The Key's Year-End Mania: Read the 15 most-popular Key stories of 2018 - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Rich Quick | still from video

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. In this installment, we bring you the ten most popular Key stories of the year.

15. Lukas Nelson’s “Fool Me Once” video is an honest travelogue of life on tour – March 29, 2018

There’s no debauchery or lear jets; no mobs being fended off by security detail. Instead, we see the more honest perspective: long drives of flat scenery out the van window or dark highways out the dashboard ahead, the arrival that the empty venue and the odd serenity of playing a piano when nobody else is listening.

14. Live From The 215: Exploring Philly’s 90s underground rap scene – July 24, 2018

Throughout the 80s, Philly Hip Hop had evolved into a dynamic cultural force. The music could be heard in clubs, skating rinks, parks, rec centers, street corners and block parties throughout North Philly, South Philly, West Philly, South West, Germantown, Logan, West Oak Lane, Mt Airy, Wynnefield and all points in between. As a child, I was fortunate enough to witness this all first hand.

13. Scenes from the 57th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival – August 21, 2018

Even with a lineup that included everyone from legends like Patty Griffin and David Bromberg to newer names like Valerie June to Philly locals like Kuf Knotz and Matt Santry — and a long list of others — the essence of the festival cannot be summed up by the artists that were there or the songs that were sung, but rather by the sense of community and excitement that has been filling the rural setting of Upper Salford Township, Pennsylvania each August for 57 years. Thankfully, photographer Lisa Schaffer was there to capture it all.

12. The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hermetically Sealed: Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Dawes at the Wells Fargo Center – August 25, 2018

Mellifluous multi-part harmonies from Lynne and his chorus of male and female singers had the signature, airless precision of its decade-first-gleaming: the 70s of Queen, 10CC and the Bee Gess. You could bounce a quarter off the wall of voices that made the haunting opening number “Standin’ in the Rain” purr, or the bouncy, ebullient “Evil Woman” and the stop-and-start “All Over the World,” that followed.

11. The Electric Factory is now North Seventh? Unless you can think of a better name. – September 12, 2018

Reports trickled in this morning that the iconic Ben Franklin head was no longer perched atop the Callowhill building that houses the 23-year-old venue. And though the venue’s website appears to be intact, its Instagram page has been rebranded @northseventhphilly — a placeholder account uses its former name @efactoryphilly to redirect — and the page now has a Bowery Presents icon for its profile pic.

10. Listen to The Allman Brothers Band take the stage at Swarthmore College in 1970 – May 2, 2018

The recording was done on 1/4-inch tape at WSRN, the college radio station, which was 300 yards away and connected to the stage by a wire. It was usually used to record public speakers, but they figured what the heck, let’s record the Allman Brothers too.

9. Nostalgia Ultra: Rising Philly star Orion Sun fuses decades of classic music into something new and bold – February 22, 2018

The one-woman project of Jersey-born, Philly-based singer, producer, and multiinstrumentalist Tiffany Majette crafts music that is relatable, and cathartic. With clever lyrics and mellow beats, it feels like she’s soundtracking my tumultuous young adult life. She makes songs to dance to, cry to, fall in love to. I recently got the chance to sit down with her and ask her all about it.

8. Listen to a classic Grateful Dead performance at the Spectrum, September 21st 1972 – September 21, 2018

Throw a dart at a calendar and you’ve got a decent shot at hitting the anniversary of a Grateful Dead show at the Spectrum. The band had a storied history with the classic Philly venue. It was the only site they played in every decade from the 60’s to the 90s’s. This very special soundboard recording comes from just the second of the Dead’s fifty-three Spectrum appearances.

7. Listen to an incredible recording of Elliott Smith at Princeton, NJ’s Terrace Club in April of 1997 – April 12, 2018

Before he made a beautifully understated suit-clad performance at the Oscars, before his Figure 8 album cover turned the mural at 4330 West Sunset Boulevard into a L.A. tourist destination, before he tragically died at age 34, Elliott Smith was a singer with an acoustic guitar and some beautifully sad songs, traveling the country and playing gigs.

6. Radiohead reign over the Wells Fargo Center – August 3, 2018

In an instant, it was like no time had passed. For the two hours and change that followed, it was like time ceased to exist altogether. Along with the rest of the rapt audience, I was treated to a transfixing, transcendent night of music—the first of two in Philly that closed out the band’s tour for 2016’s elegant A Moon Shaped Pool—that simultaneously felt like catching up with an old friend and discovering a new favorite artist all over again.

5. Watch Tina Fey lead a band of 18th century Eagles fans on SNL – February 4, 2018

Watch below as Upper Darby native Tina Fey leads a band of 1775 Eagles fans (Mikey Day and Keenan Thompson), while dropping references to the Schuylkill, Wawa hoagies, and greased poles.

4. R.I.P. Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, gone at 46 – January 15, 2018

That song famously closed with a wordless, indelible melody sung by O’Riordan and her then-partner Mike Mahoney, the last 20 seconds of it sung in a moving a cappella — a riveting performance by the frontwoman that was unconventional in the heavy rock era of MTV and alternative radio, but it also stood out amid the fray for that exact reason.

3. Neil Young has secrets, and at least two of them will be at the Tower Sept 30 and Oct 1 – September 21, 2018

Do you know if he’s really married to Daryl Hannah? I don’t. Do you know if he’s ever releasing those self-recorded Crazy Horse albums or that cartoon “Trans” film, he mentioned a while back? Doesn’t he have several clandestine albums in the works? Probably.

2. Banned In Philly: Watch Metallica’s infamous CoreStates Center parking lot concert from November 11, 1997 – November 11, 2018

“You’ll have noise and traffic congestion. If the heavy-metal rock group wants to hold a concert here, why not hold it inside the CoreStates Spectrum? And if you’re putting all these Beavis and Butt-Heads in the parking lot, where are you going to park the cars?”

1. R.I.P. Rich Quick, a unifying voice on the Philly hip-hop scene – September 7, 2018

For those who didn’t know him, Rich appeared to be an unassuming guy, but if the cassette tape necklace that he was often seen wearing was any hint, it would have led the curious to numerous mixtapes and albums that the artist released.

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