Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Heyyo, Check Out This Article

I've focused some energy lately on bringing local bands out into the The Reporter's spotlight. 

Yesterday's paper featured my first article in the series: an interview with up and coming hip-hop, pop duo, Heyyo, featuring Matt Fell and Dan Gevirtz. Heyyo burst onto the scene with their rendition of Ellie Goulding's "Anything Could Happen," which racked up over 17,000 views in its first few days on Youtube.

For the full story on the band that's been the talk of town lately, check out my article on

Enjoy, and remember you can follow me on Twitter at @AW_Reporter! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Global Citizen

Last September, I had the privilege of attending the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, featuring Neil Young, The Black Keys, the Foo Fighters, the Band of Horses, K'naan, and many other musical and celebrity appearances.

Before my friend won free tickets to the event, I had never heard of the Global Citizen Festival. I was curious as to how he managed to win tickets to such an amazing concert, but to be honest, I was at first too ecstatic about the prospect of seeing the rock legend Neil Young to investigate the festival further. What I came to learn, however, is that while the performances may have been great, there is meaning behind the festival far beyond the music. 

In between the musical guests, speakers would present information about the extreme poverty that continues to plague our world -- educating the audience on steps that we can taken to end it. I remember feeling a bit ashamed of the audience at times, because some viewers only gave half of their attention to the presentations, while they devoted it fully to the musicians. The Global Citizen Festival has the potential to raise awareness of social issues in the same way that Live 8 did back in 2005, but it must succeed in reminding the audience of the bigger purpose of the entertainment and inspire them to carry that message to others after the concert ends. 

I took a trip up to New York City on Sunday, and I passed a poster for the second annual Global Citizen Festival to take place on Saturday, September 28 in Central Park, with headliners Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Alicia Keys, and John Mayer. This time around, I decided to do some more research ahead of time, and find out what being a Global Citizen means, and how it helps solve the world's most troubling problems. 

The Global Citizen organization, according to their website, is "a learning and action tool designed to help you become a more effective for change." Through their app and their website, Global Citizen strives to educate our society on extreme poverty and works to motivate individuals to spread understanding, make changes, think globally, and develop a lasting sense of commitment to helping better this ever-connected world in which we live. 

To win tickets to the Global Citizen Festival, members of can earn points by getting involved  in the cause through such activities as watching videos, signing positions, and contacting local representatives. 
Although the festival may have struggled a bit in getting its message across to the tens of thousands of attendees during its inaugural year, I truly hope to see Global Citizen grow and expand its influence in the future, as I believe its tactics, principals, and goals have the potential for real change.

Regardless of whether or not I make it to this year's festival, I can now call myself a proud Global Citizen, and I truly encourage everyone to check out their website and their cause.

Global Citizen Festival: Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Central Park

View of the crowd

Katie Couric opening the festival

K'naan performed an incredible version of "Wavin Flag," the Official Theme Song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses

John Legend made a surprise appearance, singing a moving rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine"

Olivia Wilde took a stand against poverty

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys

NYC skyline over the crowd

An image captured during one of the informational videos

The Foo Fighters performed on stage as a band for potentially the last time 

And needless to say, the Foo Fighters put on an amazing show

The man, the myth, the legend: Neil Young 

The festival closing with an epic collaboration involving all of the artists present

All photos by Alison Wallach

Friday, July 19, 2013


Rather than post a list of the upcoming concerts in the Philadelphia region, I thought I'd live up to my promise and share with you some of the free events happening in the area instead!

Saturday, July 20:
Free Screening of "Ghostbusters" at Parx Casino
Appreciate the complete, but abridged works of William Shakespeare -- As a literature buff, this event sounds right up my alley, and better yet, they'll be at Whites Road Park in Lansdale on the 25!
Jam out at Tavola Restaurant and Bar in Springfield -- Bands perform regularly here, so check it out!
Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Fest -- Wishing I was down the shore this weekend to enjoy this.

Sunday, July 21:
The Large Flowerheads at Quakertown Memorial Park -- Never pass up a free concert if the opportunity presents itself!
Merion Concert Band at Souderton Community Park -- Part of the Concert Sundaes series. Music and ice cream: is there any better combination?

Monday, July 22:
Free Screening of "UHF" at the Trocadero Theater

Wednesday, July 24:
Christopher Dean Band at Chapman Park

Thursday, July 25:
Free Screening of the "Princess Bride" in Vernon Park -- One of my favorite movies!
Midnight in Paris at Schuylkill Banks -- Another amazing movie. This just sounds beautiful all around.
Hector Rosado Latin Band at Lanning Square Park

This is just a glimpse of some free events -- there are a lot more out there! I'm so excited about all of these possibilities. There's nothing better than saving money and having fun, AT THE SAME TIME! Check out more free events coming up:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Block Partying

For the past several years of Radio 104.5's Summer Block Party Series, I've wanted to go to every show. And until this Saturday, I had yet to go to any.

I've always tried to take advantage of free concerts, and I'm ashamed to say that my attempts have largely failed. All too often, I've thrown in the towel on finding free concerts, and settled instead for lightening my wallet with the cost of overpriced tickets. It wasn't until I sat down and really thought about all the money I've spent on all those concerts over the years, that I realized how much money I've really spent on all those concerts over the years. Truly an astounding realization, right?

So here's my new vow: From here on out, I will do my best to find free and affordable concerts in our area and share them with you, so that together, we can succeed in satisfying our musical needs without breaking the bank. 

From May through September, Radio 104.5 hosts free concerts at the Piazza at Schmidt's in Northern Liberties on one Saturday afternoon out of each month. As fate would have it, something or someone would pop up and prevent me from going at the last minute. This past Saturday, I was determined to let nothing stand in my way from making to the show, which featured Bad Books, Capital Cities, and Cold War Kids. 

Of course, Saturday rolled around, and hurdles starting springing up on my straight and narrow path to the concert. 

I am a fan of planning. I apologize in advance for my lack of spontaneity, but I prefer to know what will go on and when and why and how and with whom. However, my planning for this concert was just not happening.

Long story short, a "plan" to be there at 3 pm for the 3:45 pm start of the show, became the reality of arriving at around 5 pm. We missed Bad Books' performance completely, but that wasn't going to stop me from enjoying the rest of the show. Not to mention, for one of my accompanying friends, this would be her first concert, so we had to make the most of it!

From what I saw of Capital Cities, they were incredible. They engaged a hot and crowded audience with enthusiasm, jumping all over the stage. I particularly loved their use of trumpet, which adds a uniqueness to their sound unheard of with most other indie pop bands. Singing along to their rendition of the Bee Gee's "Stayin' Alive" proved to be a highlight of the concert. 

After Capital Cities came the rain, which I welcomed as a cool break from the heat... Until it started coming down a bit harder and at unpredictable times. The rain staved off Cold War Kids' set, as they had to play on a completely uncovered stage. Although the crowd became uneasy at times, we all remained entertained by the onlookers who threw water balloons from the balconies of the apartment buildings that surround the open-air plaza. 

At around 7 pm, the scheduled ending time for the Block Party, the Cold War Kids finally came out on stage, bringing musical relief to the relatively patient crowd. Even though the crowd surfers became an annoyance and a distraction, I must admit that as soon as the band came out, visions of my body crowd surfing my way closer to the front danced like sugar plums in my head. 

Unfortunately, a friend of mine began to feel faint, leading to our immediate departure towards the back of the crowd only one song into Cold War Kids' set. (Radio 104.5, if you're reading this, have more food and drink vendors available so we can keep people hydrated and full!) 
But it all ended up okay, because she's okay, and because we got to hear Cold War Kids' hit "Miracle Mile" from a comfortable spot on the pavement. Plus, we beat the rush to some delicious pizza down the street at Rustica. (For thin, crispy crust lovers, I highly recommend this place:

Driving home that night, we made about five wrong turns, of course -- it was only fitting. I couldn't have planned for anything that happened that day, which made me realize how futile my little play books become. Sometimes life gets in the way of your plans, and sometimes that makes for the best adventures. 

Here's some more information about the Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party series. I hope to see you there next time!
Here's a few upcoming free concerts and events in Philadelphia, as promised:

An excited crowd for Capital Cities 

A massive crowd at The Piazza at Schmidt's

The enemy stood on their fortress, pummeling us with water balloons  

Cold War Kids arrive with the return of the sun

I just love this city.

All photos by Alison Wallach

Friday, July 12, 2013

Regional Concerts for the Weekend of July 12

Here's a collection of some of the top concerts at the best regional venues for the weekend of Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14:

Tonight, Friday, July 12:

  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark with Diamond Rings at Union Transfer
  • Los Lonely Boys at The Music Box, Borgata Hotel & Casino
  • JD McPherson with John the Conqueror at the World Cafe Live (Downstairs)
  • Jadakiss with Gillie Da Kid at the Theater of the Living Arts
  • Vans Warped Tour 2013 at the Susquehanna Bank Center -- I've only heard great things of Warped Tour, more information about the tour:
Saturday, July 13 (An great day for concert-goers in Philadelphia):
  • Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party: FREE concert with Cold War Kids, Bad Books, and Capital Cities at the Piazza at Schmidt's -- I'll be there, and I'm PUMPED! Click this link for more information:
  • Kansas at the Tropicana Casino
  • Wire with Bear in Heaven at Union Transfer
  • The Specials with Little Hurricane at the Theater of the Living Arts
  • Furthur Festival 2013: Phil Lesh with Bob Weir and Furthur at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts -- Wear your finest tie dye for this one
  • Mac Miller with Meek Mill, Chance the Rapper, Vince Staples, and the Internet at the Festival Pier at Penn's Landing -- This will probably be a lot of fun
  • Dash Berlin with Haven Nightclub at Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino
  • Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at the Susquehanna Bank Center, Rob Thomas Headlines -- more information:
  • Wire with Bear in Heaven at Union Transfer
Sunday, July 14: 
  • A Flock of Seagulls at the Trocadero Theater 
  • Savages with Johnny Hostile at Union Transfer

All information on the above concerts is from Visit their website for a more detailed listing of regional concerts. 

Happy concerting; thanks for reading!

Follow me at @AW_Reporter. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Firefly Updates

At the Firefly Music Festival, Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, joined the Avett Brothers on stage for part of their performance. The following link will bring you to a conversation between Chad Smith and Scott and Seth Avett, which can found on the Avett Brothers' Facebook page. I always find it interesting to listen to discussions between talented people, because it both humanizes them and gives glimpse into the way their minds work. Check it out:

The following link will take you an album with professional pictures of the artists at Firefly, located on the festival's official Facebook page:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Favorite Seaside Songs

Having just returned from a vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, I decided to spend some time revamping my summer playlist, a collection of songs that serve as the perfect accompaniment to that spot on the sand with a cold drink in your hand.

Here's a list of some of my all-time favorite summer songs, each of them having the power to bring back memories of that blissful sea breeze, no matter how far from the shore you may be. Click each of the song titles for a link to the best Youtube videos of the songs I could find!

-  "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong My favorite version of this classic song. The slow, easy, warm voice of Ella Fitzgerald melts right into your soul, and Louis Armstrong's raspy sound is like the glue that keeps it lingering there long after the song has ended.

"Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley Bob Marley is the Champion of Chill. What better way to settle into the sand than listening to the smooth, reggae sounds that implore you not to "worry about a thing"?

"OB-LA-DI OB-LA-DA" by The Beatles In sticking with the message of carefree summer days, I consider this song to be one of the happiest ever written

"Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I've gone down to the Jersey Shore during every summer for as long as I can remember, and as a New Jersey native, Springsteen can bring those fleeting, summer nights of your youth to life.

"California Girls" by The Beach Boys You can't have a summer playlist without The Beach Boys -- it's just unnatural. Forget Katy Perry's "California Gurls;" it's all about the original. (Watch this video for a good laugh)

"Strawberry Swing" by Coldplay Everything about this song and music video make me smile.

"Groovin'" by The Rascals, formerly known as The Young Rascals I picture myself sitting in the shade with an ice cream cone in hand for this one.

"Cabin By the Sea" by The Dirty Heads If anyone were to ask my idea of a perfect vacation, I think I'd play them this song.

"Ooh La La" by The Faces Summer just seems synonymous with being young and the mistakes we make because we're young.

"5 Years Time" by Noah and the Whale It's the combination of whistling and ukulele playing that make this the perfect summer song.

"Home" by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros During their performance at the Firefly Music Festival, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros asked the audience to fill the spoken verse of the song with their own stories, so write your own summer romance to the tune of this song.

"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin ... Or, if you prefer a more traditional love song, imagine yourself making eye contact with your summer love as this song plays in the background.

"Daylight" by Matt and Kim This is my favorite song to play on the way to beach, with the windows rolled down so your cares can fly through them.

"Gobbledigook" by Sigur Rós You don't have to speak Icelandic to feel the pure joy that emanates from this song. To me, it's an ode to finding that completely carefree zone in which everything is beautiful.

"Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding Arguably one of the greatest songs ever recorded. I'm not sure we'll ever be graced with a soul singer as tremendous as Otis Redding.

"Dancing in the Moonlight" by King Harvest There's no better way to end your day at the beach (or your day at the office) than by dancing barefoot in the grass to this song.

Have some fun putting together your own summertime playlist and make every day a beach day!

Below are some snapshots I took in Ocean City, MD. Enjoy!