Kick Off Your Fringe With Johnny Showcase!
There’s more to the Fringe Festival than just the awesome array of shows listed in our Guide. Each night, after the Fringe it’s the after-Fringe at the FringeArts headquarters at Race Street and Columbus Boulevard. Performers and audiences alike congregate at La Peg and the Haas Biergarten for drinks, games, DJs, and pop-up entertainment.
The Festival launches this Friday with the annual FREE rager, the Festival Kick Off Party with popular 10-piece band Johnny Showcase, a joyful sexy psychedelic dance funk experience, complete with heavy jazz fusion elements.
An absurdist soul outfit based in Philadelphia, Johnny Showcase is an innovative, joyful tour-de-force that toes the line between performance art and a psychedelic soul revival. Carrying the torch of funk-rock pioneers like Funkadelic and Frank Zappa, the group has gained a massive following and become something of a funky Philly folk hero legend.
The brain-child of theater artist/musician David Sweeny, Johnny Showcase is a sweaty, charismatic showman from Rhode Island who is equal parts Andy Kaufman and Prince. Surrounding him is a rag tag group of performers, including a spiritual adviser named Rumi Kitchen, two vacuous vocalists collectively called The Truth, and the knife sharp backing band the Mystic Ticket.
In 2009, they staged a sold-out run of a fantastical, unauthorized Prince inspired odyssey- Purr, Pull, Reign-as part of the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. 2011 saw the release of their debut album Love is the Message, followed up in 2012 with the self-produced EP Mystic Ticket I: The Pump Fake, 2015’s THE OCTOPUS! (hailed by Philadelphia Magazine as a “thick, sweaty psychedelic masterpiece”)m and a soon-to-be-released EP with legendary producer Joe ”The Butcher” Nicolo (Ruffhouse Records).
The Kick Off Party begins after the performance of Heiner Goebbels’s Songs of Wars I Have Seen in the FringeArts theater, around 10:30pm.