The Stone Foxes

The Stone Foxes

John the Conqueror, Black Stars

Thu, April 4, 2013

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

The Stone Foxes
The Stone Foxes
They don't smoke pot. They don't stay up all that late, since they like to run in the morning. Do they drink? Hell, yes! But not to excess. If you're looking to be a groupie, but don't want it to interfere with your career or personal life, the Stone Foxes are an excellent choice.

But they play like a dirty, dirty blues rock band, the kind that does things with underage girls and fishes and make for great biographies 50 years later. On stage, they swap instruments, switch lead singers, and sweat so much that they must have to replace equipment more regularly than Pete Townshend. I saw them rock out an audience of Google employees so hard that they all wound up on the stage. If they can do that to Google employees, imagine what they can do to people who aren't so rich they can pay other people to dance for them.

Shannon Koehler, who looks and acts a lot like Chris Pratt in Parks and Recreation, and his older brother Spence, grew up in Watts Valley. That's about an hour east of Fresno, which is about two and a half hours from anywhere you'd want to be. I know enough about rock bands to know that means that in the not-too-distant future, Shannon and Spence will hate each other. So enjoy the band while you can.

Aaron Mort, who also coincidentally grew up in the Fresno foothills, met Spence in the dorms at San Francisco State. When Shannon moved up for college a few years later, the three formed The Stone Foxes. In 2011, they added Elliott Peltzman, who is probably the only person they ever met nicer and less threatening than they are. They played San Francisco constantly, writing their songs onstage as they played. They are the anti-YouTube sensations.

The new album, Small Fires, finally gives them their own studio sound. The first song, Everybody Knows, sounds like the soundtrack to a very late night spent walking home alone, if you were a guy full of passion and turmoil and harmonicas; I'll be surprised if Martin Scorsese doesn't use it. It's the kind of song you want to listen to a lot so you can get lost in it when you hear it live.

For a band with such a distinctive sound, the album shows a lot of range. You could play So Much Better to get in the pants of your summer girlfriend, Small Fires when you're full of rage at your parents for just not getting you, Goodnight Moon when you're alone on the porch smoking pot wondering why you were so hard on your parents and didn't take it slower with that nice girl you met last summer.

Small Fires is as polished as they'll ever be. You can even understand the lyrics. It still sounds dirty, but it's a clean dirty. Kind of like the guys themselves. These are guys who worry about where to take girls on dates. For 50 years, guys have gotten into rock for the girls and drugs. The Stone Foxes might be the first band to get into rock for the rock. And you can hear all of that nice guy, Bay Area, liberal repression burst out on this album. It's raw and bluesy. I don't know where it comes from. But I get the feeling you have to know these guys a long time before you figure that out.
John the Conqueror
John the Conqueror
In December 2010, Mike sold his bass and bought a drum kit. Pierre bought a cheap microphone and plugged it into a practice amp. Like their good ol’ days growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, they were playing the blues! Within weeks of forming their two-piece juke group, they met Ryan Lynn. The friendship came immediately and once Ryan picked up the bass, the music quickly followed. By combining musical elements from the genres they loved, the songs poured out in an inspired fury. Only three months after meeting, they chose the name of the folkloric slave hero, John the Conqueror, and took to the stage playing their own blend of the southern rock from their childhoods, the punk of their adolescence and the blues and soul they had always held closely. With a little help from the fabled John the Conqueror magical powers, Patrick Boiselle (Alive Naturalsound Records) signed the eleven-month-old group after seeing a video of the first song they’d written, “Ain’t Comin Home.”
With their October 2012 self-titled release, John the Conqueror resurrected a forgotten tale and added to that mythos. Blues Matters! Magazine (UK) says, 'This debut is dependable, solid and timeless.' About the lead single, Brian Mansfield of USA Today writes: 'Time To Go: This raw, bluesy old-school soul track is just one of many gems on this Philadelphia trio's debut album.' Vinyl Under Review adds, 'John the Conqueror's music is loaded with attitude, but not a speck of pretension. This is no frills, from the gut rock and roll and the impact is immediate.'
Recently, the three returned to Retrocity Studios to record their second album. "Once Upon A Time" will be released in 2014, and if they have a little magic left, the world may yet know the legend of John the Conqueror.
Black Stars
Black Stars
"Black Stars are proof that rock music is fun. Now is the time to catch this band at a live show — they are young and raw, and loud, and electrifying, and a little insane, and probably only going to get more popular. I think they are a band to keep an eye on."
-S.B. Hider

"Black Stars defy ordinary. Four young men from Marlton, NJ are devoted in starting their own renaissance in the Greater Philadelphia area. Here music can be upbeat, groovy, and sexy. Here, music still moves."
-Stefan Schultz

"These guys are good musicians and they clearly enjoy playing together in a supportive manner without a lot of interfering ego, and that combination is unusual, electric and compelling."
-S.B. Hider

"From surreal to animated, melancholy to gratifying, this Philadelphia-based funk-rock band creates music that displays all emotions of not just the human mind, but of the human soul."
-Angela Weeks

Black Stars is a band lead by singer/guitarist Nik Greeley and was formed in the late summer of 2010 with his good friend and bassist, Freshy. Black Stars have built a reputation for putting on a very exciting, high energy live show, with a style steeped in Rock, Funk, Soul, Psychedelic and Alternative.
Venue Information:
MilkBoy Philly
1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107