September 21, 2019
We’re wrapping up the Fringe Festival with an electrifying performance by Johnny Showcase!
A 10-piece absurdist soul outfit based in Philadelphia, Johnny Showcase is an innovative, joyful tour-de-force that blissfully toes the line between performance art and psychedelic soul revival. Carrying the torch of funk-rock pioneers like Funkadelic and Frank Zappa, they have gained a massive following and propelled Johnny to 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, co-produced with Henry Hirsch (Lenny Kravitz, Mick Jagger), followed up in 2012 with the self-produced EP Mystic Ticket I: The Pump Fake.
Their 2015 follow-up album THE OCTOPUS! was hailed by Philadelphia Magazine as a “thick, sweaty psychedelic masterpiece”.
“One of “8 Philly Bands You Should Be Listening to Right Now” —Philadelphia Magazine
“Johnny Showcase is a soul train back to the ’70s…” —Lindsay Lazarski, newsworks.org
“The juxtaposition of timeless, sexcentric suavity with neurotically smarmy charm is so sublimely absurd as to be almost perfect.” —Philadelphia City Paper