THE FILLMORE – PHILADELPHIA
The Fillmore is one of my favorite music venues in Philadelphia. The size of the room is perfect. Even if you stand all the way in the back, you are still close enough to have a great view. The acoustics in the room are fantastic. The bathrooms are spacious and clean (always a plus!). Parking near the venue is easy and inexpensive. Plus, the venue is located in the Fishtown neighborhood, which has lots of restaurants and bars to choose from for your pre-show or post-show food and drinks.
The “original” Fillmore opened in San Francisco in 1965. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, that version of the Fillmore was the focal point of the psychedelic music scene. It helped launch the careers of bands like The Grateful Dead, Santana, Led Zeppelin, and The Doors.
The Philadelphia version of The Fillmore opened in the fall of 2015 in a 125-year-old metal building. The AJAX building was converted into a 25,000-square foot facility, that is really three venues in one. The main room holds 2,500 people. It has a large main stage, along with a large bar on each side of the room, a large bar in the back, and a balcony area. The Foundry is located on the second floor of the facility, and holds 450 people. It has a small stage, a large bar, and several comfortable seating areas around the perimeter. Finally, as you enter the facility you will be in what is called Ajax Hall. This is a lounge area where you can get food and drinks before the show. There is usually a DJ playing music before and after shows as well.
Tip #1: As mentioned above, The Fillmore is located in the up and coming Fishtown neighborhood. There are plenty of food options for grabbing a bite before the show. Two of my favorites are Frankford Hall (www.frankfordhall.me), which serves German food and beer, and Fette Sau (www.fettesauphilly.com), which serves barbeque. If you want something a little less pricey and much more down to earth, grab a burger at Johnny Brenda’s (www.johnnybrendas.com). A Philadelphia institution itself, they also have live music regularly. It’s a great place to stop in after a show.
On this particular night, we were invited to a pre-show party at Punchline Comedy Club. The comedy club is located right across the street from The Fillmore in the area known as “the market”.
While the club typically hosts comedy shows, on this night the bar area and outdoor patio was open for people to use prior to the concert. In honor of Trombone Shorty show, the party was set up with a New Orleans theme. There was a free buffet with jambalaya and bite size catfish sandwiches, which were both very good. They also had free drink samples available which were their take on a hurricane. While it was clearly being done to promote the comedy club and bring people into the venue, it was a nice bonus to have some free food and drinks available to us before the show.
Tip #2: Parking near The Fillmore is easy. There are two lots located near the venue. The cost to park is typically $10. If your timing is good and you don’t mind walking a little further, you can typically find parking on Frankford Avenue or the surrounding neighborhood streets. Most of it is free, but be sure to read the signs to make sure you aren’t parked illegally. Also, be aware that the trolley comes down Frankford Avenue. I’ve seen people that haven’t parked close enough to the curb, and the trolley can’t get through. They will have your car towed if you are blocking the trolley route.
Tip #3: Because the venue is so small, there really isn’t a bad spot in the room. I usually hang out in the back next to the sound board. That keeps me out of the crowd. From there, I also have good access to the bar and to the bathrooms.
Now that you know about the venue, here’s my review of the show that I saw Monday night.
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Vintage Trouble is a rhythm & blues band that was formed in Hollywood, CA in 2010. The band is made up of Ty Taylor (lead vocals), Nalle Colt (guitars, backing vocals), Rick Barrio Dill (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Richard Danielson (drums, percussion, backing vocals).
The band got its start with Taylor and Colt setting up a home studio. They soon recruited Dill and Danielson, and began playing local area shows and late night speakeasies. Their first album – “The Bomb Shelter Sessions” – was released in 2011.
The band took a different approach when they were looking to spring board their career. They decided to take the band on the road to Europe and gain popularity there first, before coming back to the U.S. In Europe, they were able to play some shows with Brian May (guitarist of Queen) and Bon Jovi.
By 2012, they were ready to return to the U.S. They opened for The Who on their North American tour, and followed them back to Europe as well. They’ve continued to support various artists throughout the U.S. and Europe, including Dave Matthews Band and AC/DC. The band’s most recent album – “1 Hopeful Rd” – was released in 2015. Download the album here: http://amzn.to/2gSsZs4
Vintage Trouble took the stage at 7:31 p.m. Taylor was decked out in a blue and red plaid suit, and Dill reminded us a bit of David Bowie. They hit the stage running. Their set was super high energy, and they have the musical talent to go with it.
Prior to starting the second song, Taylor asked the crowd to dance with a little rock to the right and the left, which complemented the R&B beat of the song.
When introducing their third song – “Nobody Told Me” – Taylor asked how many people in the crowd knew someone who was not currently “their whole selves”. He said that this song was dedicated to all of our friends out there who found themselves in that place.
Taylor also talked a lot about how dance music doesn’t come from computers. He talked about how the music from the past was what inspired different types of dance, and encouraged the crowd to dance to it.
Taylor himself danced throughout the entire set. He went out into the crowd several times, and even crowd surfed at one point.
The band wrapped up their set at 8:15 p.m. Rather than going off the side of the stage like most bands would, they all exited off the front of the stage into the crowd. They made their way straight out to the front lobby, where they hung out at the merchandise stand and took pictures and signed autographs.
Vintage Trouble is supporting Trombone Shorty & Orleans Adventure throughout the month of October. Check out their website at www.vintagetrouble.com for more information.
TROMBONE SHORTY & ORLEANS AVENUE
Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is the bandleader and front man of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Andrews was born in New Orleans, and raised in the Tremé neighborhood. He made his first appearance onstage at age 4, when he played with Bo Diddley at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Andrews is primarily a trombone and trumpet player, but he also plays the drums, the organ, and the tuba. He started touring with his own band – Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue – in 2009.
Andrews’ musical resumé is impressive. He’s played with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, U2, Green Day, Dave Matthews Band and the Foo Fighters. Andrews has also appeared on numerous television shows and movies. He’s recorded 11 albums as a band leader, and collaborated or performed on dozens of others.
In 2011, Andrews was nominated for a Grammy award for his album “Backatown”. His most recent album – “Parking Lot Symphony” – was released in April of this year. The album contains 12 diverse tracks that reflect the array of cowriters and players on the album, including members of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Meters, Better Than Ezra and Dumpstaphunk. Download the album here: http://amzn.to/2ieIYNB
In addition to performing and recording music, Andrews is passionate about passing down his musical knowledge and keeping the New Orleans brass band tradition alive. He has his own foundation – the Trombone Shorty Foundation and Music Academy – which evolved from Andrews’ Horns for Schools project. That project helped schools across New Orleans have access to high quality instruments that were donated by Andrews personally. Since 2014, Andrews has worked as a “Turnaround Artist” with the Turnaround Arts Initiative. That initiative is a program that helps low-performing schools improve through intensive arts programs.
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue took the stage at 8:45 p.m. The show was a dance party from beginning to end. If you’ve never seen these guys live, be prepared for high energy!
Andrews is an amazing musician, and he’s gathered a group of equally amazing musicians who are dedicated to preserving a type of music that is so important to the music world. The great thing about their music, is that they incorporate their big band sound with popular music as well. They incorporated both Sugar Hill Gang’s “Jump On It” and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away” into more traditional jazz songs. There was also a whole section of music from James Brown, which also featured Andrews incorporating some of Brown’s signature dance moves.
I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by the baritone sax player. He looked like a chemistry teacher, but not only was he an amazing sax player, he could dance with the whole group as well.
While the show was definitely a big dance party, above all else, these guys are amazing musicians. Andrews not only played the trombone and trumpet, he also played the tambourine and the drums at different points of the show. His skills and lung power are incredible.
The main set wrapped up at 10:11 p.m. After a very short encore break, the band came back out with a 10 minute, high energy encore. The encore not only included parts of “When the Saints Go Marching In”, but featured the band tossing out t-shirts and beads. It truly was a Mardi Gras experience!
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue are on an extensive fall headline tour in support of “Parking Lot Symphony. The tour started September 14th, and continues through January across the U.S., as well as several dates in Europe. For more information on the band and for upcoming tour dates, check out the band’s website at www.tromboneshorty.com.
Have questions about seeing a show at The Fillmore? Want to know more about Vintage Trouble or Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue? Comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.
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