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Protoje featuring Spokey Speaky at Coda

Spokey Speaky performing at Coda on Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

 

Coda

Coda is a live music venue in Center City Philadelphia. Located at 1712 Walnut Street, it’s right in the heart of the Rittenhouse Square area.

Coda has a unique set up. It’s owned by the Germantown Nest Lodge No. 1624, and is operated as a member-based social club. That means that while they can open events up to the public, they are also able to operate for the benefit of their club members and can stay open until 3 a.m.

Tip #1: Because of its location in one of the busiest areas of Center City Philadelphia, parking can be a challenge. On street parking is available, but tough to find. There are several parking garages and parking lots in the area, but they will be more expensive than on street parking. Give yourself ample time to find parking.

Coda can be found on Walnut Street between 17th and 18th. The entrance is a small store front right in the middle of various shops and restaurants on Walnut Street. The venue is located on the second floor, so after entering, take the elevator or walk up the stairway.

Once you get to the second floor, you’ll enter a large lobby area with a bar. The merchandise table was also set up next to the bar for the show we went to.

The main lobby upon entering the second floor of Coda. Cool chandeliers hang from the ceiling. There is a full bar and area for merchandise.

 

To get to the main room, walk through the doorway. There is another bar located inside the main room, with the stage all the way at the front.

The bar inside the stage area at Coda.

 

Tip #2: There are some couches/bench seating located around the perimeter of the room. These are typically first come first served, so if you get to the show early you can grab one of the seats.

There is also a balcony area. For the show we went to, there evidently were not enough tickets sold to justify them opening up the balcony, so it was not available to access. However, it looks like you could get a pretty good view of the stage from the balcony.

A view of the stage from about halfway back in the room.

 

Restrooms are located down the hallway to the right of the stage.

Tip #3: While Coda has a full bar (and very good prices on their drinks), they do not have any food. So, be sure to grab something to eat before the show. There are lots of restaurant options in the Rittenhouse Square area.

Tip #4: If you are hungry after the show on a Friday or Saturday night, check out Shoo Fry, which is located right around the corner at 132 S. 17th Street. They serve poutine, sliders and shakes and are open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The cheesesteak poutine and jerk chicken poutine are delicious. Check them out at www.shoofry.com.

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Spokey Speaky

The guys from Spokey Speaky warmed up the crowd with their reggae vibes.

Spokey Speaky is a Reggae band based out of Wilmington, DE. The band is made up of Jeff Ferrara (lead vocals and guitar), Jason Keenan (guitar) and John Dickinson (drums).   They also have additional musicians that play with the band depending on the venue and the size of the show.

The name of the band is derived from a phrase in Patoi (the language that Jamaicans speak which is a mix of English and West African creole) – Speaky Spokey – which means “when a Jamaican tries to speak in an American or British accent (but usually results in a poor attempt)”.

We first came across Spokey Speaky when they played World Café Live in Wilmington for their annual Bob Marley Birthday show. We were amazed at how good they were, and how much lead singer Jeff sounded like Bob Marley. Since then, we try and catch them any time we can.

Spokey Speaky played a great opening set. They mixed some of their original songs with some classic covers. They have a very mellow reggae sound, that always makes me feel like I’m lying in the sun with a rum punch in my hand in Jamaica.

 

If you live in the Philadelphia/Wilmington area and love reggae music, this is definitely a band you should check out. Great music, and the guys are genuinely nice guys. They have a regular residency every Thursday night from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at D&H Jamaican Cuisine in Newark, DE (which serves AMAZING Jamaican food). You can also catch them this summer at various shows including Reggae in the Park at the Mann Center in Philadelphia on July 16th, which is an all-day reggae music festival featuring acts like Ziggy Marley and Sizzla. They will also be playing a summer evening concert at our favorite vineyard – Kreutz Creek Vineyard in West Grove, PA – on Saturday August 5th. Check their website for their upcoming shows at www.spokeyspeaky.com.

 

Protoje

Protoje entertaining the crowd with his hip hop-based reggae music.

Oje Ken Ollivierre (aka Protoje) is a Reggae singer and songwriter from Jamaica. Protoje’s mother – Lorna Bennett – is a singer from Jamaica known for her 1972 rendition of “Breakfast in Bed”.

Download Protoje’s new album Ancient Future here.

Protoje’s musical style is very common with the new generation of Jamaican-born reggae singers/songwriters. His music has been heavily influenced by hip hop. In fact, when introducing one of his songs, Protoje talked about the influence of hip hop on reggae music, and vice versa. During the song (which was very hip hop-based), he mixed in the refrain of “Exodus”, which is one of Bob Marley’s most recognizable songs, to show how the two styles complement each other.

After about an hour of DJ Yaadcore playing reggae music for the crowd, Protoje took the stage at around 10:30 p.m. My biggest complaint about this show, was that it started much too late. While I’m sure there are plenty of people that didn’t mind the late start, for someone like me that had to get up and go to work the next day, the late start was a killer.

Unfortunately, because of the late start, we were only able to stick around for about 40 minutes of Protoje’s set. What we saw was fantastic! He has some great musicians (as my husband put it, his lead guitarist could really “shred” on the guitar) in his band. He also had two female back-up singers that were full of energy and had great voices. Protoje himself was extremely entertaining. He interacted well with the crowd and had everyone dancing.

If your knowledge of reggae music is limited to some of the Bob Marley classics, Protoje is someone to check out to give you a taste of what is happening with reggae music today. It’s more smooth and mellow than some of the other new reggae music out there, so it’s a great way to transition from the old to the new.

 

Protoje is nearly wrapped up on the second leg of his U.S. tour. He has a few more dates on the calendar through the end of June. Check him out if he is coming to a town near you. If not, you can find his music on Spotify. You can also stream it for free on Soundcloud right from his website. Go to www.protoje.com to check it out.

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