Hello to all of our Coco readers!! Hope you all have had a rockin’ great year, know I sure have! I have been keeping myself very busy, checking out new venues and discovering more great new music to share with you all! I got so busy, in fact, that I also must admit that I have fallen behind on writing my reviews of all these incredible opportunities but I hope to begin sharing them all with you now. I have an incredible stockpile of photos from shows to share with you all, including my coverage of this year’s Firefly Music Festival.
So, without any further delay, and in no particular order, here we go with the first show I would like to share with you all… backing all the way up to November 23, 2015. I had the pleasure to attend The Wilderness Politics tour at the newly renovated Fillmore in Philadelphia. Four different incredible acts performed: LOLO, The Griswolds, New Politics
and Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness
, and they all gave amazing performances!
The Fillmore Philadelphia is located in what is known as the Fishtown district and its renovation was just one of the many projects scheduled to help revitalize the neighborhood. From the outside, it seemed like a rather small building and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Inside, however, it was a never-ending maze of rooms, each doorway leading to another. The first room was really more of a lobby entrance area where everyone was cleared by security before entering. This area led to a much larger room equipped with a bar area, merchandise booths, and for this particular event, there was even a booth to get your DNA swabbed to become a bone marrow donor. You may think this sounds like an odd thing to have at a rock concert, however, lead singer of headlining act Andrew McMahon is a bone cancer survivor due to a bone marrow transplant he received from a donor. His gratitude has inspired him to become an advocate for the cause, helping to raise awareness. To help get more donors registered to The Be The Match Registry® donor database, DKMS (an international non-profit organization organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders) had booths set up at every stop on this tour. I was told that they had swabbed 127 people so far and had already helped match three people. For more info or to become a donor please visit: deletebloodcancer.org
. Saving lives is awesome; thank you Mr. McMahon!!! His story is truly inspiring and I have become a huge fan of not only his music but of him as a person and, of course, I had to get swabbed for the cause! It was very simple and took about one minute.
After leaving this area, there were two large doorways that divided the crowd, one for over 21 and one for the under 21. These doors led to another smaller room with another full-length bar that was roped off for the under 21. On either side of this room, large monitors hung displaying the stage, adding to my excitement and anticipation. There were stairs on either side that led to a balcony viewing area and I later learned there were even more rooms upstairs including a completely separate live music venue known as the Foundry.
The Foundry is fully equipped with its own bar and stage and, with a capacity of 450, I hear it is a great space for more intimate, personal shows. Somewhere up there, there was also a VIP lounge they call the Circle Bar and another event space referred to as Ajax Hall. So in a nut-shell, The Fillmore in Philly is really huge inside with a lot to offer for almost any occasion. It was also a very easy drive from here in Ocean City, Md., easy to find and very easy to park for free!
Time now for me to get back on track and onto the actual show. Back down the stairs and through another set of doors was the main stage area, which has a capacity of 2,500. LOLO
was first to take the stage and she came out wrapped in a huge, full-length fur coat and Griswold beanie cap. She has a very soulful, jazzy sound that is delivered with a New York punk rock punch! This girl really has a set of pipes and her lyrics truly cut deep in a very thought provoking, witty way. A few songs into her set, she shed the fur and was then dressed in full black attire, black T-shirt and black skinny jeans, in true New York punk fashion. She delivered each song with incredible depth and emotion and I truly enjoyed watching her perform!
Lauren Pritchard, aka LOLO
, is a fairly new, up-and-coming solo artist who has had her sights set on fame since the early age of sixteen. Born in Jackson, Tennessee, she has since relocated many times in pursuit of a career in music and film. She received her first big break when she landed a role on the hit Broadway show Spring Awakening, in which she performed for two years, before relocating again to the UK and signing a record deal with Universal Island Records. Wasted in Jackson
, recorded under her birth name, was her first full-length album released in 2010. Eventually, Pritchard ended up back in New York, where she signed with DCD2 Records and released her first EP, Comeback Queen, under the name LOLO
Formerly known as Decaydance Records, DCD2 is an independent record label, partially owned by Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. In 2014, the label relaunched as DCD2 Records and the first new acts they signed were New Politics and LOLO, which I am sure had something to do with them touring together. LOLO
is also responsible for the original version of the hit song “Miss Jackson!,” made famous now by her label mates Panic! At the Disco. Pritchard also composed and wrote a raved about, off-Broadway musical entitled Songbird - a Tennessee Fiction, which ran in the fall of 2015. In loving memory of When I Gave a S#*t!
, which is so perfectly titled in my opinion, is set to release on Sept. 9th and will be her first full length album recorded under her new name. A handful of singles have already released which you can stream on just about any platform: spotify, apple, google music etc.
If you haven’t heard of her yet, I highly suggest checking out the single “Hit and Run,” or watch her latest video for her new single “Heard it From a Friend” (insert explicit lyrics warning here)! I am sure we will be seeing a lot more from this girl; in fact, you could even catch her at the World Café Live in Philly, Sept. 14. For more info on LOLO
please visit lolomusic.com
were out next and these guys are just a ridiculous, silly amount of fun. I first saw them perform at last year’s Firefly 2015 to a ridiculously over-sized crowd, who seemed to really embrace their music. They are from Sydney, Australia, and play a blend of catchy, modern, pop songs that really stick in your head. Their shared love of American pop culture, everything from music to movies, actually led them to their chosen band name, taken from the beloved National Lampoon’s famous family ‘The Griswolds’. These guys are always smiling and always seem to be having the time of their lives.
Lead singer Chris Whitehall came onto the stage wearing his own version of a New Politics T, sleeves cut off and modified to read “B@#*% I’m Old” instead of …Gold, which I thought was just perfectly silly! Their performance was filled with fun and laughs and every song was upbeat and very danceable! I loved watching them all jump and bounce around on stage, while performing songs from their first full-length album Be Impressive
, which was released by Wind-Up Records in 2014. Near the end of their set, they asked if we were ready for the next band, New Politics
, and the crowd went wild. Chris asked, “do you want them to come say hi and, of course, the crowd screamed for them wildly and we were met with a wonderfully silly surprise.
The boys from New Politics
all came running out wearing nothing but bath towels, as though they were interrupted from their pre-show showers. They even had soaps on a rope and scrubby poofs that they tossed out to fans. Many girls began to swoon and I have to admit I was one of them; but sadly, they held on to those towels tight and disappeared backstage without incident! The Griswolds
played a few more songs to wrap up their set which, over-all, was really a very fun time. I feel as though they truly engage with their audience; Chris even came out to say hi to fans on the front rail and he even posed for many fan pics.
My favorite Danish boys performed next, New Politics
, whom I am just completely in love with. I have been mesmerized by these guys ever since the first time I saw them and have to admit I have become a bit obsessive. My love affair with New Politics
began right here in Ocean City, Md., when they performed on the beach for Dew Tour in 2013. These guys were so much fun to watch that I have not been able to stop! I have been to many shows since, including one stop on their first headlining tour, “Harlem, U.S.A.” and I even had the honor of doing a quick interview with them at Firefly 2014.
Lead vocalist David Boyd and guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist, etc., Søren Hansen are originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, and are two of the nicest, sweetest, most talented guys I ever met. They now live in Brooklyn, New York, along with band mate and drummer Louis Vecchio, a Long Island native. Their first big hit single “Harlem” was released in 2013 on their second album, A Bad Girl in Harlem
, which has a very catchy beat that is just simply fun to sing and dance along to! Vikings
is their third studio album which released August 14, 2015, and I couldn’t wait to see them perform some of their newest songs live.
When the show began, I was lucky enough to be in the media pit and Boyd wasted no time busting out into his infamous, break dancing moves, right in front of me! I was so close while he was spinning on his head, that I couldn’t even fit him completely in frame! It was truly incredible and so much fun to get to shoot these guys again! I only got to stay up there for the first three songs, per industry standard, but it was well worth every minute! I was very glad to hear them include some of their early songs such as “Just like Me” and “Yeah Yeah Yeah.” That first self-titled album definitely had more of a raw, punk-rock sound and I for one just love all of it! Their music has now matured into a blend of many genres that has been refined into their own new sound.
I was elated to hear one of my absolute favorites, “Overcome,” which I think is a very inspirational and lovely anthem stating quite simply… “if we unite as one then anything is possible!” Loved hearing new songs “15 Dreams” and “Stardust.” Hansen recorded more vocals on the latest album than he ever had before and for his song “Stardust,” he came out by himself, sat at a piano and performed a stripped down solo version. The place was almost pitch black with just him slightly illuminated at a piano; then little lights began to twinkle from all over, including from the crowd. It was really a beautiful and heartfelt performance that I felt created a very special moment! Every minute of their shows are electrifying and I really hope you all check them out and see for yourselves! For more information see their official website @ http://newpoliticsrock.com/
After quickly catching my breath, I headed out of the main stage area in search of The Griswolds
! I would like to take this moment to say a big huge ‘Thank You’ to Danny for trying so hard to help me get an interview with the band. It all proved to be a bit more hectic than I had hoped, so sorry for all of that and again, a sincere Thank You!
Anyway, I did manage to catch vocalist Chris Whitehall and got to ask just a few questions while he was hanging out in the club area.
Because of all the running around that I did trying to get pictures and interviews, I missed most of the Andrew McMahon & the Wilderness show, but did get to hear one of his hits “Cecilia and the Satellite.” I wasn’t that familiar with his music at the time, but have since grown to really like it. I have since had another opportunity to see him live so I will save his story for another article which I hope to get to you soon.