Hudson Taylor may not be a band you’ve heard of, but they have a pretty intense fan base out there! I found some of those fans when Hudson Taylor played a headlining show in the upstairs room at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on Friday night.
I first discovered Hudson Taylor when I had a chance to preview their new album – Bear Creek to Dame Street.
The album is a combination of studio recorded songs and live tracks. When I listened to the album, I was really impressed with the live tracks. So, when Hudson Taylor was making a stop in Philly on their latest tour, I jumped at the chance to go.
What did I think of Hudson Taylor live? And what about opener Craig Stickland? Keep reading to find out!
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World Café Live is an independent music venue in downtown Philadelphia. Located in the University City area, it brings in both local and national artists, as well as hosting a variety of other private and public events. The venue opened in 2004, and hosts over 500 shows per year between its upstairs and downstairs space.
The idea for World Café Live started when Hal Real heard David Dye’s contemporary music program called World Café. Broadcasted on local public radio station WXPN, the program highlighted no frills artists who were dedicated to their craft and appreciative of their fans. Hal knew that a venue to support those types of artists was missing from the Philadelphia area. Hal’s company – Real Entertainment Group – and WXPN joined forces and moved into the space that became World Café Live.
World Café Live consists of two main areas. The “upstairs” is a restaurant and bar that also has a small performance area. They have a full sit down dinner service. The “downstairs” is the larger performance area. With a capacity of 650 people, it also has a full bar in the back along with an elevated seating area. A lighter food menu is available downstairs.
Tip #1: The food at World Café Live is fantastic! If you are going for a show “downstairs”, come early and enjoy dinner “upstairs” beforehand. You can make a reservation on Yelp or by calling the box office at 215-222-1400.
Tip #2: There are several parking options near the venue. If you get there early, it’s usually fairly easy to find street parking right on Walnut Street in front of the venue. Be sure to pay attention to the parking signs when parking on the street. If you can’t find a spot on the street, there are several parking garages close by. The Cira Center South Garage (129 South 30th Street) is only $8 in the evenings (enter after 5 p.m.) or on weekends.
Tip #3: As mentioned above, radio station WXPN shares the building with World Café Live. When you come for a show, be sure to walk around and check out the radio station studio.
Tip #4: If you want to avoid ticket fees, buy your tickets during World Café Live’s “happy hour”. Between 5 and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, go to the box office and get your tickets with no fees. Cash only and tickets for the mezzanine area are excluded.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Craig Stickland is a singer/songwriter originally out of Toronto, and currently based in Los Angeles. Stickland’s first album – “Leave Me To The Wild” was released in 2016. His latest EP – “Burn It Down” – was just released at the end of January.
ABOUT THE SHOW
We got a little preview of Stickland when we first arrived to the venue. We came early to have dinner before the show, and Stickland was just finishing up his soundcheck. Even during soundcheck, I was impressed with Stickland’s voice. If this was just “practice”, I couldn’t wait to hear the real thing.
The couple that was sitting next to us were huge fans of Craig Stickland. After the first song in, I could understand why they were such big fans!
Stickland kicked off his set at 8:00 p.m. and led off with “Break Every Rule”. What I loved about Stickland is, like most singer/songwriters, there is a story behind every song. He shared those stories with the crowd, which helps you relate to the music. For example, his song “Starlit Afternoon” (which is the title track off his upcoming album) is about meeting someone at a music festival.
Stickland’s sound is very soulful, but he also has a bit of a rock edge to him, like on “Burn It Down”, which is the title track off his latest EP.
I love seeing singer/songwriters live. It’s amazing to watch how they make so many different sounds with just a guitar and some equipment. Stickland also played a couple of songs with just the keyboard accompanying him. Those songs really showed off his amazing voice.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Break Every Rule, Starlit Afternoon, Golden Child, Burn It Down, Rolling River, Stop At Nothing, I Hope We Don’t Break Up, Warning
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Hudson Taylor is a duo made up of brothers Harry and Alfie Hudson Taylor. Born and raised in Dublin, they released their debut album Singing For Strangers in 2015. That album contained three big hits – “Chasing Rubies”, “Battles” and “Weapons”.
Hudson Taylor started their musical career by busking on the streets of Dublin and other cities across Europe. After the release of their debut album, the duo started to gain recognition across Europe.
In 2017, Hudson Taylor appeared at the Electric Festival in Ireland in September, playing to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. Their single “Feel It Again” was one of the biggest hits in Ireland in 2017. Hudson Taylor played a run of arena shows with Picture This, as well as headlining their own sold-out tour throughout Ireland. They wrapped up 2017 with two big shows in Dublin at The Script and Kodaline.
2018 saw big changes for Hudson Taylor. Working with new management and a new record deal, the duo released the EP “Feel It Again”. They followed that up with a “mini-album” called “Bear Creek to Dame Street”. The album was produced by Ryan Hadlock. Hadlock has worked with such artists as The Lumineers and Vance Joy. The album was mixed by Ruadhri Cushnan, who has worked on albums for Mumford & Sons and Ed Sheeran.
The album is a combination of studio recordings as well as live recordings. Bear Creek is the name of the studio in Seattle where the first four songs on the album were recorded. Dame Street is where the Olympia Theatre in Dublin is located. The live tracks are Hudson Taylor classics that they performed at the theater in front of a sold-out crowd last year.
I may not have been familiar with Hudson Taylor before the show, but based on the conversations of the people sitting at our table, they have a really dedicated following out there. In fact, there was a group of twenty-something girls that planted themselves in front of the stage for their set and sang EVERY single word of every song.
Hudson Taylor took the stage at 9:00 p.m. and kicked things off with “Travellin'” and then played “Care”. You can hear in my video that their fan base (including the girl sitting next to me) knows every word to every one of their songs.
Harry and Alfie were joined on stage by two other musicians, which really added to the show – both musically and vocally. About halfway through the show, Hudson Taylor did a couple of acoustic songs around the microphone. Alfie explained that they met the other two guys while he and Harry were still busking on the streets back home. Performing the songs around the microphone took them back to their busking days. The music and vocal harmonies between the four guys was really impressive.
Hudson Taylor really had a lot of fun during the show. They said that it was their first headlining show in Philadelphia, and they promised it wouldn’t be their last. Based on the dedicated fans that showed up Friday night, I believe it!
The band wrapped up their set with what I thought was the highlight of the show. Alfie said that they had been spending a lot of time in their van driving around our massive country. While they were driving, they had created a new version of their song “Shot Someone”. The four guys did the song a cappella around the mic. Wow! Amazing harmonies. The crowd was completely mesmerized. Alfie even thanked everyone after the song was over for being so quiet.
After a very short encore break, Alfie and Harry returned to the stage alone. They went out into the crowd and did a song they said was about their sister.
Hudson Taylor wrapped up with two high energy songs that had the crowd dancing and singing. Harry even joined the fans on the floor and got them jumping up and down.
Hudson Taylor only has a couple more shows left on their North American tour before they head back to Ireland. If you can’t catch them this time, check out their website so you know the next time they’ll be in the states.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Travellin’ , Care, Run With Me, Easy Baby, Butterflies, Don’t Know Why, I Love You and You Don’t Even Know, One In A Million, Old Soul, World Without You, Don’t Tell Me, Chasing Rubies, Pray For The Day, You Don’t Wanna Know, Shot Someone Encore: Feel It Again, Battles
Have you heard of Hudson Taylor? How about opener Craig Stickland? What do you think of their music? Let us know what you think by commenting below or e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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