Weekend Warrior, December 3 – 5

Published on The Deli Philadelphia – Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

Imagine you’re sitting in the back of a pub in the heart of a small mountain village in Serbia. The floor, sticky with the sudsy remnants of pint glasses clashing in fits of rage and vigor, vibrates beneath your feet. The full, boisterous crowd moves around you, feet stomping, hands clapping, bodies swinging. And the music, just your local variety of Balkan and gypsy melodies but it sends bolts of sonic lightning through your bones anyways because the energy is just that intense. Now imagine you’re actually in Johnny Brenda’s tonight, watching a four-hour sonic mêlée between New York’s Slavic Soul Party! and our hometown West Philadelphia Orchestra(WPO plays at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.; SSP! plays at 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.). The two collectives, whose member sizes can tip the double digitals, play a spirited soundscape of standard Eastern European folk-dance rhythms interweaved with modern decadence – a grandiloquent wall of sound that bolsters deep brass wallops and colliding percussion knocks. But they also come with their own intricacies: Slavic Soul Party! takes the ritual of the Balkan brass band bravado and mixes it with the scorching  vitality of Western techno, funk, jazz, gospel and Latin traits, while the 14-member West Philadelphia Orchestra adheres more to traditional regional refrains, like the dusky ballads of Romania and the wedding hooplas of Bulgaria, and infuses it with jazz and classical charms. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it would be one hell of a celebration. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10 adv/$12 door, 21+

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