Caught In A Halestorm At The Shindig! Exclusive Interview!

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(PCM) A few weeks ago we attended The Shindig Music Festival in Baltimore, MD!  The festival was an epic showcase that included some of the most hard-working and diverse bands currently in the scene. The line-up featured artists such as Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, Gogol Bordello, Clutch, Halestorm, The Bots just to name a few.

The festival celebrated a sense of unity among both the artists performing and their fans. The music from each of the band’s performing in some way speaks to the soul of the everyday person and without a doubt we can all find ways in which we relate,.

During The Shindig we were able to catch up with Grammy-winning rockers Halestorm to discuss the band’s festival performance, work on their upcoming new album, tour plans with Eric Church and so much more!

You can view the interview below:

 Photography credit: Ken Schuler for PopCultureMadness.com

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X Japan Take On NYC’s Madison Square Garden

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(PCM) This weekend’s New York Comic Con has been quite the adventure and we were thrilled to cap off our Saturday evening with a performance from X Japan, which marked the band’s largest ever headlining performance at the illustrious Madison Square Garden in the heart of NYC.

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Witnessing X Japan and the always fabulous Yoshiki commandeer the stage was pure magic and enlightening to the senses. There were times that I wasn’t truly sure what I was watching, but all I know is that I was loving every moment. X Japan’s musical style could best be described as a musical mosaic of sorts with the blending of vocal style and instrumentation form a wide variety of both styles and genres with the heart and soul of the performance deeply rooted in rock n’ roll.

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Back home in Japan, Yoshiki and X Japan can sell out 70,000 seat arenas, so to them the 20,000 seat MSG show may have seemed like a step back, however they never showed it and played their hearts out to the rabid fans in attendance who were hypnotized by the band’s every movement on stage.

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Over the years X Japan has struggled to try to make a break in The States, however after witnessing Saturday nights show I can certainly say with confidence that they are well on their way to leaving a mark in a big way. The band’s popularity in North America, as well as, other areas of the world outside of Japan has risen tremendously over the years and Yoshiki claims that it is the band’s goal to rock the entire world.

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One of the things that stood out to me about the New York MSG show was the truly amazing showmanship of this band. We saw lasers and pyro and, of course, some absolutely stellar musicians. Vocalist Toshi has one of the most amazing vocal ranges and Yoshiski was pounding the drums like a true rock god! Hearing songs such as “Drain” and “Silent Jealousy” live was a true treat.

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The band utilized every inch of the MSG stage, that also featured a lengthy catwalk that extended deep into the crowd. One of our favorite moments was witnessing Yoshiki’s drum solo as the entire set slid down the center runaway.

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Being that it was New York Comic Con the band participated in a panel during the convention and certainly had everyone in attendance amped for Saturday night’s performance. The band performed their new tracks “Beneath The Skin” and “Hero” during the performance and there was also filming being done for a documentary. The band also revealed that there is a new album currently in the works.

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For a band that has weathered some terrible tragedies over the years, their fortitude to keep pushing forward is mind-blowing and they certainly deserve much more recognition here in the U.S. than they have had in years past. I feel like this MSG show was a perfect show to set the pace for X Japan and we certainly expect to both see and hear a lot more from them here in the States for years to come.

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 We were able to catch up with X Japan for a press conference interview during Comic Con during which Yoshiki revealed some details about the MSG show as well as what has been going on with the band.

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When asked how the MSG show would compare to the band’s past shows in the States, Yoshiki revealed that this is the first time that the band has brought their full production show to the States, as their past shows have been very organic.

He also spoke about the filming of the band’s documentary and said that we could possibly expect to see it at some of the U.S. and foreign film festivals such as Sundance or Cannes.

Yoshiki also let us know that his fingers are crossed for the upcoming release of the band’s new album would be sometime in mid-2015 and that they plan on partaking in another world tour to support. You can watch the full press conference below:

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Sixx: A.M Announces First Headlining Tour

(PCM) The news that Sixx: A.M. fans have been patiently waiting for has finally arrived. The band has just revealed a string of headlining tour dates that will kick off in early 2015.

The bands brand new album “Modern Vintage” was just released and the band celebrated by live streaming their first live concert performance since 2009 to celebrate the occasion.

After revealing the upcoming touring plans, the band also announced that symphonic rockers Apocalyptica would be joining them as direct support.

The band also will participate in a Reddit AMA on Wednesday morning at 10am PST and do an in-store signing of the new album at the Best Buy store in Berkley, CA at 7:00pm!

A full list of announced tour dates can be found below:

April 8 – San Francisco, Calif., The Regency Ballroom
April 10 – Las Vegas, Nev., The Joint @ Hard Rock Hotel / Casino
April 11 – Los Angeles, Calif., Club Nokia
April 13 – Denver, Colo., Ogden Theatre
April 14 – Kansas City, Mo., Arvest Bank Theatre At The Midland
April 16 – Houston, Texas, Warehouse Live
April 17 – Dallas, Texas, The Bomb Factory
April 19 – Minneapolis, Minn., Mill City Nights
April 20 – Chicago, Ill., Vic Theatre
April 21 – Royal Oak, Mich., Royal Oak Music Theatre
April 23 – Toronto, Ontario, Phoenix Concert Theatre
April 24 – Sayreville, N.J., Starland Ballroom
April 25 – Worcester, Mass., The Palladium
April 27 – New York, N.Y., Best Buy Theater
April 28 – Philadelphia, Pa., Electric Factory
April 29 – Silver Spring, Md., The Fillmore Silver Spring

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Catching Up With Clutch’s Neil Fallon

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(PCM) I was recently out at The Shindig Festival which was held in Balitmore, MD and had a chance to catch up with Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon.

We spoke in-depth about the band’s latest album release, the phenomenal “Earth Rocker”. I expressed to Neil just how much we had enjoyed the album on vinyl, which I highly recommend that everyone check out given the opportunity.

Based out of Maryland, the band tore up the stage at The Shindig and were a perfect choice to be part of the line-up that featured an eclectic mix of artists such as Jane’s Addiction, Gogol Bordello, Rise Against, Halestorm and more.

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All of the bands playing, Clutch included, share a certain spirit that connects with everyday people and that common thread of unity was quite apparent at a festival such as The Shindig.

Clutch recently performed at all three Riot Fest dates in Toronto, Chicago and Denver prior to their appearance at The Shindig. Neil informed us that the band has some plans for the holidays and of course New Years Eve and are also hard at work on a new album that we could see sometime next year.

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You can watch the full interview below:

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Louder Than Life Is Living Up To Its’ Name!

Louder-than-Life(PCM) It is the inaugural year for the Louder Than Life Festival held at Champions Park in Louisville, Kentucky and thus far we can say that it is certainly living up to its’ name.

We have just gotten back to our hotel room to recover from day one of this monster of a two day festival which boasts a line-up that consists of rock n’ roll royalty. Day one brought us performances from bands such as Judas Priest, Korn, Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington, Limp Bizkit, Theory Of A Deadman, Pop Evil, Alterbridge, Otherwise, Thousand Foot Krutch and many many more!

Day one featured a fairly good sized crowd and despite the fact that temperatures dipped fairly low, especially after the sun went down the raw enthusiasm from the crowd never waned. However, that could have something to do with the fabulous variety of bourbon and other spirits that were on-hand throughout the entire day.

We were absolutely blown away by the performance from Judas Priest to close out the first day. Vocalist Rob Halford and the rest of the band sounded utterly fantastic. Halford is always one of my favorite performers to watch in the live environment, as his vocal prowess is second to none. Oh to be able to hit some of those notes … and he does it almost effortlessly.

The band is celebrating their 40th anniversary, however watching them perform it was as if no time had gone by at all and their set was filled with the classic metal staples that we all know and love.

I was able to catch Korn perform back on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival earlier this summer and I had commented after their show in Camden, NJ that I had not seen vocalist Jonathan Davis looking so excited and refreshed as he did during that particular performance. Well, yet again Davis appeared to have discovered some kind of new found zest and excitement just oozes off the stage when watching them perform.

There is definitely no phoning it in with this band and their performances have certainly did more than deliver. Always an epic live band throughout the years, however there is something about now that is working and whatever it is I certainly hope it keeps up, as we are super excited for the band’s upcoming co-headlining run with Slipknot!

Prior to both Judas Priest and Korn taking the stage, we caught sets from both Stone Temple Pilots w/Chester Bennington and Limp Bizkit. While I think that STP feat. Chester Bennington are fabulous, I could not help but note that they brought the energy level in the crowd down just a notch.

The band’s performance was solid and I have to admit that Bennington is certainly holding his own in the band, but after a blazing set from Limp Bizkit and gearing up for Korn, throwing STP on in-between the two just seemed a bit odd and slightly out of place in the days line-up.

Many people continue to have mixed feelings about Limp Bizkit, but I will freely admit that they have always been one of my very favorite bands. Their music, to me, is like a trip down memory lane and back to the late nineties. It was a time when their were more carefree days and Limp Bizkit was definitely part of the soundtrack.

Vocalist Fred Durst has showed no signs of slowing down as he bounced all over the stage, at one point even coming down to the barricade to become a little more up close and personal with the thousands of screaming fans in attendance. Guitarist Wes Borland sounded incredible and it without a doubt one of the most unique and versatile players in modern rock.

The only slight complaints I had about Louder Than Life, and I’m sure many of you who were in attendance will agree, were the incredibly long lines/not enough porta-potties and for some reason the sound on the Main Stage South was fantastic, but Main Stage North at times because a bit muffled and was incredibly heavy on the bass.

The best part about these two-day festival is that we get to go back and do it all again tomorrow!  Stayed tuned for more updates as we catch performances from Kid Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Buckcherry, Chiodos, Hellyeah, Crobot and more!

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UnskinnyPop’s Music Picks Of The Day!

  • In 2013, breakout star Tiara Thomas made headlines with the hit single ‘Bad.’ Now the singer/songwriter is back with the release of her new single, ‘One Night.’ She is currently preparing to release her debut album which will be released by Rico Love’s Division1 imprint, distributed by Interscope Records.

  • For David Archuleta fans, the wait to hear him sing again is over. David came back earlier this year from a 2 year mission in Chile. While working on a secular album for 2015, he took a break to record “Glorious” for the forthcoming film Meet the Mormons.

  • PVRIS  just debuted their mystical new music video for “My House” off their up coming album White Noise available everywhere November 4th via Rise Records.

  • R5, the pop/rock quintet featuring siblings Ross, Rocky, Riker, and Rydel Lynch and best friend Ratliff, have released their third EP “Heart Made You Up”. Check out the video for the album first single and title track now!

  • Odessa revealed the music video for her buzzing single “I Will Be There” on VEVO. In addition to receiving high-profile syncs on Fox’s new comedy-drama Red Band Society and this year’s premiere of Grey’s Anatomy,”I Will Be There” serves as the lead-off single to the artist’s critically applauded Odessa EP [Chop Shop/Republic Records]-available now digitally.

  • Rittz has debuted his brand new video for “Bounce” featuring Twista. The track appears on Rittz’s sophomore album, Next to Nothing, which just dropped on September 9. Rittz will be on tour this fall with Slumerican affiliate Yelawolf and will be releasing other singles from the new album before 2015.

  • Nico & Vinz’ have struck another nerve with their second single “In Your Arms” which has become the #1 most added record at Top 40 radio last week. Led by the song of the summer “Am I Wrong,” their debut album Black Star Elephant will be released on October 14th.The duo has also recorded a new song, “Find A Way” featuring Emmanuel Jal, for the upcoming drama The Good Lie after being inspired by an advance screening.

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Finch Drop New Album! Exclusive Interview!

Finch1(PCM) Finch has just released their first full length album in nine years titled “Back To Oblivion” and without a doubt the band has truly outdone themselves with this brilliant release.

After listening to the album it is quite apparent that the band has pushed themselves above and beyond and what I love is that they are truly not afraid to take some risks with their music.

“Back To Oblivion” is a true statement to the band’s longevity and certainly showcased a deeper and more matured side to the band.

Recently we were able to catch up with Finch guitarist Alex Linares to discuss the band’s new album, touring plans, musical history and more!

We were certainly sure that the band was more than excited to get this highly anticipated album into the hand of listeners. Alex comments “Yeah, it felt like it was taking forever. It was finished a couple of months ago and I am so anxious for people to hear it”.

With this being the band’s first full length album in nine years were were curious about any challenges they may have faced in the studio. Alex tell us “Probably just writing together again. It has been almost ten years since we all sat down to write a whole album together. Before we split up, we tried to write a record and came up with nothing worthy of a third full-length record, but with this album it took about a year of us writing in secret. We were doing all these anniversary shows for the 10th anniversary of “What Is To Burn”, but we were always secretly working on the new material. We just didn’t want to announce it at that point”.

When speaking about tracks on the new album that can definite the mentality in the studio, Alex reveals “We worked really quickly and it was sort of over before it began, but I don’t know if there is really one song that captures the tone of us recording. I think maybe it would be “New Wave”, it is the last song on the record and it was one that was wholly created in the studio. Normally during the recording process each person records their parts separately and they are all put together, however for that song we were all in the studio together, at the same time, working on it, and we created it together. I think that might be an example of the new Finch where we are a bit more united”.

With “Back To Oblivion” Finch were definitely not afraid to experiment some with their sound and create a very unique new album. Alex says that he is “crossing my fingers and toes” that the fans take to it more than they did “Say Hello To Sunshine”. He felt that “Sunshine” caught most people off guard, although some people did love it.

Alex goes on to say ” I have ADD in the studio and I feel it is important for us to keep challenging ourselves with every record, so that will keep us all interested”.

“Two Guns To The Temple” is the first single off of “Back To Oblivion” and we were curious to know what led to the band’s decision for that track in particular to become the single and also if they ever get a feeling about a song and then are surprised by what the fans happen to gravitate towards. Alex comments ” I don’t even pretend to know which song should become the single, usually I’m like ‘Yes, that’s the one’ and the record label and manager types are like “You’re f**king crazy, dude … it’s five and half minutes and you don’t get to the chorus for three and half, so that doesn’t work’! The lead off single was really “Anywhere But Here” as the internet single and fit a little more into the traditional single format.”.

We also spoke in-depth about many of the changes that have taken place within the music industry over the years. Alex reveals ” Five years ago I didn’t want anything to do with a label, but I think how they function now, it makes sense, it works and we are more comfortable with it. So far, Razor & Tie has been a really good home for us. They have not made any sort of ridiculous demands that we have had to deal with from label in the past. They seem to really respect their artists and that is genuinely what artist really want … to be respected.

We also spoke about the up rise of social media and Alex commented “As much as social networks give you access to the band in ways that you or I didn’t have twenty years ago, I mean you had to buy Hit Parader if there was a cool picture of Marilyn Manson or Jonathan Davis in there, now you have this inside peek. You get to see backstage and see how boring it really is (laughs), I think it is kind of good and kind of not good sometimes. It takes some of mystery away.

He goes on to say “When I was thirteen, Korn was my favorite band ever and this last tour we were on tour in Australia and they were on it and seeing Jonathan Davis, like romp around backstage, he looked like the most mega-geek and that’s probably what most people involved with social networks these days really think about the artist’s they see. They take backstage photos and they are just sitting there with a book, reading or something. It’s like someone explaining how the magic trick works and it’s a f**king bummer!”

Currently the band is gearing up for a headlining tour run with Maps & Atlases that is set to begin in a few weeks. Alex also told us that there is some talk about the band headed back to England and some other parts of Europe as well and plan for non-stop touring for the next year and half of so in support of the record.

We mentioned to Alex that it would have to be difficult for the band to craft a set list each night and he replied “The only hard part is not wanting to put too much new material in there. I want to go out and play the new record from beginning to end but I know that would greatly annoy most people that paid for a ticket so I think we will play a good mix of both old and newer material”.

Alex also reveals that one of the great inspirations for the new album was the 10th anniversary show for their seminal album “What Is To Burn”. He says ” To play the album together again was bizarrely easy and running through all the songs, it was like muscle memory. I think feeling such constant enthusiasm for my band and just constant desire for us to not go away after this tour was a great motivator to try our hand at a new record.”

Often times certain information about a band may be misconstrued or misunderstood, we asked Alex if that had ever happened with Finch. He replied “So much!  Usually everything! (laughs) I am not actually a grizzly bear, most people think I am the offspring of some great grizzly mother … that’s not true! No, I’m kidding. People come up with the wildest things and it’s ridiculous. I think the worst on is that people actually think that I’m a d**k. People will come up and talk to me and be like ‘man, we heard you were a d**k, but you’re really great’.  I appreciate that … really.”

Well, we can certainly set the record straight! He is neither bear nor d**khead! Alex along with the rest of Finch are truly great guys that have put together a truly wonderful new album that we certainly urge you all to check out!

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Pink Floyd Reveal New Album Release “The Endless River”

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(PCM) We were absolutely overjoyed when the news was released that there will be a new album from Pink Floyd coming soon. The forthcoming album’s title will be “The Endless River” and it will be the first album of new material from the band in 20 years.

The target release date for the new album will be November 10th, which is perfect time for the start of the holiday season. According to a recent interview with Uncut, David Gilmour and Nick Mason began recording for “The Endless River” back in November of last year and spent about a month overdubbing guitars and recording drums. It was also revealed that producer Phil Manzanera is very involved in the creative process for the upcoming album as well.

Pre-orders for “The Endless River” have already begun and according to the band’s website the album will feature 18 tracks and be available as a standard CD, double vinyl or a deluxe box set which contain about 40 minutes of bonus material.

Much to the additional delight of Floyd fans, the album is also said to feature original organ recordings from Richard Wright, taken from rehearsals dating back to June 1969. The album will be set up into four different pieces and focus on the more atmospheric and digressive aspects of the band. The full track listing for the album can be found below:

The Endless River Tracklist:
01. Things Left Unsaid
02. It’s What We Do
03. Ebb And Flow
04. Sum
05. Skins
06. Unsung
07. Anisina
08. The Lost Art of Conversation
09. On Noodle Street
10. Night Light
11. Allons-y (1)
12. Autumn’68
13. Allons-y (2)
14. Talkin’ Hawkin’
15. Calling
16. Eyes To Pearls
17. Surfacing
18. Louder Than Words

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Waka Flocka Hires Seth Rogen as His Professional Blunt Roller

(PCM) You read that right: Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka has hired everyone’s favorite stoner-comedian, Seth Rogen, to roll his blunts for a year.

This all came about when the rapper put forth into the universe the request for a professional blunt roller, and offered $50k a year for the job.

The “Hard in da Paint” rapper posted an ad for the position on his Instagram account announcing: “IM PAYING 50k A YEAR FOR A BLUNT ROLLER,” and asked his fans and followers to hashtag #ICANROLL in their responses.

A torrent of #ICANROLL posts flooded Waka Flocka’s Instagram feed with some people taking to twitter to reach out to the rapper.

The overwhelming amount of responses should come as no surprise to Flocka seeing how his offer of $50k to roll blunts for a year is more than the average American makes working 40 hour weeks for a year.

Eager to show off their rolling skills, people quickly started posting pictures of everything from your standard pencil-length blunt to extravagant cross-blunts, foot-long blunts, and criss-cross blunts.

It should be noted that Waka Flocka resides in Atlanta, Georgia as his primary place of residence, a city that is currently looking into legalizing marijuana for people 21 years and over.

As it turns out, well known weed-enthusiast/actor/writer/comedian Seth Rogen threw his name into the hat, tweeting at Waka Flocka: “@WakaFlockabsm #icanroll Hit me up.”

It would seem that Waka took the actor’s advice and gave him the job, later posting a picture of Rogen’s tweet to his Instagram with the caption “HIRED #icanROLL #36BRICKHOUSE.”

The rapper then posted a picture from Seth Rogen’s 2008 comedy Pineapple Express with his head photo-shopped onto James Franco’s body with the caption: “First day on the job @SethRogen @3BRICKHOUSE #icanROLL.”

Whether Seth Rogen will be adding “professional blunt roller” to his resume for real or not is yet to be substantiated, but we can only keep our fingers crossed.

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Concert Review: Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers Rocked Philadelphia

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Photography credit: Ken Schuler

(PCM) Music played by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers is the kind that has a way of just reaching out and soothing your soul. I like to compare it a loving embrace from an old friend, like the kind that you share fond memories with and catch up like no time has passed at all.

It was feelings like those that passed over me as I watched Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform during their recent tour stop at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.

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Petty blasted into his set opening with “So You Want To Be A Rock n’ Roll Star?” which nicely set the pace for what was in-store for the rest of the evenings performance. On stage, Petty promised an industrial strength rock show and that is certainly what we received.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Last Dance With Mary Jane” for the second song of the set, but when you have a catalog that is as iconic and full as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers then the hits are sure to pop up quite frequently throughout the performance. The crowd went absolutely wild and the entire floor because a sing-a-long as we all belted out the lyrics to that memorable song.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recently released a brand new album called “Hypnotic Eye” and it is absolutely phenomenal. I was thrilled to hear that some new tracks such as “American Dream Plan B” and the current single “You Get My High” made their way into the set.

The crowd continued to go wild as Petty and the Heartbreakers plowed through hits such as “Into The Great Wide Open”, “Free Fallin'” and “I Won’t Back Down”. It was at the point that an amazing moment occurred during the show. The band decided to change up the set list a little bit and Petty invited show opener, the amazing Steve Winwood to join him and the band on stage.

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The show in Philadelphia marked the first time during this tour that the two artists performed together and their jam session on the hit song “Gimme Some Lovin'” from The Spencer Davis Group with Winwood on vocals was just incredible. Prior to that, Winwood also performed a cover of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” with the band as well. I was absolutely thrilled to be in attendance to watch this performance live!

We found an excellent fan filmed video of the two performing “Gimme Some Lovin” during the Philadelphia, PA show:

The band closed out their set with the hits “Refugee” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream”  and then of course returned to the stage for an epic encore that included “Don’t Come Around Here No More”, “You Wreck Me” and “American Girl”.

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It was an amazing night of rock n’ roll and it proves the spirit is alive and well, especially in Philadelphia!

Click here to see more amazing photos from the show!

 

 

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