ARDMORE MUSIC HALL
The Ardmore Music Hall is in Ardmore, PA. Ardmore is in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, just about 20 minutes outside the city.
The venue was opened in 1980 as 23 East Cabaret. During that time, it hosted shows by then unknown artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Hootie & the Blowfish. In 1995, the venue changed its name to Brownies 23 East. During that period, mostly cover and local bands played the venue, but it did host some nationally known acts such as Cheap Trick and Los Lobos.
As of 2013, the venue changed names once again to its current name – The Ardmore Music Hall. The venue is independently owned and operated. Chris Perella and Tom Linquist took over bookings for the venue in 2014, and have focused on diversifying the music and events that are held there.
Tip #1: The venue is not operated by Live Nation, so while there is still a fee on tickets, it’s not as much as Ticketmaster. To avoid the fees completely, buy your tickets at the box office. The box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 12 – 5 p.m., or during all public events. Note that if you go to the box office during the day, simply ring the bell on the front door (along Lancaster Avenue), and someone will be out to let you in.
Tip #2: Ardmore is a great little town with some good restaurants. On Thursday night, we ate dinner at El Limon, which is a great Mexican restaurant.
It’s also home to Tired Hands Brewing Company, which is one of the more popular microbreweries in the area. Both their original brew café and their fermentaria are in Ardmore.
Tip #3: If you don’t have time to go somewhere for dinner before the show, the venue also serves food. The menu is limited – snacks and sandwiches – but I’ve eaten there before and the food is good.
Tip #4: As mentioned, Ardmore is in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. There is ample parking in the area. Some of the lots are metered, so be sure to read the signs before parking. There is also parking in the SEPTA lot directly behind the venue. That lot is permit-only during the day, but after 5:00 p.m. the lot is not monitored so you can park there for free. Just don’t leave your car overnight. If you are coming from other areas, you can take SEPTA regional rail. The Ardmore station is just 100 feet away.
Tip #5: The venue has a couple different show arrangements – full general admission, full seated, partial seated, etc. Make sure to understand the seating arrangement for the show you are going to, and buy your tickets accordingly. If you have reserved seating tickets, you get earlier entry into the venue as well.
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Yellow Dubmarine is a reggae Beatles tribute band (yes, you read that right) out of Washington, DC. The band is made up of Robbie Cooper (drums, vocals), Jonathan Drye (percussion), Mario D’Ambrosio (sax), Aaron Glaser (bass, vocals), Matt Hotez (trombone), Luke Schuster (keys, vocals), and Jonathan Sloane (guitar, vocals).
The band pays tribute to some of the greatest Beatles songs of all time, but re-styles them and plays them in a reggae style. Their first album – “Abbey Dub” – is a reggae style interpretation of the Beatles’ iconic “Abbey Road” album. Check it out here: http://amzn.to/2idCWwJ
I will probably get some grief for this, but I am not a very big Beatles fan. So, I was a little apprehensive when I found out Yellow Dubmarine was opening the show. I’m always willing to give a band a chance though, and I was pleasantly surprised by Yellow Dubmarine.
The show was scheduled to start at 8 p.m., but the whole night was clearly on “Jamaica time” and Yellow Dubmarine didn’t take the stage until around 8:15 p.m. Because this is such a small venue and a small stage, the band almost had trouble fitting everyone on stage.
The band played a good mix of songs. Some were classics that everyone knows like “Ticket to Ride” and “Hey Jude”. Others were less familiar to me, although the Beatles fans in the audience clearly knew the songs and were singing along.
The band shared vocal duties between Cooper, Schuster and Sloane, which added some nice variety to the music. Cooper appeared to be the leader of the band, interacting the most with the crowd and introducing a lot of the songs. I really enjoyed Schuster’s vocals on the songs he took the lead on, and he seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. The horn section is a great feature of the band and added a lot to the music.
While I’m still not a Beatles fan, I enjoyed Yellow Dubmarine’s reggae twist to the music. Yellow Dubmarine only has two upcoming tour dates listed on their website. Be sure to check it out at www.yellowdubmarine.com to stay on top of upcoming performances.
The Wailers featuring Aston “Familyman” Barrett, along with original guitarists Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey came to The Ardmore Music Hall Thursday night. During this tour, they are playing the album “Legends” in its entirety. Download the album here: http://amzn.to/2idMIPM
Bob Marley & The Wailers made music from 1973 to 1980. Since 1981, “Familyman” and Junior Marvin have carried out Bob Marley’s request, which was to keep The Wailers together.
Co-founder and drummer from The Wailers, Carlton “Carly” Barrett was murdered in his home in Jamaica in 1987, but his nephew Aston Barrett has taken his place. Joshua David Barrett is on lead vocals. Back-up vocalists include Shema McGregor (daughter of I Three member Judy Mowatt) and Hassanah. Owen “Dreadie” Reid plays guitar and bass. Javaughn Bond is the keyboardist.
I am a frequent traveler to Jamaica. As a result, I have become a huge fan of reggae music. While I love some of the new stuff, I still love the “old school” reggae music the best. The Wailers are legends in the reggae world. If you follow my blog, you know that one of my mantras is “just buy the tickets”. This was one of those shows that I am SO glad I bought the tickets!
The Wailers took the stage around 9:50 p.m. “Familyman” now walks with a cane, but he can still play the bass guitar! They helped him on stage at the start of the show, and he sat down on stage and played the first half of the set.
The Wailers went right into their classic reggae music, starting with “Natural Mystic”, “Rastaman Vibration”, and then one of my favorites – “Buffalo Soldier”.
Lead singer Joshua David Barrett is amazing. He sounds a lot like Bob Marley, and his passion for the music comes through. With Joshua David Barrett and Javaughn Bond being the younger members of the group, they bring a fresh vibe to the classic songs.
I was lucky enough to snag a spot right up front on the side of the stage where Junior Marvin was playing. It was amazing to have the opportunity to stand so close to one of the original members of The Wailers. Junior still has it on guitar, and I loved when he sang lead vocals on a few of the songs as well.
No reggae music is complete without having some powerful female back-up vocals, and The Wailers are no exception. Shema McGregor and Hassanah sang and danced all night.
The Wailers took us through their vast catalog of music and had the crowd dancing the whole night. Playing for about 2 hours until almost midnight, the energy of the band never dropped off. In fact, the last few songs were some of the best, with the band jamming on stage together.
The show wrapped up with “Walk & Talk” as a dedication to Peter Tosh. The Wailers finished strong with “Get Up Stand Up” going right into “Exodus”. It was an amazing night of reggae, and a night I won’t ever forget!
The Wailers are touring throughout North and South America over the next several months. Check out their website at www.thewailers.net.
Have questions about seeing a show at The Ardmore Music Hall? Want to know more about Yellow Dubmarine or The Wailers? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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