“We’ve been going in and out of style but we’re guaranteed to raise a smile.” A phrase uttered by Marc Ribot towards the end of his set in one of the few live shows he’s played as The Young Philadelphians. The rare appearance was indeed a treat for us at Fuji Rock. Marc has worked as a session guitarist for many big names over the years and now along with long time free jazz bassist and Philadelphia native, Jamaaladeen Tacuma he has formed The Young Philadephians. Joining them is fellow Philadelphian, drummer G. Calvin Weston, also a strings section and another guitarist. They play Philly soul, hard groove, deco, disco and more.

The raw talents of everyone involved really shine in this band. Their passion for Philly soul music beams through. It’s clear they are doing this project as a labour of love. They all had big smiles plastered to their faces as they jumped between classic tunes. They played the orange court just around twilight when punters are starting to get faded. It’s the time in between the grind of the day and before the anticipation of the nighttime headliners. That said, the crowd was energized and jumping around for their set from start to finish. Just try sitting still to soul, funk, groove and disco. I’m not sure it’s possible. I know I was up shaking my ass after starting the set sitting down.

They played many lengthy but inspired covers which included ‘Do the hustle’, ‘Love roller coaster’ and ‘Fly robin fly’. They gave their songs ample room to breath with each instrument getting solos to go off on tangents as they please. Their set ended a bit before I think most of us wanted it to, but there is a silver lining. For those of you who couldn’t catch The Young Philadelphians perform or those like myself who couldn’t get enough, they will be playing more dates in Japan early next week. They play in Tokyo and Osaka on the 28th and 29th respectively. All information can be found here.


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