On Stage: Holiday weekend brings light music schedule

Adam Bricks brings tour to Philly, Friday

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

adam bricks

Adam Bricks kicks off the holiday weekend with a show at Ortlieb’s in Philadelphia.

When Memorial Day Weekend arrives in the area, the entertainment schedule seems to lighten up a bit.

If acts are familiar with the pattern of many of the Delaware Valley’s residents, they know there are better weekends to book a show in Philly.

It all has to do with it being the first weekend of the summer season — a weekend when so many of the area’s residents head to the mountains or the shore. (I’d compare this exodus to the story of lemmings rushing to the sea but that’s just an urban myth. The cute little rodents are not suicidal at all.)

On May 27, Adam Bricks will welcome the holiday weekend with a show at Ortlieb’s (847 North Third Street, Philadelphia, 267- 324-3348, www.ticketfly.com).

Bricks is a folksinger- songwriter from Texas who just released his sophomore album “Relations” on May 6, 2016. To celebrate the release, Bricks is out on a national tour that kicked off on May 14 at Cheer Up Charlie’s in Austin, Texas.

His first recording was “Clock Crash EP” in 2011 followed by a single called “Kristmas” that came out in November 2012 and then his debut album “City Songs” in April 2013.

“I’ve been working on the new album for about two years,” said Bricks, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon as he travelled through Alabama on his way to a tour stop in Atlanta.

The tour wraps up this weekend with shows in Philly and Brooklyn.

According to Bricks, “‘Relations’ is a more personal record than ‘City Songs.’ It deals with relationships with people — he bad, the sad and the wild.

“I wrote it while living in an old house in East Houston. I recorded it with my friend James Westley Essary of The Caldwell at his house. The record is rock/country/folk trying to cram all the stuff around us into 11 songs.”

The album features the insightful songwriter at his most personal with topics such as love, hate, sex, sadness and longing.

“I started with songs in a house studio — Hazard Studio,” said Bricks, who is a native of Houston, Texas. “Some of the songs I had been writing since I was 19 but most were written more recently when I was in East Houston.”

“Relations” is a record about relations between lovers, friends, and people in general. There are darker songs like “Sad Song” and lighter ones like “Something Real.”

“Most of the songs are autobiographical,” said Bricks. “I think I did more observational songs on ‘City Songs.’ This was more my own living experience. A big part of it was from living in one place for awhile.

“I had moved back to Houston and decided to make it my home for a few years. When you’re traveling from place to place, you don’t dig into matters much. When you’re living in one place, you get more involved — in as lot of different ways,

“The songs on the new album are about a lot of love stuff — a lot of relationships — more on the dissatisfaction side. And, they’re about trying to work and make a living. That totally made it a more full album — and darker.

“The ‘Relations’ album is more developed — sound and lyrics. It’s a little more mature and deeper into subjects. ‘City Songs,’ on the other hand, was glossing over and generalizing.”

The show Friday night will mark Bricks’ Philadelphia debut.

“Right now, I’ve been doing solo shows on this tour — just me and my guitar,” said Bricks. “The shows in Philadelphia and New York will be with a full band. It’s important to have a full band — but it’s expensive to tour with a band. The guys who play in my band are all from Houston.”

Video link for Adam Bricks —https://youtu.be/R6l-kN7wNXc.

The show at Ortlieb’s, which also features Travis J and the Rhonestones, and Los Calzones, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Other upcoming shows at Ortlieb’s are The Cats, Itasca, David Nance Band on May 28, and an Air Is Human residency from May 30-June 2.

psychic teens 3Psychic Teens just released their new album “Nerve” and headed out on tour in support of the new disc.

The month-long tour started in Philadelphia — the band’s hometown — on May 1 at the Foundry. It will conclude on May 28 in Philadelphia with a “Album Release Show” at Johnny Brenda’s (1201 North Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-739-9684,


Psychic Teens — drummer Dave Cherasaro, guitaris/vocalist Larry Ragone and bassist Joe Decarolis — formed in 2010 and quickly released their full-length debut “Teen” followed by a split CD-R of cover songs with Hulk Smash and a digital EP of Misfits cover songs.

“We started playing together six years ago,” said Cherasaro, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “We’ve known each other for a long time. We had been in bands with each other but never the three of us together. So, we decided to just play with the three of us.

“We’re all from South Jersey. We met each other after high school when we were playing house shows in the South Jersey punk-hardcore scene. We recorded our first album not long after we started. We were only together for about six months before we went into the studio.

“That first album was a happy accident. It was supposed to be a demo. A friend of ours heard it and wanted to put it out as an album. We had actually been looking at splitting the songs up — some as seven-inch singles and some as digital releases.”

That’s not how things worked out.

“We put all the songs together and it worked as an album,” said Cherasaro. “It wasn’t planned. It was after the fact. Then, we did another full-length called ‘Come’ in 2013 and a seven-inch in 2014.”

After releasing the single “Face” on Reptilian Records in 2014, the Psychic Teens went out on a short string of tour dates which allowed them to put the finishing touches on this new batch of songs in a live setting. The band then settled in at Gradwell House studio in early 2015 with Steve Poponi (Fight Amp, Into It. Over It.) to record what would evolve into “Nerve.”

“We didn’t sit down and specifically write songs for the new album,” said Cherasaro. “We just constantly write. We really enjoy playing together and writing songs together. We began writing the songs on ‘Nerve’ in late 2013. We took two of those songs out as singles.

“There was also a break when we did a live score for the film ‘The Shining.’ We performed it at a live show at Philamoca with the film projected behind us. It was nice having a little distraction from writing our songs — nice doing a fun project.

“’Nerve’ slowly happened. We amassed a collection of songs. It kind of came together through normal course of events. We went to the studio and recorded all the songs but we weren’t sure what we’d use.

“Once we started getting the mixing done, it took shape. There was this huge jump from three guys making basement songs to actually having more polished versions. During the mixing stage, we realized how cohesive the songs were.”

The Psychic Teens built a reputation for making music featuring a powerful and driving rhythm section creating the base and tether for screeching, noisy guitars and a talking / singing style in the Jim Morrison/ Iggy Pop vein.

The band’s DNA is evident on “Nerve” but there is also much more going on.

Lyrically, the album centers on isolationism and anger towards one’s inability to exist among and relate to other people. With more focused songwriting and nuanced arrangements, the band expanded on the atmospheric and colossal guitar driven attack it is known for.

“Nerve” was mastered by James Plotkin (Mondo, Horseback) and features a stunning gatefold sleeve with original artwork from French illustrator Amandine Urruty.

“This album is a bit moodier — less abrasive,” said Cherasaro. “We have a propensity for tons of guitars. We’re known for this huge guitar sound but we dialed that back a little.”

Video link for the Psychic Teens — https://youtu.be/qQ-boICQ8tI

The show at Johnny Brenda’s, which also features Vivatape and, Mt. Billions, will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Other shows at Johnny Brenda’s are Upholstery, Ill Doots, Impressionist, and Moor Mother on May 26, JMSN and Tiffany Gouché on May 27 and Braids and Ginla on June 1.

the machine

The Machine

The Machine — Joe Pascarell (lead guitar, vocals), Scott Chasolen (keyboards, vocals), Ryan Ball (bass, vocals), Tahrah Cohen (drums) — is a Pink Floyd tribute band that has been performing the music of the British classic rock act for more than 20 years.

Shows by The Machine are big, impressive productions that bring the awesome power of Pink Floyd’s music back to life.

The show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) on May 28 will keep the tradition intact — but in a different and special way. The concert will be an acoustic show.

“Less than 10 per cent of our shows each year are acoustic,” said Pascarell, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “We do a lot of shows every year but the acoustic shows are really special.

“There are some songs we do in the unplugged shows that we rarely do in the full stage shows — especially some of the early songs from Pink Floyd’s years when Syd Barrett was in the band.”

Over the course of its decades-plus history, The Machine has developed a repertoire that covers Pink Floyd’s entire career — from 1967’s “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” to the “new” Pink Floyd album “The Endless River,” which was just released last year.

“For the most part, it’s the same group of songs people want to hear,” said Pascarell. “They don’t want to hear something new and we honor that. We play songs like ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ ‘Comfortably Numb’ and a number of songs from ‘The Wall.’ Some songs are always there — songs that you hear on the radio a lot.

“It’s always fun to play theme. There are times we can leave them out — but not often. Those are times when we do special concerts throughout the year. We do things like symphonies and, from time to time, we do acoustic shows.”

Pascarell is a founding member of the band — and the newest member to join the line-up.

“I had a leave of absence,” said Pascarell. “I turned 50 and sort of re-evaluated my life — what I wanted to do. I had been in The Machine for 30 years. I wanted to find out more about me.

“The first year was fun. Then, I realized how important The Machine was to me.  A little while ago, the guy who replaced me left and the band asked me to re-join. The biggest difference is how I feel. The band means something different to me.

“I came back in September. Now, I’m fully comfortable again. I’m getting to dig in. I’m getting the chops back — the ability to pry the music open.”

Video link for The Machine — https://youtu.be/Px3jQYWS5CA.

The show at Sellersville will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $33 and $45.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Brother Joscephus & The Love Revolution and Hannah Gill & The Hours on May 27, Splintered Sunlight (Grateful Dead Tribute) on May 29, Danielle Nicole and The Buicks on May 31, and Chris Duarte Group and Sister Blue on June 1.


Christopher Paul Stelling

Christopher Paul Stelling, who will play a show on May 29 at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com), is like a troubadour from the Middle Ages or a griot from West Africa.

He is a singer-songwriter whose songs tell stories. He spends most of his time travelling from town to town performing his story-songs.

Stelling accompanies the songs with music from a stringed instrument. Instead of a kora (which is used in West Africa) or a vielle (a European bowed stringed instrument used in the Medieval period), he uses a guitar.

Stelling grew up in Florida but says he left at an early age, searching for an identity, living for stints in Colorado, Boston, Seattle and North Carolina before settling in New York City. 

During those years, he worked in a used book store soaking up the great works, and for a time, played guitar for ten hours a day, eventually perfecting a melodic finger-picking style influenced in large part by blues legends such as Skip James and Mississippi John, masters like John Fahey, and banjo greats Dock Boggs and Roscoe Holcomb.

Stelling is not alone in taking the stage with just an old guitar and the stomp of his foot. What sets him apart is an imagination that is completely his own, yielding stories that feel like parables that you slowly realize have never before been told.

His imagination also lives in his fingertips as he traverses from country blues to flamenco to claw hammer banjo all on his trusted “Brownie,” an old nylon string guitar that’s been traveling the globe with him for years.

Stelling is now touring in support of his new album “Labor Against Waster,” which was recently released on Anti-records. His previous two albums were “False Cities” and “Songs of Praise and Scorn.”

“I put out ‘False Cities’ in June 2013,” said Stelling, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from a tour stop in Atlanta. “I toured pretty extensively for a year. It was on that record that I caught on playing in Europe. I went back-and-forth to Europe several times.

“I finished recording ‘Labor Against Waste’ by October 2014 but, because of the label’s schedule, it had to wait awhile for its release. I started writing songs for it the day after I finished making my last record. I’m always thinking about songs. But, I don’t schedule songs — I let them happen. I was in and out of the studio over a course of six months. I’d go in and do a session between tours.”

In the period between the release of “False Cities” and “Labor Against Waste,” Stelling had played over 400 shows at home and abroad in a three-year period.

“I’m on the road a lot — club dates, festivals, you name it,” said Stelling. “I work with an agent and I’m very involved in every aspect of my career.

‘Right now, I’ve been out for a year without coming home. It started on the third of June 2015 and it will end on the third of June 2016. The longest breaks in the tour have been four days.”

Video link for Christopher Paul Stelling — https://youtu.be/Sn9aOq9aJ3w.

The show at the World Café Live, which has Driftwood Soldier as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Other upcoming shows at the World Café Live Upstairs Stage are The Black Atlas with Mock Suns on May 26, Ode To Omni presents Matters of The Heart on May 27, David Ford with Joseph Alton Miller on May 28, Grant Calvin Weston/Phoenix Orchestra on May 31 and Matt Roach and Lisa Chosed on June 1.

Shows at the World Café Live Downstairs Stage are Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Cornmeal on Thursday, May 26, Gad Elmaleh and Harrison Greenbaum on May 27, Radical Face and The Little Books on May 28, the HYPE! On May 29, and Christine and the Queens on June 1.

Old Ezra

Old Ezra

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Open Jam with Davey Dickens & The Troubadours on May 26, Chet Lawrence, Andy Wolfe, dain, and Greg McCarthy on May 27, and The Subterraneans, Old Ezra, Area 302 and Felizzi & McKinnon on May 28.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host Big Empty and Raymond & Steve of ROFO Audio on May 27, and Gina Castanzo, Julie Danese, and Natalie Bermudez on May 28.

splintered sunlight at ardmoreThe Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Splintered Sunlight (Grateful Dead Tribute) and Hayley Jane and the Primates on May 27 and Glen David Andrews, Stoop Kids, and Juli Davidson & Jasserie on May 28.

Doc Watson’s Public House (150 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, 610-524-2424, docwatsonspublichouse.com) will present 4 Base on May 27.


   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.