Tag Archives: Underground Arts

#HeinekenGreenRoom Ft. Maseo | Become an Insider NOW!!

Become a Heineken Green Room Insider!

Summer is in full swing and the party continues with Heineken Green Room! Please join us for 3 Feet High: A Creative Co-mix of music and art featuring Maseo, the beat-making backbone of the legendary hip-hop group De La Soul, and Tim Diet, international guru of contemporary graffiti.

Plus come dance to sounds from DJs Manuvers and Mr. Sonny James while enjoying refreshments amidst a rare art exhibit, as Heineken Green Room celebrates the best dynamics in urban culture.

Remember, this event is open ONLY to Heineken Green Room members. RSVP to obtain access for this and future events, for you plus a friend by August 17th at 5pm.

You must be 21 or over to enter. RSVP does not guarantee admittance, so arrive early, as entry will be first come first serve.

Become a HGR Insider NOW


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Free Tickets Contest!! Heems (of Das Racist) + The Very Best with STS

two.one.five is giving away 2 FREE tickets to Heems (of Das Racist) + The Very Best with STS at Underground Arts. Winners (chosen randomly) will be notified via email below Tuesday morning June 9th (day of show) by NOON. Submit your first and last name and email by TODAY 6/8 at 11:59pm ET. 

[contact-form to=’aran@215mag.com’ subject=’TICKET CONTEST: Heems (of Das Racist) + The Very Best with STS’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

About the Show:

In The Black Box | Bonfire presents:

The Very Best + Heems
with special guest STS (Sugar Tongue Slim)

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015 8:00 PM EDT Doors
Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA
21 years and over

On stage:

photo credit: The Very Best (Facebook)

The Very Best: (Dance)
It’s been a long, strange trip for Johan Hugo and Esau Mwamwaya, the Swedish-Malawian duo behind The Very Best’s exuberant global pop. One which crosses continents as well as musical genres. It’s also a trip, according to Johan, with no end in sight. “We’re constantly evolving,” he says with a laugh. “Not just in the sense that we’re trying to change our sound. But we’re constantly on a new journey which colours the music we make.”

The pair began that journey back in 2006 in Hackney, east London, where Esau was managing a junk shop. Johan, then half of club duo Radioclit with French DJ Etienne Tron, lived up the road and hearing that Esau had been a successful drummer in Malawi arranged for him to play a percussion session. But after hearing him sing it became clear there was only going to be one way forward for their creative partnership – and that was with Esau’s voice taking the lead.

“For me The Very Best is Esau’s voice,” says Johan. “Everything else is secondary, in a way. So much of his personality comes through in his singing. He’s such a positive person and I always get that feeling when I listen to him sing. It’s what I love about The Very Best and why I’ve always liked working with him so much.”

The first fruit of their collaboration was a 15-track mixtape, Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are The Very Best (2008), swiftly followed by triumphant debut album Warm.

photo credit: Rolling Stone

Heems: (Urban)

Punjabi-American rapper, founder of Greedhead Music, and native NewYorker, Himanshu “Heems” Suri launched his solo career while a member of alternative hip-hop group Das Racist. In 2012 under rap name Heems, he released two solo mixtapes, Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom. After Das Racist split in late 2012, Heems headed to Bombay and began work on his official debut solo effort. The album was released in in 2015 and coincided with an exhibition of the rapper’s artwork at the Aicon Gallery in New York City. Both the LP and the exhibition shared the same title, Eat Pray Thug.

For more info about the show or to buy tickets, click HERE.


Recap: Seinabo Sey Impresses at First US Tour Stop

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“Philly, this is the sweetest thing I’ve ever known,” said Swedish singer/songwriter Seinabo Sey to an intimate and enthusiastic crowd Tuesday night at Underground Arts on Callowhill St.

Draped elegantly in all red, Sey began her set with “Pistols at Dawn” from her 2014 EP, For Madeliene, backed by a 3 piece band with drums, keys and bass guitar. After the second song of the night, Sey humbly introduced herself as “one of the only black girls from a small town around Stockholm,” and thanked the crowd for making her “dream come true.”

Sey paid homage to Philadelphia and an artist she admittedly emulates, in Jill Scott — though it’s apparent Sey’s doing very well in her own right and stylistic approach. While the night progressed, her talent became more and more obvious as the crowd listened in awe of her gifted vocals. Like when they heard a new, unnamed song sung a capella… Or when she dedicated a sincerely soulful song to her biggest inspiration (both musical and personal), her father the late Maudo Sey, who was a famous West African musician.

This marked the beginning of the ascending singer’s For Madeleine tour, which will hit New York City, Washington DC, and Los Angeles among several other upcoming stops. During her 50 minute set, Sey performed hits from her two EP’s, including “Hard Time” and her final song — and most well known hit, “Younger.”

Lucky were those who saw her in such an intimate setting Tuesday night. There’s no doubt, as the features and shows continue to pile up, that Seinabo Sey is destined for many grander stages. Seeing her live will provide many reasons to believe her voice and talent will rise to entertain on that platform as well.

Guest Contribution – Ryan Quint // Photos – Aran Hart 

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::::::: See/Listen/Feel more from Seinabo Sey :::::::
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Grab your tix: Seinabo Sey coming to Philly 5/26

Swedish born singer/songwriter Seinabo Sey will be kicking off the U.S. leg of her For Madeleine tour in Philadelphia on Tuesday May 26th at Underground Arts [tickets here]. This marks Sey’s 2nd headlining tour in the U.S. Sey will be performing songs from her EP, For Madeleine, which was produced entirely by Magus Lidehäll. The debut EP features “Pistols at Dawn,” “Hard Time” and “Younger.”

You’ve probably heard the remix of “Younger” by Norwegian DJ Kygo. Since then, she has also released a second EP, For Maudo, this past March.

Sey’s recent accolades include Best New Artist at the 2015 GRAMMIS, the Swedish equivalent of the Grammy Awards, as well as being named one of “VEVO DSCVR’s One’s to Watch 2015” and “Rolling Stone’s Artists You Need to Know.”

The Supporting Act for the tour, is newly signed R&B group, James Davis. They released their self-titled debut via Hardcover/Motown Records last month to critical acclaim. The familial trio, fraternal twins Jess and Rey and younger brother AusTon hail from Inglewood, CA, and count artists as varied as Curtis Mayfield, Kings of Leon and Nirvana as influences.


Called an “exhilarating, almost unclassifiable group” by Alan Light in Elle, the band “displays, like the music of sibling bands from the Beach Boys to the Jackson 5 to Haim, an unconscious and biological sense of timing and harmony that can come only from growing up in the same household and speaking with the same patterns and rhythms.” With additional praise from The Fader, Rolling Stone and Noisey, it is clear that this trio is a must-see opening act.

Seinabo Sey – “For Madeleine” U.S. Spring Tour

5/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
5/27 – New York, NY @ Marlin Room @ Webster Hall
5/29 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
5/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/31 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
6/2 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
6/5 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
6/6 – Seattle, WA @ SODO Lounge
6/8 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
6/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre

#HeinekenGreenRoom Featuring Maseo !! RSVP NOW

Heineken Green Room Insiders!

Hope you got down with ‘it’ girl Vashtie and the always masterly DJ Spinna at our last Heineken Green Room. We’re set to make the Summer even hotter with your next legendary experience! Please join us for 3 Feet High: A creative Co-mix of music and art featuring Maseo, the beat-making backbone of the legendary hip-hop group De La Soul, and Tim Diet, international guru of contemporary graffiti.

Plus come dance to sounds from DJs Manuvers and Mr. Sonny James while enjoying refreshments amidst a rare art exhibit, as Heineken Green Room celebrates the best dynamics in urban culture.

Event is open ONLY to Heineken Green Room members. Insiders must RSVP for themselves +1 friend by August 17th at 5pm.

RSVP does not guarantee admittance, so arrive early, as entry will be first come first serve. You must be 21 or over to attend.



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Hawk and Dove Swoop Into Philly


Photos by Caroline Edgeton

Over the weekend, Brooklyn-based band Hawk and Dove made a welcomed appearance at Underground Arts. Performing with local acts SunShowers, Ben O’Neil and Friends, and Shark Tape, it was an awesome night of regional talent. The bands that performed were all pretty new to the scene, it seemed. Not that the musicians themselves were new to making music, they’re just involved with projects that are still in the process of starting up and getting recognized, sharpened, settled, etc. In fact, Hawk and Dove, led by singer Elijah Miller and guitarist John Kleber, started getting the ball rolling back in 2009 via releasing an EP. Their current, soon-to-be-released album, This Yesterday Will Never End, actually was fully recorded back in 2011. It won’t officially be out until April 30th.

“We released an EP in 2009 and then recorded our current album that we’re promoting in 2011. The delay in releasing has really had a lot to do with getting all the bureaucratic matters taken care of,” Miller said.

“We’ve really been fine tuning this project. We’ve had a lot of professional musicians play with us who have had other conflicts with other projects and have had to leave,” Kleber said. “We also like to take our time with some songs, but some just come together instantaneously. I think we’re getting closer and closer to where we want to be.”


Their music has been described as “the psychedelic country music that David Bowie never wrote” or “the loudest quiet band you’ve ever heard.” It’s definitely a mix of psychedelic/stoner rock, country, folk, and pop (chamber pop at times). But, honestly, it’s hard to put a label on it. They’re just good. Great, really. One could argue they sound more like an alternative country/psychedelic version of the Decemberists.

Hawk and Dove does a fantastic job of creating complex arrangements that come across in a simple fashion. I say that only because they perform it so effortlessly; what they do is natural to them and it’s mighty pleasant to listen to. There are these great build ups that are played with such intensity and such power you can’t help but feel an electrical charge spark through you. They provide these layers of beautifully driven riffs that are aided through the use of harmonizing vocals (both male and female), tenor guitar, violin, fantastic keyboard playing, and, my favorite part, the Elliot Smith/Colin Meloy sounding vocals of Miller. Well, sounding and lyrically speaking. The lyrics are very much emphasized in the music played. I highly recommend taking a peek at them on their website.


Both guys are fans of more complex musical arrangements and I definitely think that shows. They are music nerds at heart but truly just want to make something beautiful and poignant.

“My top music influences are definitely Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits, especially in terms of feel and energy and lyrically speaking. I also really love Nick Cave and Wilco, some noisier stuff, too,” Miller said.

“I’ll have these kicks where I get really into bands that are doing just this one tiny, little thing that I’m really interested in. I always like to incorporate that into what we’re doing in some way. Karen Dalton is someone who has really impressed both Elijah and I over the past year. We’ve been listening to a lot of Harry Nilsson, too, who is someone I’ve loved for a long time,” Kleber said.

“I really love complex arrangements that are super subtle. Like the way Brian Wilson would arrange things during the Smile record. A lot of Tom Waits arrangements I like, especially with the way Mark Ribot plays guitar. That really influenced me. That sound that the Fleet Foxes has really shaped some of the orchestral leanings that we have on this current record,” he said.


While they’re currently promoting their album and waiting for its official release, they have plenty of other music in the works. They both agree there will be some change in sound and to expect something a little different.

“Some of the stuff we’re working on now is a lot more influenced by some prog rock/droney stuff like Can or Earth, even some surf rock here and there,” Kleber said.

Miller and Kleber began playing music together after a random reunion at a bar in Brooklyn back in 2006. They had known each other from a summer camp they attended in the Berkshires of Massachusetts a handful of years before.


“Elijah told me he was playing music and convinced me to come see him play a few times. I had been playing music for years professionally and non-professionally — whatever that means — but, at that point, wasn’t really playing with anyone. Whenever I’d go see Elijah play he’d play in these really loud, big rooms that were packed with people. When he’d start playing everyone would just shut up for his whole set. I knew there was something there, something that drew me to actually want to play with someone who could alter the way a room would feel,” Kleber said.

The guys plan to be back in the studio after the official release and tour of This Yesterday Will Never End. They hope to bang a record out pretty quickly while also continuing to further explore different sounds and influences.

“We’re just trying to get out there and do something that is really honest to what we think is good music. While that’s a pretty low concept, we don’t have strong opinions about what we sound like. We just need to feel really strong about liking the music we play,” Kleber said.

You’re Out: Ultraísta Comes To Philly’s Underground Arts

Photo by Alex Prager

In support of the release of their self-titled debut album last Fall, Nigel Godrich’s (Radiohead) Ultraísta is on tour, and will be at Philly’s  Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill) on Wednesday, 1/23.

Fronted by newcomer Laura Bettinson, cuts from the band’s first release have since been remixed by the likes of David Lynch and Four Tet.  Check out Prefuse 73’s remix of Ultraísta’s “You’re Out” here.

Prefuse 73 will open.  Tickets for the show can be purchased here.


The Funny Guys of Red Fang: Dudes with Guitars

Photos by Joshua Pelta-Heller with Caroline Edgeton

It’s a rare occurrence finding a metal band that isn’t trying to seem, you know, “metal.” I’m talking all black, leather, spikes, the works. Those guys who stand on stage with long, stringy hair, trying to convince you they’re serious as hell.

Red Fang tries to bring something different to the table: a sense of humor and a don’t-give-much-of-a-shit attitude.

“I think the humorous aspect works for us because none of us are tough guys and nothing feels dumber than standing there in leather and spikes and gauntlets,” lead guitarist and vocalist for Red Fang Bryan Giles said. “There are some bands I like that go in that direction and that’s okay, but, I mean, come on, you’re not a warrior in space with your spikes and what not; you’re a dude playing a guitar.”

The guys played Saturday, Nov. 10, at Underground Arts with their friends Black Tusk. It was definitely a night of heavy music, crowd surfing, drunk people, and head banging. Even some heavy making out. People were really feeling it.

Personally, I’m not a huge metal fan. Red Fang’s music is a little different to me, though — it’s heavy and loud but it’s not screamy, scary, or shocking. As far as a comparison goes, they’re comparable to Big Business but just a bit different. Plus, Red Fang is really freaking funny.

Fans of Red Fang are well acquainted with their hilarious music videos (YouTube party!) — in fact, they were probably introduced to Red Fang through catching one of their videos on Facebook or Reddit. For their song “Wires,” the guys receive a check from their record label for $5,000. The rest of the video is dedicated to them spending all of that money on a cheap car, gallons and gallons of milk, beer, junk food, and more beer. By the end, the guys end up on a run way driving as fast as they can into stacks of milk jugs, a china cabinet, a pyramid of champagne glasses, and other various objects. Joyous explosions ensue. It’s pretty fantastic.

The band attributes a lot of their popularity to the viral spread of their videos.

“Yeah, the videos definitely helped spread the music around. We can’t take credit for the music videos except for drinking beer on cue and being in them,” Giles said. “They’re the ideas of Whitey McConnaughy. He’s just this really great, energetic guy; the videos are kind of like passion projects for him; we can’t really afford to make those type of videos so we’re really lucky we’re his monkeys for his projects.”

“He’s got such a great sense of humor and has a good idea of what our characters should be. And, you know, they’re loosely based on our own personalities.”

You would think that the guys thought this out as smart way to market themselves. When there’s people like myself and most of my friends who spend a fair amount of time every day watching some crazy videos on the Internet, you better believe I hit the “share” button and make sure everyone I know sees something I find amusing.

“It wasn’t a conscious thing, really, that we were going to make funny videos, we just like the ideas that Whitey comes up with. None of us want to project a rock star image, it’s better to be a dork, you know, I can rock that through and through. It’s like, ‘you’re not really a dork,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh yes I am, you wanna talk about Game of Thrones? I’ll do it all day long,'” Giles said.

“In the ’80s (the dark scary look) worked because it was shock rock, you know, Elvis did it, too. It was all about making parents go, ‘What’s all this noise about?’ Bands like Kiss, you know, it was kind of scary or whatever. I think it’s just too late for that; today’s parents have all seen that before. If you’re an old school metal band like Judas Priest you can still pull that off, but if you’re part of this generation you just can’t do that anymore.
“We all know at the end of the day you’re just dudes who sit on your couch and play guitar. These guys who try to pull off this whole boots and smoke image, I know you’re just dude with a guitar.”

Red Fang definitely likes to keep things laid back, but they don’t compromise sound.

“We played in a band for about three years before called Party Time. We were all in separate bands before that dealt with crazy time signatures before and when we formed Party Time it was hard for us to let go of that, so eventually we were just like, ‘let’s stop it with the crazy time signatures and just play some regular music.’ We were tired of playing music only musicians can enjoy. We’re not really into showing off, it’s just fun to be a part of a song.”

“I like to look at it from what made me want to pick up a guitar in the first place; when I think about the songs that still stick with me, you know, they’re all pop songs. They still shred on the guitar, but they’re still playing pop songs.”

Giles has been playing in bands and going on tour for about 24 years. Giles met up with the rest of Red Fang — Aaron Beam (bass/vocals), David Sullivan (guitar), and John Sherman (drums) — in San Francisco. The guys reconnected in Portland, where they’re based now, and started playing some music together.

“We’re pretty unique in that we play different types of songs you may not hear a lot of metal bands play, but I don’t think we’re really trying to do anything different. We’re just playing hard rock music, music we like to play,” he said.

On the Internet, many refer to the guys as a “stoner rock” band.

“I don’t object to (stoner rock label); I don’t care if you say we’re peas and carrots, as long as you like it and you’re in the club rocking. I don’t think we’re stoner rock, but when someone describes us as stoner rock I’m not like letter to the editor or anything. When I think of stoner rock, I’ve always thought that it’s locking in on one blues-based groove and just driving it. You play some different variations on it so if you smoke some weed, you can listen to the different textures of a song where it becomes an exploration.Our songs are more like BAM; our longest song is six minutes long, I think.”

Their last album, Murder the Mountains, was released in 2011. They’ve been in the studio recently and plan to have something out next year.

“After the tour and the holidays are over, we’ll be able to get in there and focus a bit more,” he said.