Teens celebrate nonviolence with music

Security guards waited patiently outside Delaware Live in Price’s Corner to pat kids down and check ID before they made it to Friday night’s affordable alternative to unhealthy decisions.

Curated by Wilmington-native MC Blu Chip, 38, the show, featuring several local hip hop artists, was meant to inspire kids to have fun in a safe, healthy way.

“I’m older, so I’m trying to show them this is how you get ahead,” MC Blu Chip said. “I feel good about this energy, this peaceful energy…. It’s good to have everyone supporting each other.”

Teens lined the building while they waited for local artists Kur, Jet Phynx, 43rd Spanx and Lil Torin to take the mic. Family and friends of the musicians gathered to enjoy a fun show that supports a cause they can relate to.

“It’s right on time. It’s all over the land, it’s time for a community to come together for the youth,” David Corston, Blu Chip’s father, said. “With proper guidance, they can learn something out of the violence.”

While some gathered to see their favorite artists, especially the headliner, up-and-coming Kur, others came out to support each other in the movement against violence in their community.

“It’s a positive message to many,” performer Tareek Havik, 17, said. “Too many are dropping like flies, so it’s nice to have a positive moment.”

MC Blu Chip partnered with Jet Phynx to start Solid Collective. The two worked to market the event on social media, especially Instagram, to draw a younger crowd and make it clear that solving violence in their own community starts with them making healthy choices.

The target age of the audience was 13 to 17, but MC Blu Chip was quick to ensure people of all ages were invited to the $10 show.

“I just wanted to get out,” Marcasia Williams, 16, said. “This is my first concert.”

Williams was joined by her 14-year-old sister, Ta’Nasia Williams.

“My parents were like, ‘That would be good if you went to something nonviolent,’” Ta’Nasia said. The sisters giggled together over how excited they were to see one of their favorite artists, Kur.

Instead of kids flocking to drab and dangerous parties, MC Blu Chip hoped to give people a fun – and safe – place to be Friday night.

Yonnie Mcfly, 28, came out to support Jet Phynx, and she was not the only young adult in the mix of teens. People of all ages made their way in to be a part of the scene.

“I think [the violence] is terrible,” Mcfly said. “If people would concern themselves with fellow human beings, they’d see that everyone has the same problems.”

Solid Collective’s show was the first of many, MC Blu Chip said. The brand, centered around music with the message of non-violence, is meant to promote positive decisions while staying relevant to what kids really enjoy.

Contact Greta Iverson at (302) 324-2771, giverson@delawareonline.com or on Twitter @greta_wade.

Originally published on DelawareOnline.com

Neutral Milk Hotel @ Union Transfer

Faithful followers and comrades rejoice, for your leader and god among men has christened this unholy land with a renewal of ironic beards. He has brought forth to us the sight of good will sweaters and the heavenly scent of stale Pabst. Behold, all, for Jeff Mangum was in Philadelphia.

Neutral Milk Hotel’s 2013-14 reunion tour is based on best selling hipster-anthem-album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Union Transfer was the ultimate opportunity to shoulder dance with small steps in one place to familiar songs with no other visual stimulation: No decorations besides a night-light shaped like a lamb in the background, but if you had more than one beer, you likely didn’t see it. Hopefully the lamb will be on the road with them for the next eight months as they travel the world touring with a 15-year-old album.

The group maintains its indie-cred since it’s still just unknown enough, or so we think, to be a big deal. In reality, even since the band broke up pre-y2k, most of the shrill fans were wrinkle free – both their shirts and their faces. Not many venue-approved bracelets to signify a primarily 21 + crowd, so it is fair to say that the majority of fans at Neutral Milk Hotel’s show at Union Transfer weren’t very old at the peak of the band’s popularity.

Jeff Mangum, the lead singer and guitarist, seemed to have gotten used to his years of touring solo and selling out small venues here and there for his quaint acoustic sets. He took the stage at times, just himself, a guitar, and the spotlight, without fellow bandmates Jeremy Barnes, drummer, Scott Spillane, trumpeter, or Julian Koster, who plays a variety of instruments on stage.

The quality of the show was worth the high price ticket, weird venue rules and long entrance line in 15 degree weather. There was no photography allowed and Union Transfer didn’t think ahead to bring in extra staff for a show with mandatory will-call, but none of it was bad enough to have made this show a non-worthwhile experience.

The group opened with “Two Headed Boy Pt. 1” and ended with “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2.” Throughout the 90 minute set, both die-hard fans who covet both of Neutral Milk Hotel’s albums could enjoy themselves along side the one-and-done “Holland, 1945” appreciators. The entire show was geared towards fan’s happiness and not towards selling or promoting a record. The gig was either a way for Neutral Milk Hotel to satisfy needy fans or just to score some extra cash knowing they could sell out a venue like Union Transfer in less than one minute (which they did, in August).

The opening act, Elf Power, had a dreamy psychedelic pop thing going on. A really nice looking group, they offered a variety of pieces from both their first album and their newest album, Sunlight On The Moon.

“My favorite time playing in Philly was in 1999,” said guitarist and vocalist Andrew Rieger. “A super wasted guy was on the back of the stage and was so drunk but wouldn’t leave. We eventually had to have him kicked off the stage. Of Montreal was getting into their van later and he was pissing on their van. The van had an Elf Power sticker so he must have assumed it was our van. I don’t know what happened to him, but if you’re here, this is for you.”

Originally published on JumpPhilly.com

Seismic Thrust @ World Cafe Live on Monday with Jackie Paper and Astro.

Seismic Thrust is more than just a sex joke or the last few words of a one-liner.

The band has seen rapid expansion in the last few years, going from playing basement shows and suburban churches to landing gigs at Philly venues like the Fire and World Café Live. where they’ll perform Monday with Astro and Jackie Paper (see here for ticket info).

Zach Decker, Tiffany Harris, and Galen Huggins record jammy/folky/pschedelic tunes but perform loud and noisy with hints of punk at certain times. The group has dropped three self-recorded EPs and one full album, all named conveniently after the different times of the year the albums drop: Black Friday Sales was dropped on Black Friday 2011, Spring Breakfast around Easter 2012, and Py Thanksgi on Thanksgiving 2012.

The group formed when they were in the 5th grade, with Harris on drums and vocals, Huggins on bass and Decker on guitar and vocals. Strangely enough, when the group hit the 9th grade, Decker kicked Huggins out of the band. Decker and Harris continued as Seismic Thrust with a random not-so-reliable bassist before they re-accepted Huggins into the group. Instead of being awkward about it, the group puts Decker at the butt of the joke and plays it off as old news.

Today, the group is constantly looking for and playing gigs. Their tragic flaw is one to be kept in mind: they lose equipment at almost every gig they play and they never bother to replace it. When you see them live, there’s a strong chance that they are operating with a lot of borrowed stuff.

They all lead busy lives. Finding time to write songs nowadays is tough but they are trying to put together another full album.

“We don’t want to keep releasing EPs,” said Decker. “We want to wait ’til we have a few songs.”

Originally published on JumpPhilly.com