Fred Armisen Brings Surprise Guests to Underground Arts

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By Shannen Gaffney

Last Thursday night Fred Armisen put on one of the coolest variety shows Underground Arts has ever seen. A little bit comedy, a little bit music, and even a little bit of one-on-one conversation, there wasn’t a dull moment throughout.

Underground Arts announced on Facebook that Fred would be bringing  “a surprise legendary guitar player” just hours before the show. After an opening musical set by his British SNL character “Ian Rubbish,” then doing some jokes as himself, he soon brought out the truly legendary J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. The first song they played together was Dino’s “Feel the Pain”. They also played “Massachusetts Afternoon” by the Blue Jean Committee (an SNL sketch which featured Jason Segel on piano) and had the whole crowd singing along to the ridiculous lyrics about apple cider. He ended this portion of the show with “It’s a Lovely Day,” another Ian Rubbish song. Armisen played the song in character on his last SNL performance in May, where many of his musician friends including Kim Gordon, Aimee Mann, Carrie Brownstein,  Michael Penn, and Mascis joined him on stage.

In addition to this short but awesome set, the crowd enjoyed previewing clips from the new season of Portlandia that will air “in early 2014” according to IFC’s website, and another surprise musical guest, Kurt Vile!

Towards the end of the show Fred spent a good twenty minutes answering questions from the crowd. His response to  a question about whether it’s frustrating working with SNL hosts who are not actors reflected his optimistic and quirky personality: “I’m going to sound like such a wimp, but the idea of greatness is overrated. When someone is great, I’m bored. When something’s a little off, I’m fascinated!”

Words to live by.

To reiterate our Tennis review, Underground Arts is currently Philly’s coolest and most unique venue; if for nothing else, go for the great $2 popcorn they’re now selling at the bar. You can see a list of their their upcoming events here.

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Top Played Artists 6/4/2013 – 6/11/2013

1 WILD NOTHING Empty Estate (Captured Tracks)
2 DEERHUNTER Monomania (4AD)
3 RESTORATIONS LP2 (SideOneDummy)
4 MIKAL CRONIN MCII (Merge)
5 LAURA STEVENSON Wheel (Don Giovanni)
6 THEE OH SEES Floating Coffin (Castle Face)
7 BORN RUFFIANS Birthmarks (Yep Roc)
8 GRANDCHILDREN Golden Age (Earnest Jenning)
9 SAVAGES Silence Yourself (Matador)
10 TERA MELOS X’ed Out (Sargent House)
11 MOUNT KIMBIE Cold Spring Fault Less Youth (Warp)
12 FRONT BOTTOMS Talon Of The Hawk (Bar/None)
13 ALPINE A Is For Alpine (Votive)
14 WAVVES Afraid Of Heights (Warner Brothers)
15 MAL BLUM Tempest In A Teacup (Betterweather)
16 KURT VILE Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Matador)
17 FLAMING LIPS The Terror (Warner Brothers)
18 IO ECHO Ministry Of Love (Iamsound)
19 BROTHERS IN LAW Hard Time For Dreamers (WWNBB)
20 IRON AND WINE Ghost On Ghost (Nonesuch)
21 TELEKINESIS Dormarion (Merge)
22 SHE AND HIM Volume 3 (Merge)
23 JAMES BLAKE Overgrown (Republic)
24 THERMALS Desperate Ground (Saddle Creek)
25 AKRON/FAMILY Sub Verses (Dead Oceans)
26 STILL CORNERS Strange Pleasures (Sub Pop)
27 GENERATIONALS Heza (Polyvinyl)
28 ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER Personal Record (Merge)
29 SHANNON AND THE CLAMS Dreams In The Rat House (Hardly Art)
30 BOMBINO Nomad (Nonesuch)

Top Played Artists 5/21/13 – 5/28/13

1    DEERHUNTER    Monomania  (4AD)
2    RESTORATIONS    LP2  (SideOneDummy)
3    THEE OH SEES    Floating Coffin  (Castle Face)
4    LAURA STEVENSON    Wheel  (Don Giovanni)
5    TERA MELOS    X’ed Out  (Sargent House)
6    MIKAL CRONIN    MCII  (Merge)
7    TELEKINESIS     Dormarion  (Merge)
8    WILD NOTHING    Empty Estate  (Captured Tracks)
9    WAVVES    Afraid Of Heights  (Warner Brothers)
10    BORN RUFFIANS    Birthmarks  (Yep Roc)
11    SAVAGES    Silence Yourself  (Matador)
12    IRON AND WINE    Ghost On Ghost  (Nonesuch)
13    ALPINE    A Is For Alpine  (Votive)
14    KURT VILE    Wakin On A Pretty Daze  (Matador)
15    FLAMING LIPS    The Terror  (Warner Brothers)
16    SHE AND HIM    Volume 3  (Merge)
17    BLEACHED    Ride Your Heart  (Dead Oceans)
18    GRANDCHILDREN     Golden Age  (Earnest Jenning)
19    JAMES BLAKE    Overgrown  (Republic)
20    BROTHERS IN LAW    Hard Time For Dreamers  (WWNBB)
21    MAL BLUM    Tempest In A Teacup  (Betterweather)
22    GENERATIONALS    Heza  (Polyvinyl)
23    KATE NASH    Girl Talk  (Have 10p)
24    NO JOY    Wait To Pleasure  (Mexican Summer)
25    BLACK ANGELS    Indigo Meadow  (Blue Horizon)
26    PISSED JEANS    Honeys  (Sub Pop)
27    YOUTH LAGOON    Wondrous Bughouse  (Fat Possum)
28    FRONT BOTTOMS    Talon Of The Hawk  (Bar/None)
29    THE KNIFE    Shaking The Habitual  (Mute)
30    STILL CORNERS    Strange Pleasures  (Sub Pop)