I’ve told you to go see Ripe a couple of times now. I first discovered Ripe at the Levitate Music Festival in the summer of 2017. Then, in December of 2017, I saw Ripe do a headliner show at The Baby Grand in Wilmington, DE and told you that you should check them out.
In April of 2018, I saw Ripe headline at The Foundry in Philadelphia and reminded you again that you should check them out!
This time, Ripe headlined a show at the iconic TLA on South Street in Philadelphia. It was a pretty big ump from The Foundry, which holds about 450 people, to the TLA, which has a capacity of 1,000.
Would Ripe fill up the bigger TLA? Was the band as good live the fourth time around? Keep reading to find out!
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The Theater of the Living Arts (aka the TLA) is located on South Street in Philadelphia. The venue as it is today opened in 1988, but the building dates back to the 1900’s as a nickelodeon.
After several incarnations, a group of former employees (later becoming the TLA Entertainment Group) purchased the building in 1981. The building was converted into a concert venue in 1988. Live Nation purchased the venue in 2007, and has operated it ever since.
The venue is all general admission and has a capacity of about 1,000. There is a main floor as well as a balcony area upstairs.
The building is old and could definitely use an upgrade. The floor is pitted and is usually sticky. The bathrooms are small and pretty dingy. But, that all adds to the character (and history) of the building.
Tip #1: If you don’t care about being up front for a show, I find a good place to stand is back on the ramps near the sound board. The ramps are slanted, so if you are short you can get a little height advantage over those in front of you. It’s also easy access to the lobby (including the bathrooms) and the bars.
Tip #2: There are lots of food choices on South Street, where you can grab some food before (or after) the show. My favorite is Brauhaus Schmitz, which not only has a great selection of German beer, but amazing food as well!
Tip #3: Try and grab parking on the street. However, be sure to pay attention to the signs. The parking authority walks through the area often and they will give you a ticket. You have to pay the meter until 12 a.m. typically. Be sure to time your meter right for the show, or use the meter app so you can add time from your phone.
THE BROOK & THE BLUFF
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The Brook & The Bluff hail from Birmingham, Alabama. The band is made up of Joseph Settine (lead vocals/keys/guitar), Alec Bolton (guitar/vocals), John Canada (drums/vocals), and Frank Lankford (bass/vocals).
The band got its start with Alec and Joseph performing together acoustically. During one of their performances, John approached the guys about playing the drums with them and adding his vocals. They started playing together as a trio in 2016, which is when The Brook & The Bluff was born. In September of 2016, they released their first single – “Masks“.
In 2018, the band added Frank on bass, which completed the band as it performs today.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Before I go to a show that features new bands that I’m not familiar with, I try to listen to some of their music ahead of time. Unfortunately, life (and my “real” job) got in the way this week and I just ran out of time to list to The Brook & The Bluff. So, I had no idea what to expect when the band took the stage at 8:00 p.m. Thursday night.
I have to tell you… after the first song, I was hooked (and so were my husband and our friend that was with us). The guys not only have a nice groove to their music, but their vocal harmonies are amazing.
It was a short set list that featured “A Little Change of Pace” in the middle, and closed with “Are You Lonesome“. I particularly liked that song. It started slow, picked up the pace in the middle, and finished slow again. During the slow parts, it almost had a gospel music feel to it.
I didn’t know The Brook & The Bluff going into the night, but I will be checking them out going forward. You can find more information about the band on their website.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Magic Giant is made up of three guys based out of California. Austin Bisnow is on lead vocals. Zambricki Li plays the viola, banjo and harmonica. Zang plays the acoustic guitar and cello.
Not only is the band’s music unique – it’s a blend of alternative rock, pop and folk – but the way they record it is even more unique. The band has a solar-powered mobile recording studio that they take out on the road with them.
Magic Giant released their self-titled EP in 2015 and their first studio album – In The Wind – in 2017. The band had a huge break in 2018, by being added to the Coachella line up. They are just coming off The Rock Boat XIX before hitting the road to play a bunch of North America dates in February.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Magic Giant took the stage shortly before 9:00 p.m. The thing I loved about both opening bands, was that they went perfectly with Ripe. All three bands are high energy and their music gets you moving.
Magic Giant has a little bit of Celtic music influence on some of their songs, including the song they opened their set with – “Let It Burn“. This band does not lack energy. You can see that very clearly in their song “Celebrate the Reckless“.
In addition to having a ton of energy, Magic Giant showed that they have heart too. Before introducing their song “Jade“, they told the story of how it got that title. The song was still in the process of being finished, when the band played it at a show. A fan approached them and told them that her best friend had recently died, and the song reminded her of her friend. The friend’s name was Jade, which is how the song got its title.
Before they wrapped up their set, Magic Giant jumped down into the middle of the crowd, stood on top of some milk crates, and performed acoustically. The crowd loved it!
Magic Giant wrapped up their set with the song “Shake Me Up“. The guys were high energy from start to finish, and their fans really love them. We saw them after the show hanging out with fans and taking pictures, which is always great to see. If you want to know more about Magic Giant, be sure to check out their website.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ripe is based out of Boston, Massachusetts. The seven member band is made up of Robbie Wulfsohn (lead vocals), Tory Geismar (guitar), Jon Becker (guitar), Sampson Hellerman (drums), Josh Shpak (trumpet), Calvin Barthel (trombone) and Nadav Shapira (bass).
The band has slowly been making a name for themselves. When I first encountered Ripe, they were playing the side stage (in the afternoon) at Levitate Music Festival. In 2017, I saw Ripe in Wilmington, DE in a tiny theater that reminded me of a high school auditorium. Last year, Ripe headlined a show at The Foundry, which is the smaller upstairs room in The Fillmore complex.
This year, Ripe has worked their way up to a headlining show at the TLA, which is one of the most iconic music venues in Philadelphia. On the road to promote their first full studio album – Joy In The Wild Unknown – the only way to describe a Ripe show is that it is one giant dance party!
The other thing I love about Ripe is that they are just great guys! I’ve met them after one of their shows, and they are very generous with the time they spend with their fans. Ripe has declared their tour a “safe space”, and are promoting the fact that live music should be a place for “fun, community, and open expression” and that no one should be subjected to sexual harassment and assault.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Ripe didn’t hit the stage until almost 10:15 p.m. Since that was already late for me on a Thursday night, I was hoping their high energy music was going to keep me going for what looked to be a pretty late night for me.
Ripe kicked off their set with “Passerby”, which is a song off their new album. For their second song, they played one of my favorites – “Carolee” – which is one of their songs that is guaranteed to get you dancing!
The set list had a good mix of old songs, news songs and covers. The covers included Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”. I loved Ripe’s own unique twist on the song. Robbie joked that he hoped most of the people in the audience had heard of Fleetwood Mac’s iconic album “Rumors”.
Ripe included quite a few songs off their new album, as well as two brand new songs – “Hatchet” and “Low Key”.
As is typical for a Ripe show, the energy of the band was high from beginning to end. They wrapped up the main set with two of their older songs – “Goon Squad” and “Ex Life”. Before they could leave the stage, the crowd erupted in applause to show their appreciation of the band. The guys of Ripe were visibly moved. It’s so cool to see a band that is on the verge of “making it”. You could just see the amazement on their faces!
After a quick encore break, Ripe returned to play “Flipside” and crowd favorite “Talk To the Moon”. Even though it was almost midnight by that point, I was still dancing away!
If you have the chance, check out Ripe on this tour! Based on the enthusiastic crowd that showed up at the TLA Thursday night, the time for being able to catch them in a smaller venue is growing short!
Ripe is on the road all over North America throughout the rest of February and March. You can also catch them this summer at Firefly Music Festival, Electric Forest Festival, and Levitate Music and Arts Festival. Check out their website for more information.
Set List (click on any link to purchase the song directly on Amazon): Passerby, Caralee, Beta Male, Hatchet, Young Tom Rose, Don’t Stop (Fleetwood Mac cover), Pedro, Low Key, Ladies Night, Lola (The Kinks cover), Little Lighter, Downward, Goon Squad, Ex Life Encore: Flipside, Talk To the Moon
Have you heard of Ripe? How about openers The Brook & The Bluff or Magic Giant? 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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