Moor Mother leads the way as Philly Music Fest returns with in-person shows at five different venues

The Philly Music Competition takes the primary a part of its identify critically.

The nonprofit fest that advantages music training will make its return as an in-person occasion on the newly reopened World Cafe Stay on Wednesday and keep on over 5 days at 4 different unbiased venues.

However the PMF, now in its fifth yr, is true to its title not solely in the place it occurs, but in addition in who performs on its phases.

As at all times, all 19 acts are both Philly primarily based or deeply regionally linked. That begins with Moor Mom, the Brewerytown spoken-word poet, rapper, and experimental musician born Camae Ayewa who will open the fest on the upstairs Lounge at World Cafe Stay with a trio of performances that captures her in three totally different musical iterations.

And it continues although the weekend with the Scranton-born pop punks the Menzingers, who headline Saturday and Sunday at Ardmore Music Corridor, pulling from their 2019 album Howdy Exile, recorded at Conshohocken’s Studio 4 with producer Will Yip, whose heartbreaking “Anna” rhymes: “I’ve a lot to inform ya / Please come again to Philadelphia.”

“Our style is Philly,” says Greg Seltzer, the PMF founder and scene booster who’s a lawyer with the Middle Metropolis agency Ballard Spahr. “Different festivals have their very own genres. Our style is what’s uniquely Philly.”

Yearly, Seltzer says, “I get confused about attracting native bands which might be nationally acknowledged headliners,” in addition to reserving lesser-known Philly acts simply on the best way up.

Moor Mom is internationally acknowledged: She mentioned in a latest interview that the final time she carried out 3 times at an occasion was on the Berlin Jazz Competition in 2018.

“So I’m used to this sort of factor,” she mentioned, talking by telephone from Los Angeles, the place she is educating music composition on the College of Southern California this semester. “Nevertheless it’s very nice to have this in Philadelphia.”

Past the Menzingers and Moor Mom, the yr’s PMF headliners are wide-ranging.

They embody: dazzling indie songwriter Alex G, who tops a terrific invoice downstairs at WCL, with Spirit of the Beehive; Frances Quinlan-fronted quartet Hop Alongside, who play Johnny Brenda’s on Thursday; R&B soul man Son Little, who headlines MilkBoy Philly on Friday; and rapper and singer Ivy Sole, at REC Philly, additionally on Friday.

The PMF has been constant in its mission. Together with the headliners, it presents up-and-coming acts like singer-songwriter AnnonXL, who performs Johnny Brenda’s on Thursday, and Kennedy Freeman-fronted shoegaze band HighNoon, who’re in a gap slot at AMH on Saturday.

The fest raised $50,000 final yr for organizations like Rock to the Future, Women Rock Philly (the place Moor Mom is a former board member), and Settlement Music Faculty. Seltzer hopes to high that quantity in 2021.

However attributable to COVID-19, this yr’s PMF will probably be totally different than any earlier model. In 2020, the competition was scaled down to 2 nights at Ardmore Music Corridor, with acts corresponding to Japanese Breakfast and Langhorne Slim enjoying empty-venue units that have been livestreamed to followers.

The 2021 fest arrives as indie venues are getting again in enterprise after the lengthy shutdown amid concern over the unfold of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Protocols for the PMF will fluctuate solely barely from venue to venue, Seltzer says. “We’ve lots of people coming in, and we’ve received to make it as secure as attainable,” Seltzer says.

Proof of vaccination is required in any respect PMF reveals. Adverse assessments is not going to be accepted. Masks insurance policies are left as much as the venue, Seltzer mentioned, with the AMH, WCL and MilkBoy requiring masks when not consuming or consuming, and Johnny Brenda’s and REC Philly encouraging them. The venues will make use of extra safety to implement mask-wearing, which the PMF can pay for.

Vaxes and masks will even be required on the PMF’s two networking occasions. There’s a Friday afternoon Tech Tour at Guru Applied sciences in Middle Metropolis meant to deliver music and tech innovators collectively.

And on Saturday, WCL will host Inside Hustle panel discussions for aspiring artists that function native luminaries like Augusta Koch of Gladie and Yip, the producer who made headlines along with his #StopAsianHate raffle to profit the Asian American & Pacific Islander Group Fund.

Each Tech Tour and Inside Hustle are free. All PMF nighttime showcases are technically bought out, although Seltzer mentioned the rooms have been bought at diminished capacities and “small batches” of tickets will go on sale because the competition approaches. Test for updates.

» READ MORE: North Philly activist, poet, and musician Moor Mom on her free jazz musical, Afrofuturism, and Patti LaBelle

Seltzer mentioned a PMF objective is to have style variety not simply within the competition as an entire, but in addition inside every night time. That was simply achieved by handing the opening night time on the Lounge over to Moor Mom, who embodies a number of genres on her personal.

“Folks can see the vary of what I’ve been doing,” she says.

Which is, as at all times, lots.

The North Philly artist and activist, whose 2020 album Circuit Metropolis grew out of a 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Competition efficiency about “the trauma of dwelling in inexpensive housing,” just lately teamed with Rasheedah Phillips, her associate within the interdisciplinary artwork apply Black Quantum Futurism, for an artwork set up, Ancestors returning once more / this time solely to themselves. It was on show at Hatfield Home in Fairmount Park for 5 weeks this summer time.

She’s simply launched Black Encyclopedia of the Air, her most tuneful and accessible album but, which employs a lot of visitor rappers and opens up in rhythmic, spacious soundscapes with out blunting the confrontational drive of her music.

Black Encyclopedia is the primary album she has launched on outstanding indie label Anti-. Nobody will ever mistake industrial energy Moor Mom music for simply digestible pop, however she has jokingly referred to it — which references Solar Ra Arkestra, Rage Towards the Machine, and former NBA participant Latrell Sprewell — as her “sell-out” album.

“It’s simply that my different work is fairly avant garde,” says the artist, who grew up as Camae Ayewa in Aberdeen, Md., and moved to Philadelphia to attend the College of the Arts. “I’m attempting to create a place to begin for individuals to get into my music.”

The brand new music is of a chunk along with her physique of labor: the Afro-Futurist “temporal disrupters” featured within the Hatfield Home exhibit present, additionally referencing the “Temporal Management of Gentle Echoes,” the opening monitor on Black Encyclopedia.

“I love to do a number of initiatives directly, simply being optimistic, having enjoyable creating music,” she says.

The brand new album is one in every of three that Ayewa, who previously labored instead trainer and basketball coach at Mates Choose faculty, recorded throughout the pandemic, whereas additionally studying saxophone.

“I become a studio particular person as an alternative of a stay efficiency particular person,” she says. The subsequent Moor Mom album, due on Anti- subsequent yr, “will probably be my most accessible work. After that I’ll go a distinct method.”

In 2019, she launched Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes, with manufacturing by King Britt and Psychological Jewellery. The latter is a noise-rock producer who she’ll pair with as Moor Jewellery on Wednesday on the PMF.

For that gig, the duo will probably be joined by drummer Phillip Worth and guitarist Marissa Paternoster of the New Jersey band Screaming Females, with whom Ayewa has recorded one more forthcoming album. “That’s gonna be a pleasant punk rock file,” she says.

On the WCL, Ayewa will shut her night time with Irreversible Entanglements, the band of Chicago musicians with whom she explores free jazz and spoken-word experimentation. “We haven’t seen one another for nearly two years, so it’s going to be actually nice to simply be reunited, to simply get collectively and hug one another.”

In between, Ayewa will carry out as Moor Mom, alone on stage.

“It’ll be me doing one thing,” she says with amusing. “I don’t know but, although it’s solely a few days away. I’ll in all probability do one thing from the brand new file. However I’ll do some new unreleased stuff, too. These are the issues I’m most enthusiastic about.”

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