Non-Comm-Vention: The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA; May 31st

jakob dylan

Before last night I had never been to the Electric Factory and had always wanted to go. It certainly is a cool place, yet the pat down before the entry was a bit intimidating. My father and my friend’s father decided it would be fun to go to the WXPN sponsored noncommvention, a show with 5 acts: Yoav, Alejandro Escovedo, Kathleen Edwards, Jakob Dylan, and What Made Milwaukee Famous. I am not a huge fan of any of these acts, but I am always up for a show. It turned out to be a lovely outing, aside from the horrible crowd. They say doctors make the worst patients, and I think its safe to say that radio people make the worst crowds. The people hardly paid any attention to the acts and were drifting in and out of the main area as they pleased, carrying on conversations throughout. Alejandro Escovedo even showed some hints of his own annoyance: “Thank you all for politely clapping.”

Yoav: The first act, Yoav, I had never heard of before. He had a very interesting style, similar to that of Keller Willams and Andrew Bird, in that he would live loop and play over himself. He used the same formula for pretty much every song, so it got to be a bit repetitive, but still in all, it was interesting. He would create drum beats using his guitar, which sounded amazing. It was hard to believe that these beats could come from a simple acoustic guitar. Then he would pluck some strings seemingly randomly for effect, and it would all be looped together. Then he would play a normal acoustic guitar over it all.  Aside from his pretty typical vocal delivery, it was a rather unique sound, some combination of afro beat, a techno feel created by his quick fingerpicking, and follk.

Alejandro Escovedo: I had seen him once before this show, at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 6 in San Francisco, and like last time, this time he did not displease. Alejandro Escovedo has a very unique sound that blends together some of my favorite styles of music. It is almost an amalgamation of noise rock, post rock (in some ways resembling a very brief but similar style to Godspeed You Black Emperor!) and Americana. He is very energetic as is the whole band. Equipped with a Cellist, Violinist, Bassist, Drummer, and Guitarist, the band creates a very powerful sound and I was very pleased by his performance.

Kathleen Edwards: Never heard her before, heard good reviews of her recent album. She has a pleasant voice, and her friend on guitar and keyboard accompaniment lent a cool sound. Nothing really stood out, maybe a backing band would have done more service to her. I did, however, enjoy her lecture on hockey, her being as staunch Canadian, and wondered if she was as pissed as I was about missing Game 4 of the Stanley Finals.

Jakob Dylan: We all know him as the guy from the Wallflowers and one of the few people on earth who can actually say “Do you know who my father is!?” and get people to back off, but the guy is actually very talented. He played some lovely songs, but my only complaint was the lack of variety in tempo and style. He ended with a wallflowers tune, I’m not sure which, but it was a good set.

What Made Milwaukee Famous: Cool poppy alt-country to the likes of Old 97’s. The lead singer liked to talk. I enjoyed the song with Kathleen Edwards. Left before their set ended.

Overall a good night.

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About Drew Litowitz

Sound advice.
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