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Early Weekend Pick: Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra

Posted August 6th, 2009

Holy performance, Batman! There’s so much stuff going on over the next three days that I am legally bound (really! I’m not kidding . . .) NOT to tell you about all of it. But our cool music stuff correspondent Andrew Zitcer says you need to get an early start tomorrow:

Trust me on this one. You’ll want to walk, bike, hop on the El, or ride an R-Whatever train to get to 30th Street Station so you can rock out with Asphalt Orchestra.

The Asphalt Orchestra is an honest-to-god marching band, formed by the genius composer/organizers of New York’s Bang on a Can. They are coming to Philadelphia to rock the lunchtime crowd in the North Waiting Room of 30th street. And they’ll perform pieces by the likes of Charles Mingus, Björk, Frank Zappa and more. And they have choreography by internationally acclaimed Susan Marshall. And they’ll probably wear funky outfits. And it’s free. Catch a preview on WNYC’s Soundcheck, a great music show produced out of New York Public Radio. [Full disclosure: Your blog manager spent some time as an intern on other shows at that station.]

Asphalt will only grace Philly with its presence for an hour or so, because they need to hop back on Amtrak (their sponsor) so they can perform that night at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, opening for Raul Midón and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Bang on a Can, who created the group, started over 20 years ago as a collaboration among composers Michael Gordon (winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in music), David Lang and Julia Wolfe. They are dedicated to supporting contemporary and new music, and they do so through their concerts, workshops, commissions of new work, festival performances and ensembles. And now they have a marching band.

Friday, August 7, 11:45 am, free! 30th Street Station, 2955 Market Street, Philadelphia.

–Andrew Zitcer