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West Philadelphia Orchestra and Johnny Showcase @ Underground Arts.

July 15, 2014

West Philadelphia Orchestra

Text and images by Darragh Dandurand.

It’s hard not to party when the West Philadelphia Orchestra kicks its way through two straight sets.

Last Thursday night, Underground Arts hosted a Balkan Dance Party with Philly’s pied pipers of Eastern European jazz. In the shadowy glow of UA’s colorful lights, the brassy booms of the Orchestra bumped and bounced off of the concrete walls. There was standing room only and no one stood still.

Pumped up by the funky jazz rhythms of Johnny Showcase, whose eccentric singers rocked hippie hair, zebra pants and glittery gowns, the crowd mulled about the front of the stage like lost children as they waited after Showcase’s set. Their expectant looks perked up every time they saw someone emerge from behind a show curtain, only to be disappointed when they realized it was a security guard.

When the Orchestra finally set up, nonchalant expressions on all the musicians’ faces, they seemed to nod approval to one another, preparing to rumble through the rest of the night. Like a big family reunion, the slowly growing crowd burst with happiness and handclaps as saxophones, clarinets, tubs and trumpets where raised up. Song after song, the Orchestra had the audience mesmerized with its music and mingling to its beat.

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