictures with his fans and sign their merch (something we always love to see artists do). We can’t wait to see Robert DeLong again whether it’s in a small venue or on a massive festival stage.
A steady downpour fell on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, but inside Rumor nightclub, the rain drops were replaced by bass drops as Art of Electronica presented an evening with Lazy Rich.
The 18+ event, MC’d by AOE’s Dubsef, kicked off with an opening set by DJ Sweekuh.
From there it was time for BHB to take his turn on the decks. Actual Records has been promoting the hell out of this guy (we saw a lot of new BHB t-shirts on fans) with good cause, he’s got all the makings of a great DJ.
Finally, Night Kids took their turn pumping up the crowd with a Skrillex heavy set before the headliner, Lazy Rich, took to the decks around midnight.
The next two hours were comprised of house and electro beats, the insane lighting system of Rumor’s Manhattan room, and a dance floor filled with sweaty bodies.
Up and coming DJ’s, take a cue from Lazy Rich, play some Daft Punk.
For a guy whose moniker infers a sense of general malaise, Lazy Rich, and his track selection, are nothing but high energy. Ironic.
After his set he paused to take some photos with fans, closing out the night with class.
You can view an expanded photo gallery of the evening below:
It’s been an unusually warm winter here in Philadelphia. There were no snow clouds hanging over the city on Wednesday night but club Rumor (15th and Sansom streets) was still front and center on our EDM radar; there was Nadastrom brewing.
Normally reserved for the 21 and over crowd, Rumor opened its doors last for the first time for those 18 and up. It was the first of many shows presented by Art of Electronica at the venue that will have relaxed age restrictions (the next being Lazy Rich on February 29th).
Wednesday’s bill featured opening sets by up-and-coming DJ’s BHB and Dubsef, and a headlining gig by Nadastrom (the duo of Dave Nada & Matt Nordstrom).
Housed in an old bank building, Rumor has quickly become one of the premier destinations for EDM fans. With crazy lights lining the walls, ceiling, and bars, and one of the best sound systems in the city, the only thing this place is lacking is decent cell-phone reception.
Patrons began entering the club slowly when the doors opened at 9pm but the crowd grew in size as the night went on. By the time Nadastrom took the decks around midnight, the dance-floor was filled with giddy EDM fans bobbing, swaying, and dancing to a barrage of beats.
The fun continued into the early morning hours before reality set in and it was time for the mid-week party to come to an end.
Up next, AOE and Drexel’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity present a night with Alesso at the Drexel Armory on February 18th. The event is a charity fundraiser for PUSH America. We suggest buying advanced tickets. We’ll see you there Philly!
After twelve-plus years of pioneering the sounds of “Livetronica” (along with bands like The Disco Biscuits and Lake Trout) and touring all over the world, The New Deal is treating fans to one last string of shows before going their separate ways in January 2012.
Their final four U.S. shows will be played in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York.
The Philly show, on December 28th at the Theater of the Living Arts, promises to be a special night for The New Deal and their loyal fans: a celebration of their long career, and a final goodbye, all rolled into one.
To get some insight on the band, we spoke with keyboard player Jamie Shields about The New Deal’s humble beginnings, their successful career, and what’s next for him, Dan, and Darren as they go their separate ways.
Independent Philly: Who came up with the name “The New Deal”? Does it hold any special meaning for you?
Jamie Shields: It holds very special meaning as our ability to come up with a name out of nothing at all. We weren’t really a band when we came up with that name. In fact, we played our first concert and had a record before we were even a band. We were sort of this lose combination of a bunch of people and we were playing in Toronto at some sort of cover bar, playing some acid jazz covers (Darren was in charge of that band). Sometimes I sat in, and sometimes Dan sat in. Dan and I have been playing in bands together since we were 13. Then one time the combination of people wound up being Darren on drums, Dan on bass, and me on keyboard (because the guitar player didn’t show up). No one was really listening at these gigs so we just sort of said “let’s just make this up, no one really cares so let’s just have some fun.” And when we were doing this, we said, “You know what? This sounds pretty good. Let’s go do this at a real bar, at a real venue, and let’s hear how it sounds there.” So we did that and probably six people showed up (who were our friends) but we taped it because we wanted to hear how this impromptu thing sounded, and we listened to it and said, “This is great, let’s put this out. Let’s make this a CD.” So we had our first record, before we even had a band or a band name. At that point we were like, “We’re going to have to a) title this album and b) name the band.” So we just kind of threw a bunch of names out, and figured this was kind of a new interesting musical progression (for us at least), it was like nothing we’d really heard before, and it was new to us, so we were like “Sure, The New Deal sounds great to us!”
IP: Is it true that you never loop any of your keyboard tracks, and play all of the repeats live?
JS: All true, all 100% true. We play everything live. Our drummer now has sort of brought in an e-pad of electronic drum sounds on stage but everything we play is being played with our hands, or our fingers, or whatever. There’s nothing that’s looped and nothing that’s predetermined before hand. I mean, we’ve never had a rehearsal and we never have a set list; we just kind of go up on stage and start playing and it would be a little hard to have preset sequences and stuff if that’s our approach because our approach is so sort of organic and natural.
IP: You’ve played shows and festivals all over the planet, what is the largest crowd you’ve ever played for?
JS: That’s a good question. I would probably have to say it was in Coachella at the Coachella Festival. I imagine it was probably about 30,000; somewhere along those lines. I couldn’t count them all, I only got up to about 1,200.
IP: Do you prefer the large scale shows or playing at more intimate venues?
JS: There’s very different mindsets for both. The larger scale shows have a real intensity to them, maybe because they are so big and the crowds are usually so in to it. There’s a whole lot of electricity that’s going on throughout the venue but I find, personally speaking, for the smaller shows, there’s less of a demand within myself to try to, quote/unquote “Rock the House.” And when we play the smaller shows my mind’s a little more free to wander and like I said, because we improvise so much I kind of just want to be able to go wherever my mind takes me. Usually I’m able able to do that at the bigger or smaller shows, but I find that it’s a little easier for me at the smaller shows to be able to do some stuff like that.
IP: After almost thirteen years as a group, you’ve decided to call it quits at the end of this year/early next year. What’s next for you, Darren, and Dan individually?
JS: I’m very busy right now. I write a whole lot of music for TV, commercials, and film, so I’m pretty busy with that.
Dan, the bass-player, he’s really busy with a band called “Dragonette” which is his band, and they’ve had a number of hits in Europe and in The States and stuff, so he’s pretty busy with that. That’s with his wife Martina.
Darren is very busy with all sorts of musical stuff. He’s running a bunch of musical endeavors out of Toronto, although I think he’s going to be moving to L.A., but I mean that guys is never without a gig, he could pick a million bands out there that would want to have him. He could easily be on the road successfully touring within five minutes.
IP: Does the knowledge that you’re playing your final shows together add something to the experience at your current shows? Can fans who have seen The New Deal before expect anything different from this final run?
JS: Well the shows are always different because they’re improvised. In regards to them being special, yeah, they’re going to have a special feeling to them for sure. We’ll probably be pulling out some tunes that we’ve never played or that we’ve rarely played, and bringing back some of the older stuff that we haven’t played in a while. You know these shows are more of a “Thank You” to our fans for sticking it out and sticking by us, and enjoying all of the music we were able to put out. We have a pretty strong relationship with our fans and we wanted to be able to get out there one last time and just say “Thanks,” and show it in a musical manner as opposed to just saying it.
IP: If you were a fan, putting together a Top-5 list of “The New Deal” songs, what would be on it?
JS: Well from the fans’ perspective I would probably put on it: “Gone, Gone, Gone” “Technobeam” “VL Tone” is pretty popular, “Blame Yourself” we always get a lot of requests for that, and probably a song called “Deep Sun”. Those are probably the top-5 fan favorites, at least that I can think of.
IP: Let’s do some quick word association… First thing that comes to mind… Toronto… COLD Philadelphia… THE T.L.A. Double-Double… WHITE COFFEE, TOO LIGHT Progressive… TAKING CHANCES Hockey… DISAPPOINTMENT
IP: How’s your slap-shot?
JS: My slap-shot is okay, I’m concerned about my Toronto Maple Leafs slap-shot. I was at the game on Saturday night in Buffalo and it was just disgusting. The amount of penalties, and the inability to get it out of our own end, ugh it was just the worst. And we had such a nice start to the season and even a nice middle to the season and now we’ve lost like three out of our past four of something, rough; you can’t do that.
IP: If you could relive one of The New Deal’s shows over the past decade-plus, which one would it be and why?
JS: It might be our last show of our tour in Japan last year in Tokyo. That last show was pretty special. I mean it was sold out and there was a line around the block. And this is a band that doesn’t have any hit singles, and this is a band with no singer, and we were headlining our show in Tokyo and it was just a magical experience. I would relive that every day if I could.
IP: How often do you bring in a vocalist?
JS: We have some tunes on our records that have vocalists on them and in Toronto just the other night, we had Dan’s wife Martina (she’s sung on a couple of the records) and she came out and sang a track. And there are about three or four tracks out there that are pretty popular, fan favorites as well, that have vocals. We do instrumental versions of them but if the fancy strikes us we’ll bring someone out, but if it doesn’t we’ll just stick to the three instrumentals off of “The New Deal”.
IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers…
JS: That my second serve in Tennis is surprisingly good.
We hope you will all join us at the T.L.A. on December 28th as Deathwaltz Media presents this extraordinary night of music with The New Deal and Sonic Spank. You can buy tickets online, at the T.L.A. box office, or enter our contest to win tickets for you and a friend!