The venerable Savoy Company presents Gilbert & Sullivan’s classic comic opera, in which a captain’s daughter falls in love with an ordinary sailor, despite her father’s intentions that she marry a lord of the Admiralty. It’s a frothy mix of silly events and sublime tunes, as well as a timely perforation of pomposity, patriotic bloviating, and elitist poseurs. — M.H.
8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. $45-$60, 215-735-7161, www.savoy.org.
The host of the much-listened to WTF Podcast (six million downloads a month ain’t too shabby) brings his acerbic standup to Philly, a city he has declared his affection for several times. Maron’s moving on up in the world. Last time he was in town, he played the smaller Trocadero Theatre. —M.E.
8 p.m. Friday, Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St. $29.50-$39.50, kimmelcenter.org.
Rowers from all over descend on the Schuylkill for the largest collegiate regatta in the country. Stand by and root for one of 100 colleges and universities competing for glory in the Olympic-size course. The best place to watch? The Grand Stand. — M.E.
Friday & Saturday. Race course starts at the Kelly Drive-Hunting Park Avenue intersection and ends at the Grand Stand above the Columbia Avenue Bridge. Free, www.dadvail.org.
The charitable burlesque organization is to present its latest show re-creating the 1940s Hollywood Canteen that offered World War II soldiers a respite of drinks, dancing, and entertainment. The evening will feature showgirls, comedy, variety acts, singers, candy girls, and more, with the aim of making guests feel like they’ve stepped into another era (vintage attire is encouraged, so dust off that old uniform, corporal). It’s all for a good cause, benefiting Veterans Administration hospitals and an array of servicemen’s organizations. — M.H.
8 p.m. Friday, American Legion Post 810, 9151 Old Newtown Rd. $25-$50, veterans and active-duty personnel admitted free, www.pinupsontour.com.
Yeah, the guy who played Ralph Malph on Happy Days in the 1970s is nowadays channeling 1950s cool via Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin and the Great American Songbook. Ring-a-ding-ding! — M.H.
8 p.m. Saturday, Rrazz Room at the Prince, 1412 Chestnut St. $32-$57, 215-422-4580, princetheater.org/therrazzroom.
Here’s your chance to meet Disney Pixar star and five-time Piston Cup winner Lightning McQueen in the, uh, chrome. In advance of the next episode of the four-wheeled animated epic, the champ makes an appearance with his newest co-stars, the “tech-savvy” Cruz Ramirez and the “sleek, next-gen racer” Jackson Storm. There will be opportunity to have your picture taken with the amazing autos, but it might be best to warn your wee ones ahead of time that there’s no touching allowed with the vehicles. (Also, you should bring your own camera or phone, but a staffer will take the shot for you.) There’s plenty of interactive fun to be had with a street-art booth featuring a giant coloring mural with the Cars crew (plus a colored-pencil-pack souvenir), interactive racer pit-crew tire-changing, a chance to make a digital postcard with McQueen (and collect a Cars toothbrush), a display on the science behind NASCAR racing and items from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a toy-car area with a gravity drop and new play sets featuring locations from the movie, and a collection of die-cast racers from the past and present. And, of course, there will be sneak previews of the movie, in which #95 finds himself pushed out of the circuit (we have a feeling Storm may have a role in this) and tries to get back on track with the help of Ramirez. The film hits theaters June 16. — M.H.
Noon to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Cherry Hill Mall, J.C. Penney lot, Route 38, Cherry Hill. Free, cars3tour.com.
Punxsutawney, Pa., may have its groundhog predicting winter’s length, but Ocean City, N.J., has a crustacean telling us whether summer is arriving early (spoiler: it is). If Mr. Mollusk (an actual hermit crab, just as pampered as Jefferson County’s rodent) climbs out of his shell and sees the sun, it’s a done deal. He’s 41-0 on squinting, clouds or no. (Yes, a flashlight is sometimes used — lighten up, people, it’s fun.) The clever crab will be accompanied this year by magician Jon Dorenbos, who is also adept at long-snapping a football for the Eagles, and may have a special trick in mind for the event. There will also be music and a Martin Z. Mollusk impersonator, because the little guy will be too worn out for photos. — M.H.
11 a.m. Saturday, on the beach at Ninth Street, Ocean City. Free, 609-525-9300, www.ocnj.us.
After the founding of the American Watercolor Society in 1866, watercolor painting became a very popular medium for many Americans, including some of our greatest artists, preeminently Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. This comprehensive show will include many examples of their work, along with works by Thomas Moran, John La Farge, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, and Maurice Prendergast, and into the 20th century with Charles Demuth, John Marin, Charles Burchfield, and Edward Hopper. This is your last chance to catch this showstopping exhibit. — Thomas Hine
Through Sunday, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. $19-$25, 215-763-8100, philamuseum.org.
This talented orchestra of young musicians, led by inspiring conductor Gary White, is to perform the wrap of its 20th-anniversary season. What a bill: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Concerto Grosso” for strings, Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” and a Mozart overture, with all 175 musicians and 200 singers collaborating in Tchaikovsky’s explosive “1812 Overture.” — TDN
4:30 p.m. Sunday, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets. $15, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org.
For the season opener of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, conductors Carlos Ágreda and Conner Gray Covington will lead the Curtis Institute ensemble in a free Mother’s Day Weekend concert featuring “Variations on a POP Theme,” a world premier by rising star TJ Cole, and Beethoven’s “Coriolan Overture, Op. 62” performed with the Play On, Philly! Academy Orchestra. Also on the bill: Bernstein’s “Overture to Candide” and Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2” performed with the Rock School of Dance Education, and Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” — M.H.
7 p.m. Saturday, the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. Free, tickets required, 215-546-7900, www.manncenter.org.
The lustrous mezzo is joined by Metropolitan Orchestra principals Rafael Figueroa, cello, and Nathan Hughes, oboe, along with pianist Ken Noda (the musical assistant to Met conductor James Levine) for a recital of vocal and instrumental works by Mendelssohn, Haydn, Brahms, Dutilleux, Debussy, Vaughan Williams, and Berlioz. — M.H.
3 p.m. Sunday, the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, Broad and Locust Streets. $25, $10 students, 215-569-8080, www.pcmsconcerts.org.
Who is the only artist to ever have two different albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts in consecutive weeks? Yes, it’s Future, the rapper born Nayvadius Wilburn, who did it in February with his back to back releases FUTURE and HNDRXX. The Atlanta trap king played the Wells Fargo Center twice last year with his What a Time to Be Alive mixtape partner Drake and stomped off the stage complaining of sound problems at the 2016 Roots Picnic. This time around, he headlines Friday the Power 99 Nobody’s Safe tour, with Migos, Torey Lanez, Kodak Black, Zoey Dollaz, Young Thug, and A$AP Ferg. It will be a surprise if Philly rapper Lil Uzi Vert doesn’t turn up with his pals Migos, whose hit “Bad and Boujee” he was featured on. —Dan DeLuca
Brooklyn’s young Desiigner may be a woozy Future ripoff, but at the very least, he is an excellent Future ripoff, if his buoyant, imaginary friend “Panda” and his New English mixtape are any indication. This is a guy who buys his beats from producers via the internet (and cheap) and who surely quadrupled his investment when Kanye West (who sampled “Panda” for his Life of Pablo, then signed Desiigner to Weezy’s GOOD Music imprint. Maybe he’s more influenced by money men like Besos or Trump. — A.D. Amorosi
8 p.m. Friday, The Trocadero, 1003 Arch St. $23 and$25, thetroc.com.
On her new self-titled album, Tara Jane O’Neil embraces beauty and structure. It’s full of gentle acoustic guitars, delicate vocals, and slow tempos. After playing in the ’90s with Rodan, Retsin, and the Sonora Pine, these aren’t new sounds for O’Neil’s solo work, but lyrics, their poetry, and the tight song structures are. Her ninth solo album is less abstract and ambient, more forthright and accessible — and gorgeously captivating. She opens Sunday for the Brooklyn-based, Philly-bred Mirah at Boot & Saddle. O’Neil contributed to Mirah’s (A)spera and Green Up Time, so expect some cross-band synergy. — Steve Klinge
8:30 p.m. Sunday, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St. $12-$15. 267-639-4528, bootandsaddlephilly.com.
Andy Shauf is a songwriter from Regina, Saskatchewan, who played all instruments except the strings on The Party, the 2016 album that was his third overall, but first to gain widespread acclaim. Shauf is adept at a brand of orchestrated, light-on-its-feet pop that recalls 1970s songwriters like back-in-fashion Harry Nilsson, and The Party is a cleverly conceived set of songs about a variety of characters living inside their own heads at a house party. Be nice to Shauf: All of his equipment and merch was stolen last week in Atlanta. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help him replace it. — D.D.
With Julia Jacklin at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. $13-$15, 215-232-2100, utphilly.com.
Published: May 10, 2017 — 3:01 AM EDT
The Philadelphia Inquirer
When Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett talks about the initial inspiration for the thrash gods’ most recent album — 2016’s Hardwired … to Self-Destruct — and its stadium tour that hits Friday at Lincoln Financial Field, he looks back. There’s the quartet’s first, brain-crushing, soul-sucking magnum opus, 1983’s Kill ‘Em All. Then, there’s a discussion the metal quartet — with guitarist-singer James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, and bassist Robert Trujillo — had about that album in Atlantic City, in June 2012 at Bader Field, when they commenced their Orion Music + More festival.
“There was an actual moment where we discussed Kill ‘Em All, realizing it’s still vital and informative as to how we play now and where we could go moving forward. That’s when we did that first Orion festival and played the whole album on one of our smaller stages as a surprise to everyone in the audience,” Hammett said about Metallica’s blunt-force thrash classic. “We wowed the crowd, ourselves, and came offstage thinking, ‘That was fun,’ doing the whole short, sharp song thing. We cycled through a handful of songs – BAM BAM BAM – rather than a few.”
The Orion fest didn’t last (its second iteration was in 2013 in Detroit) and lost Metallica money (“It’s in our back pocket as a concept, not trashed, not dead”), but that side-stage gig was a major impetus for Metallica to show what a loose song agenda and a sharper, blunter style could do going into the next album: Hardwired.
Then again, everything Metallica does now seems to test the mettle, blade, and soul of the three-decades-plus band, whether it’s playing with Lou Reed on their critically lambasted 2011 Lulu project or playing with Iggy Pop last month in Mexico City. “Guys like Lou and Iggy Pop informed what we did starting out,” Hammett said, “as well as maintaining influence over us now.”
For further inspiration, check the three-CD version of Hardwired featuring covers of Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and more. “Blackmore is too unheralded for words, considering the way he rode the groove,” Hammett said. “I love his raunchy sound.”
Mention additional collaborations with pop goddess Lady Gaga and classical cellist Lang Lang, and the guitarist says that such experimentation is part of Metallica’s becoming comfortable in their skin. “I do think we were guarded about who we’d let into our circle, maybe overly controlling,” said Hammett. “In the last 10 years, however, we’ve opened ourselves up to other things, other people, more open in our thinking.”
What such openness has meant for Hammett — in regard to Hardwired — was that he has approached his riffs and solos improvisationally. “Each of us look for what is unthinkable, a sonic passage that comes to you out of nowhere,” he said. “What that meant for me was embracing the truly unknown, relying on pure true spontaneity and not knowing what I was going to play until I played it.”
With the exception of the crash-bang epic “Spit Out the Bone,” Hammett avoided preparing for the Hetfield-Ulrich-penned tracks. “That was liberating and tricky, walking into a studio without anything prepared. It takes a certain degree of confidence in your musical ability – hahaha – as well as trust in your bandmates, and they in me, that I would come up with something tasty.”
Without bragging, Hammett said that his phrasing, perspective, and approach were different on Hardwired from anything else in Metallica’s canon. Hammett’s been part of the legacy for a long time; he joined the band in 1983, after the departure of Dave Mustaine, who went on to create Megadeth immediately following his departure.
Then again, Hammett also has great love and abiding admiration for his metal brethren, Hetfield in particular, for investing emotional tumult in each song he writes. “James is a poet, man. Every time an album comes to bear, I’m surprised at his wordsmithing, his sensitivity toward human nature, and the human dialogue. You don’t get that when speaking or hanging with him, but he’s way sensitive and very in tune. He’d probably be uncomfortable if he knew I was calling him all this.”
What Metallica does hear — and eschew — after 35 years of thrashing about, is how they don’t quite rock as frenetically as they used to, which is ridiculous if you’re ear-deep into Hardwired’s power-metal freak-outs.
“I realize when someone says as such that it is more about them, their perspective, their life, that they are projecting,” Hammett said with a laugh. “Maybe they can’t handle having aged 35 years. We do what we want to do — use our own instincts — and if it feels good, we hit it. We’re not worried about someone outside of the room second-guessing what we do. Just the four guys inside of that room matter.”
With Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat, 6 p.m. Friday, Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way. $59.50-$159.50, livenation.com.
Published: May 10, 2017 — 3:01 AM EDT
With Easter past, Shavuot approaching, and Ramadan commencing at May’s end, now is the perfect time for varied and bold religious commemoration, a diversity reflected in newly released devotional music that speaks to God, gods, and the spirits of Western and Eastern theologies, beyond a single creed.
That means Franklin James Fisher, Atlanta son of Baptist preachers, reaching his way through holy-rolling gospel punk as front man with Algiers on their new The Underside of Power.
It means Christian singer Tasha Page-Lockhart – forever part of Kirk Franklin’s troupe — publishing her autobiography, And the Winner Is … , and her second album, Sophomore.
It means Camden’s Tye Tribbett, youth and young adult pastor at New Light Christian Center, whose new album, The Bloody Win, gets a showcase May 27 at Trenton’s Patriots Theater.
It means activist, author, theologian, and bluesman the Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou – Rev. Sekou for short, a child of the black Pentecostal Church of God in Christ – performing Wednesday at World Cafe Live with his just-released In Times Like These with the North Mississippi Allstars.
And it means the late Alice Coltrane, a onetime Philadelphian (lived here with her husband, the saxophone god John Coltrane), whose gentle breeze of an album, World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Turiya, features meditational music based on her latter-day beliefs in Hindu traditions, heavenly desire, and the Holy Spirit. The Coltrane project, released on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, comes from cassettes released between 1982 and 1995 on a label devoted to Vedic teachings from her home in Agoura Hills, Calif., where she built an ashram and welcomed devotees.
The album moves in mysterious ways to find its peaceful mountaintop, sense of nirvana, and occasional restless religiosity.
Surya Botofasina, a jazz musician raised on Alice Coltrane’s ashram, says that he’s never had a day “without Swamini” and that it was not until his teens that he was allowed to participate in a bhajan chanted in the Coltrane mandir. “In our ashram, kids had the blessing of being in a utopia of happiness,” says Botofasina. “Playing keyboard next to her as she was playing a bhajan, will always be one of the greatest highlights of my life. Her spiritual dedication, practice, and devotion was the best example of such I’ve ever witnessed.”
Of how he believes Coltrane spoke to the gods and Coltrane’s version of praise music connects the dots between other religions, Eastern and Western, Botofasina says that though this album may be new, its songs are sacred and ancient holy sounds no matter one’s faith.
“We chant, we sing, and we do it with gratitude, devotion, and joy,” he said. “The values of kindness, peace, love for all I feel are universal. Plus, we were always taught that all forms of worship are beautiful and to be respected. Western, Eastern, Southern, Northern. … All areas of our beautiful planet always seem to benefit from love and joy via devotional songs.”
Rev. Sekou’s In Times Like These with Luther and Cody Dickinson, progeny of session great Jim Dickinson (Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin), is activist blues, from torrid tracks such as “Resist” onward. Even when he’s singing of romance on “Loving You Is Killing Me,” it is tinged with devout, daring, and literary universality.
“That’s a love letter to the nation, about how black people still love their democracy, even though it is killing them,” he says sternly. “The spirits touch activism as well as the passion of man.”
With that, Sekou – an opera-trained vocalist and student of comparative philosophies at Manhattan’s New School – comes from a lineage of “firebrand blues preachers,” with everything he does touched by that spirit. Mention to Sekou the preaching and sound of the Northern-based Tribbett and he states that the difference between himself and the New Jersey singer comes down to influence. “My record is not gospel, but there are always gospel’s chord structures, use of flats and minor chords to create a sonic landscape. That’s part of everything I do.”
Ask him to connect dots between Western and Eastern philosophies, and Sekou says all spiritual music is tied together. “Music occupies and articulates to its own spiritual dimension as well as speaking to who we all are,” he says.
Beyond that, however, Sekou’s Delta-dusty blues is meant to blur the lines between the sacred and the secular. “Those lines are strictly artificial, created by elites: the clergy. Look, church folk go to clubs and clubgoers attend church. In my world, the players work both ends of the stick, playing in black churches as well as nightclubs. If you don’t be careful, you might even hear some secular music while at church,” he says with a devilish laugh.The Prayer for Peace Tour with Rev. Sekou, North Mississippi Allstars, and Alvin Youngblood Hart, 8 p.m. Wednesday at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. $20/$30, worldcafelive.com. Tye Tribbett and J.J. Hairston play at 5 p.m. May 27 at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton. $38-$135, bloodywintickets.com.
Published: May 9, 2017 — 3:01 AM EDT