World Café Live (philly.worldcafelive.com) hosted a variety of Philadelphia’s best up-and-coming musicians at the annual Beta Hi-Fi Emerging Music Festival. From the approximately 100 entries, WCL selected only 24 bands to play from August 18-23, 2014. From 7-10pm Monday-Saturday, 4 acts took the stage per night. At the end of each evening, the audience voted for their favorite who advanced to Sunday night’s culminating performance.
WaveRadio, RFA, Elspeth Tremblay, Nalani and Sarina, Valerie Broussard, and Allie Carroll played to a packed house Upstairs at WCL on August 24, 2014. Three judges from the industry observed the performances as well. John Vettese of The Key, XPN’s local blog, sat on the panel along with Christianna LaBuz of World Café Live at The Queen (Wilmington, DE) and Jennifer Logue of Rock On Philly. At the end of the night, each performer scored an award packet based on the judges’ discretions.
Marley McNamara, a local artist manager, emceed the event. “In 2012, I discovered The Districts here at Beta Hi-Fi,” she said. “This is such a great event and venue to find local talent.” She explained that the judges assign the prizes to each band based on pre-determined criteria. “Whatever they feel artists need the most, wherever they seem to be in their careers, whatever levels they’re at, there’s a package for that which helps each band progress.”
Elspeth Tremblay (elspethtremblaymusic.com), a singer/songwriter/guitarist originally from Canberra, Australia, took home the Expanding-the-Sound package. “I’m so pleased to win this,” Tremblay said of the bundle that offers music lessons, Über gift cards, and credit at Awesome Dudes Printing. “And I’m honored to play amongst this talented group of musicians.”
RFA (rfaband.com), a self-categorized garage/indie/rock n’ roll foursome, was equally thrilled with their In-the-Studio prize. Dan Cousart (guitar) and Alec Powell (drums) are the lead singers of the band, supported by Christian Turzo (guitar) and Steve McAlee (bass). “Oh, wow, this is exactly what we wanted, everything we hoped for,” they gushed. “We’re especially excited about the ten hours of free recording time.” They took home Über gift cards as well.
The soulful duo Nalani and Sarina (nalanisarina.com), brought the crowd to its feet. “We really want to bring back that old school soul sound of the 60s-70s,” Nalani said. “Our idols are Otis Redding and Carole King. We want our music to get people dancing, moving.” Her twin sister Sarina added, “It’s important to us that our music resonates with audiences.” The two won the Ready-to-Promote package that offers a sit-down with artist manager Biff Kennedy, the President/Managing Director at Charterhouse Music Group (biffco.com). Additionally, they took home an advertising credit from Tri-State Indie (tristateindie.com).
Wave Radio (waveradiomusic.com) won the On-Stage package including photography by Lisa Schaffer (skylerbug.smugmug.com), advertising with Tri State Indie, and the chance to perform in February 2015 at the Tri State Indie Award Show at World Café Live. Valerie Broussard (valeriebroussardmusic.com) earned the Best of All Worlds package, while Allie Carroll (alliecarrollmusic.com) took home Feed the Beat, featuring lots of Taco Bell gift cards that come in handy for bands like hers who spend days on the road between gigs.
World Café Live offers an excellent venue to appreciate live music, especially events like Beta Hi-Fi which specifically showcase local musicians. The intimate setting allows the audience to interact with the bands and vice versa. Plus, guests order food and drink from a full bar and menu. Furthermore, the performers often wander the crowd between sets, greeting fans and making friends. In other words, this is the perfect place for bands to build their followings, hear what their fans love about them, and offer appreciation to those fans.
The additional highlight of WCL is that it caters to all types of music. This is especially evident at an event like Beta Hi-Fi. When and where else can music lovers sit in one room for three hours and have all of their musical taste buds tantalized? From the haunting melodies of a guitarist, to the soulful, hip-swinging blends of a duo, to the metallic refrains of a foursome and more, audiences walk away feeling musically fulfilled. . .until the next concert.
For the next concert, visit philly.worldcafelive.com for information about shows, ticket prices, menus, and more.
Staff Writer: Jann Simmons Andiamo