Tag Archives: Tower Theater

Meek Mill, Ace Hood and Company Bring Rap Power To The Tower

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One of the more unbelievable stories is that of rapper Meek Mill.  In 2008, the North Philadelphia native was arrested on a gun charge and was sentenced to eight months in jail.  Since his release in 2009, he has released multiple mix tapes, signed to Miami-based rapper Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group, released his “Dreams & Nightmares” album, which debuted at number 2 on the Billboard top 200, created his own record label, and is now touring the world, selling out show after show.

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Meek Mill, along with an entourage of epic proportions, made a stop at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby as part of his Dreams Come True Tour.  The show, which was presented by Power 99 and Live Nation, was streamed live to MeekMill.com, and brought out an extremely diverse, yet all around energetic crowd.

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The first performer of the night was Louie V Gutta.  Gutta, who is signed to Meek Mill’s own record label, Dream Chasers Records, did a good job getting the crowd warmed up and ready for the upcoming acts.

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Up next was another Philadelphian, Lee Mazin.  The South Philly native rapped, sang, and performed a choreographed dance set alongside dancers.

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Lee Mazin proved that she was not a one dimensional artist.  She was extremely impressive, showing off her wide vocal range, as well as her dance moves.

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Another versatile performance came from Guordan, whose music is mostly comprised of R&B tracks.  Guordan did what every man wishes they can do – pull a woman up on stage and serenade her with one of your hit songs.

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The main supporting act of the night was Ace Hood, who we had the pleasure of interviewing prior to the show.  Ace came onstage to a screaming crowd rocking a yellow sweatshirt and jeans.  Fans all over the venue could be seen holding their phones in the air, trying to capture the moment.

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It wasn’t before long the yellow sweatshirt was off, revealing a white undershirt and a gold chain that cost more than we would like to know.

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It took even less time for the white undershirt to come off, leaving Ace shirtless, sweating in gold chains and performing hits like “Bugatti”.

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Ace Hood put on a solid performance, but the best was yet to come.  And with collaborations between Meek Mill and Ace Hood, did anyone really think that was the last we would see of Ace?  Meek Mill was next…

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Wearing his signature custom made “Dream Chasers” gold chain and a matching gold Hermes belt, Meek came out on stage with about as much swag as anyone could possibly have.  Having performed everywhere from Paris to Amsterdam, there does not seem to be too much that can faze this juggernaut of the rap game.

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Meek Mill performed songs mostly from his recently released Dreams and Nightmares album.  The crowd loved every minute of his performance, and towards the end, Meek brought out Ace Hood and together they performed “Bugatti” one last time.  Before Meek Mill and Ace Hood came onto the stage, a projector dropped down and the crowd was projected onto the display – the place simply went nuts.

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Overall, the show featured a diverse group of very talented artists who all put on solid performances.  The final act also proved that Meek Mill is as good as they say, that he lives up to the hype, and really makes us just ask one thing – is Meek the best rapper to ever come out of Philly?

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[Photos by Jared Brill]

You can view an expanded photo gallery below (click thumbnails to enlarge):

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Interview With Ace Hood

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When it comes to poker, it’s always good to have an Ace in the hole. When it comes to the rap game, it’s always good to have an Ace in the Hood. Riding high on the success of his most recent single, “Bugatti”, Florida based rapper Antoine McColister, better known by his stage name, Ace Hood, will be throwing down at the Tower Theater on Friday, April 5th.

Ahead of his show in Philly, we spoke with Ace Hood about his life, his music, his future, and a few things that just might surprise you.

Independent Philly: How did you come up with the name “Ace Hood”?

Ace Hood: Initially I had the name Ace growing up. I don’t know man, Ace just always represented “1” to me and when I wound up getting my situation done, it was “Ace Gunner” at first and then we wound up changing it to “Ace Hood”. It was just a childhood nickname growing up, I just always loved “Ace” ya know?

IP: How has the response been to your “Starvation II” mix-tape that you released in January?

AH: The response has been phenomenal. I think this is definitely my greatest work thus far, you know, mix-tape wise. A lot of real records, a lot of real music on there. My fans and supporters definitely love it. It’s over 600,000 downloads, the response has been amazing. Every city I’ve been to, in state or out of state, I’ve been performing a lot of records off of Starvation II…they love it.

IP: Your new album “Trials & Tribulations” comes out this July. The first single “Bugatti” has been your most successful track to date, what else can fans expect from the album once it drops this summer?

AH: Just expect substance. You know, I wanted to bring that part of the music back. Just kind of the things that I’ve been through, not just my trials and tribulations but my fans and supporters’ trials and tribulations, you know what I’m sayin’? So you know I want to represent that real music, I want to bring that timeless music back. I tell people a lot of time it’s funny that you’re able to hear a Biggie or Pac record in 2013, I want the same to be true for Ace Hood in 2022, that you’re still able to play that record because it’s classic. I take pride in my music, I feel like it actually does something for people personally, in their personal lives, so it’s real music and it helps people get through things like I was able to get through things.

IP: Early on in your life it looked like you might have a shot to be a top-notch football player. Do you ever think about how your life would have been different if you’d wound up as an athlete instead of a rapper?

AH: My body would have been beat up a lot. As an athlete now you take so many injuries, you know what I’m sayin’? It’s a lot of hard work and you put a lot of stress and pain on your body in order to do what you gotta do. I’m glad I did take up music and that is my love but if life was playin’ ball man, I’d probably be sore, layin’ down, and all that good stuff…hurt up.

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IP: What do you think you’d be doing with your life now if you weren’t rapping?

AH: Something positive man, hopefully. Probably somewhere in school maybe, even though college isn’t for me, at all, you know what I mean? I’d probably be somewhere in graphic design, putting one of these talents that I have to work. Probably in college, something like that, or playing ball. Those are the only things I can actually think of.

IP: We know you’ve worked with a lot of other artists already, but who are a few other artists/producers that you’d like to work with in the future (that you haven’t worked with already)?

AH: I wanna work with some of the greats. I’ve worked with a lot of great up-and-coming producers lately in the music industry. But I’m excited to work with like a Timbaland, I’d love to have a Dr. Dre beat on there as well. Just some of the greats man so I can get that quality sound. I’m looking forward to working with like the Justice League as too. I think those are the names I’d wanna work with on this new project.

IP: Where do you draw the majority of your inspiration from when you write lyrics?

AH: Life. Life in general man. Knowing where I came from, knowing that I don’t wanna go back to where I came from, knowing that, you know, I have a daughter to provide for and, not only that but, I love the finer things in life. I wanna be able to live comfortably, you know what I mean, without any worries. So I just tell people all the time, life in general man. Seeing my daughter grow up, knowing that I want better for her than I had growing up. My mother, being able to take care of my mother. All that is inspiration man. I want certain things out of life. I want my grand kids, you know, my kids’ kids, being able to inherit what I’ve worked so hard to build, you know what I mean? So just life man in general, life.

IP: What advice would you offer to young MCs who are trying to break into the music business?

AH: Stay focused. You gotta believe in yourself. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve been able to do throughout my whole career, even before I actually had, you know, a big career in this industry. I’ve always believed in self, I’ve always believed that as long as I believe, nothing else matters. I just put that type of motivation and that type of energy into my music, and I’ve always had confidence in my music as well. I would just encourage any artist to stay focused, of course keep God first, and you know, just keep working hard. Try to outwork those who you idolize, you know what I mean? I try to outwork my competitors and some of my musical peers. That would be the advice I’d give.

IP: Putting all politics aside, who do you think would be the Top 5 rappers of all time?

AH: Dead or alive?

IP: Yeah, dead or alive.

AH: Jay Z, Biggie, Pac, Wayne, and Nas.

IP: You have a show coming up this Friday (April 5th) at the Tower Theater, what can your fans expect from your live show if they’ve never seen you perform in person before?

AH: Passion man, passion. Energy, the energy is crazy man. What I love about doing my concerts is always feeding off the fans and their energy. Passion, lyricism, and skills. You know I always like to go “a capella” and whatnot, and give fans that up-close-and-personal as opposed to how you just hear it on the record. What I actually do on the record, I can do that live too so you can expect that. You can expect a lot of hit records being performed, great music, you know, just a phenomenal show all around. 

IP: Finally, can you tell us something about yourself that would surprise or even shock our readers…

AH: When I’m home, I cook here and there. I don’t know if that would shock readers. Cooking here and there…I may watch a little “Lifetime” know what I’m sayin’? Cookin’ and watchin’ Lifetime.

We can’t wait to catch Ace Hood at the Tower Theater this Friday, April 5th as he supports Meek Mill. You can buy advanced tickets right here. Hope to see you there Philly!

Soundgarden, Still Superwellknown, Rock Sold-Out Tower Theater

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Rock legend Chris Cornell and Soundgarden first began thrilling fans with their live shows over 20 years ago. They were the first grunge band ever signed to a major label and along with their contemporaries Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam, they helped define a generation of music in the early 1990’s.

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They had a number one album, won Grammy’s, and traveled the globe, but in 1997 Soundgarden broke up when the members couldn’t agree on the direction the band should take.

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In 2010, they reunited, releasing a new CD (their sixth), and eventually began touring again.

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On Saturday, January 19th, they returned to Philadelphia to play a sold out show at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby.

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The band hit the stage with a lot of energy to the delight of the crowd (which was composed of mostly pf those in their 40’s and up, with a sprinkling of younger fans), opening with “Hands All Over” followed by “Spoonman”.

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Playing for two and a half hours, Soundgarden rocked the crowd with a mix of old and new material from their extensive catalog of songs.

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The aging rockers, while less mobile on stage (all but Cornell remained all but stationary), haven’t lost the ability to bring down the house and connect with their loyal fan base.

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After playing for over two hours, the band returned for a four song encore, closing out the night with “Beyond the Wheel”.

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[photo credit: Michael Green]

You can view the set list from the show below:

Set List:

Hands All Over

Spoonman

Outshined

Flower

Jesus Christ Pose

Taree

Attrition

My Wave

Been Away Too Long

Worse Dreams

Loud Love

Drawing Flies

Hunted Down

Mailman

Non-State Actor

Blow Up the Outside World

Ugly Truth

Fell on Black Days

Fresh Tendrils

Blood on the Valley Floor

(Unknown)

(Improv song)

Halfway There

Eyelid’s Mouth

Rusty Cage

Rowing

Encore:

Room a Thousand Years Wide

Let Me Drown

Dusty

Beyond the Wheel

Interview with Matt Tong of Bloc Party

Brit rockers Bloc Party released their first album in over four years last month. In support of their newest release, “Four”, they are in the midst of a intercontinental tour. They roll into Philadelphia tomorrow, September 15th, to play a show at legendary Trocadero Theater (the show was originally scheduled for the Tower Theater).

We wanted to get a little insight on Bloc Party before the show so we spoke with drummer, and jokester, Matt Tong about the band, the tour, and beyond.

Independent Philly: Who came up with the name Bloc Party?

Matt Tong: We met Noel Gallagher in a bar once before we got signed and we told him we wanted to be called “Pleurisis” – that’s late Latin for “pleurisy”, see, but he was all like, “No mate, you can’t call your fookin’ band that, that sounds way too much like my band name, geeeeezzzah. You like to party. Just call it ‘Party’ or something innit?”. We got the “Bloc” from somewhere else, can’t remember where, only it was “Block”, but there was an error at the factory where they printed out our first flyers and they left off the “k”. We made so many of the beggars, like 2000, or something and it was only for a toilet gig in Camden but it seemed like a waste to chuck ’em so we just stuck with “Bloc”, innit?

IP: What would you consider your biggest accomplishment (as a musician): Winning Indy Album of the Year (for Silent Alarm), Being nominated for 13 music awards, or selling over 2 million albums?

MT: Winning the Indy (sic) Album of the Year for Silent Alarm. In 2007.

IP: You’re playing in Philly this coming Saturday. What can fans expect from a live Bloc Party show if they’ve never seen you perform in person?

MT: Four blokes speaking in Brummie accents, playing instruments really fast.

IP: What is the craziest thing you’ve seen at one of your shows?

MT: Once Russell accidentally stood on both of his pitch bending pedals by accident and sent his guitar up several octaves when he was already widdling on the high E string. This 14 year old girl, her head, it exploded. Like on “Scanners”. It was crazy. There was blood all over Kele but he just kept on singing and singing. I was crying and retching but I just knew the gig had to go on and I drummed harder than ever before. We had to pay her parents off with that night’s merch takings after the show.

IP: Let’s do quick word association… first thing that comes to mind when you hear:

Philadelphia…

Money

Guitar Legend…

Rocky

England…

“The Chain”

Fans…

Jake E. Lee

Greatest Song Ever Written…

Bad teeth

IP: What other bands/artists are you listening to right now?

MT: The Stone Temple Pilots and Colin Firth’s reading of “The End of the Affair”.

IP: Is there a charity or cause that you’re passionate about that you’d like to plug?

MT: Peace.

IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers….

MT: Gang of Four did not inspire “Silent Alarm”.

All original tickets for Bloc Party from the Tower Theater will be honored for the show at the Trocadero (8pm start time). To purchase advanced tickets, click here.

My Chemical Romance Rages at Legendary Tower Theater

My Chemical Romance headlined a sold-out show show at the legendary Tower Theater in Upper Darby on Friday night with support from “The Architects” & “Thursday” (who MCR lead-singer Gerard Way called his favorite live band ever).

The Tower is one of our favorite venues in the area. It has the feel of an old school theater, the history of hosting the likes of Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Genesis, and countless other all-world acts, and a great sound system.

The place was already packed by the time we arrived as fans crowded into their seats awaiting the headliners from neighboring New Jersey to take the stage. Hordes of screaming teenage girls packed the aisles and the Tower staff has their hands full trying to keep people in their seats.

When My Chemical Romance took the stage shortly after 9:30pm, all order went out the window and it was a teenage free-for-all in the aisles as everyone tried to get a good angle to snap a photo (or video) with their camera and/or phone.

Gerard Way, with his bright red hair, wasted no time in pumping up the crowd as they hung on his every word and action; if his hands went up, the fans hands went up, if he held the microphone out, the fans sang.

The sound was as loud as could be, and the lights & lasers were bright and pulsating (there were even warning signs in the lobby about the brightness of the strobe lights that were used throughout the entire show).

The band mixed in a slew of songs from their most recent album “Danger Days: The True Lives of The Fabulous Killjoys” as well as older hits from albums “The Black Parade”, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge”, and “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love”.

Gerard Way told the fans in the overheated venue that MCR loves Philadelphia and it was good to be back. He was surprised at how many fans were up dancing around (because the venue is entirely seating with no general admission area).

While the majority of fans were teenagers, we saw people of all ages rocking out during the show. It seems that My Chemical Romance has no problem wooing fans both young and old. Admittedly, it was hard to stand still.

We left the venue shortly after 11pm, and with our ears ringing, headed off to join the Black Parade.

Full photo slide show below:

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Phoenix, Jenny & Johnny, and Wavves Make a Big Splash at The Tower Theater

Independent Philly loved the third night sunset set by Phoenix at Coachella Festival back in April. When we heard they were coming to Philly to play the Tower Theater, we knew we’d have to have our own Bridgette Bonner give us her review.

8:00pm on October 23rd arrived and I expected everyone in Philadelphia to be so pre-occupied with the Phillies that concerts and other events were a second thought. This was not the case at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby as The Wavves, Jenny and Johnny, and Phoenix took the stage to a very welcoming and excited crowd.

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“Wavves” got the night and the party started by pumping the crowd up with their energetic, California sounds from their album “King of the Beach” (www.wavves.net). This set the pace for “Jenny and Johnny”, also natives of California.

The California crew received an outstanding welcome from Philly fans, especially for Jenny and Johnny (www.jennyandjohnnymusic.com) whose sensual acoustic sound and upbeat performance had people fighting for a closer look in the front row. With such an excited and warm reception from Philly fans, I hope to see Jenny and Johnny back in the City of Independence sometime soon with a head-lining gig.

Bang Your Head

With the crowd already on their feet after stellar performances, Phoenix took the stage and started the show off with one of their hits, “Lisztomania” as hordes of people rushed towards the front of the venue. Phoenix fed off their energy and was very interactive with the crowd. Not only did lead singer Thomas Mars make a shout out to the Phillies, but joined the people of Philadelphia in their seats along with the rest of Phoenix to serenade fans with a song in their native language, French. Even though the language was foreign, the intimate interaction formed a bond between Phoenix and their fans.

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Phoenix closed with another hit and probably the most anticipated song of the night, 1901. As Tower Theater sang along to every word, you could tell that Phoenix was just as excited to see the people of Philadelphia, as the fans were to see them.

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Phoenix will next visit the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC October 25th before heading to the House of Blues in Orlando, FL October 26th.

SET LIST: 

Lisztomania
Lasso
Long Distance Call
Fences
Girlfriend
Armistice
North
Love Like a Sunset, Pt. 1
Love Like a Sunset, Pt. 2
(Unknown)
Rally
Rome 
(Unknown)
Encore:
Countdown
(Unknown)
(Unknown)
1901

{Story and photos by Bridgette Bonner}