Day 2 in Philadelphia near the campus of the University of Pennsylvania saw Music Directors, Program Directors and record label reps, radio promoters (the guys that cajole, plead and otherwise beg the radio stations to play the latest "single" by their clients) checking out new and upcoming artists like Astrid Williamson and Ingrid Michaelson, as well as Ryan Bingham and Hayes Carll (a former Paste 4 To Watch artist). But let's tell the story of the stellar evening showcase featuring Englishman Newton Faulkner
and his red dreadlocks, new mommy Ani DiFranco
, Paste cover kids The Hold Steady
and New Orleans legend Dr. John
Newton Faulkner, he of #1 U.K. album, kicks off the night with his quirky/sensitive folk.
Ani DiFranco, who is clearly reveling in being a new mother, played a tight 11-song set. Our host venue for the evening, Hal Real's World Cafe Live
, is just an amazing room in which to see a show.
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady took the night up about 17 notches with a classic manic performance featuring songs from their new album, Stay Positive
. The title track and the single, "Subpoenaed in Texas, Sequestered in Memphis" were instant favorites with the crowd.
If there's a more entertaining sideperson in rock today than The Hold Steady's Franz Nicolay
, I've yet to see him/her. The most strategic place to stand when absorbing THS's wallop is just in between Nicolay and Finn. Probably edging toward Nicolay. He might share his wine bottle with you if you're lucky.
We were treated to a legend to end the evening. Dr. John somehow managed to fit New Orleans into his travel luggage and put it on display at World Cafe Live in Philly.