Last night Joey Sweeney (aka founder of played his first solo gig in 5 years at Bar XIX at the Bellevue last night. (Looking a little like Johnny Depp last night, seemingly with the same shyness as a performer too.)Most of the world knows Joey Sweeney as a take no prisoner, no holds barred journalist uncovering the misdeeds and hypocrisy of folks in Philadelphia in an unabashed manner on his site Philebrity since 2004 (I’m a fan of his site, it’s thought provoking, makes me uncomfortable, he’s entertaining, I’m scared of him, and he’s got chutzpah like no other. [when I first came to town he called me the suck the air out of life paparazzi or something like that. I think we got past that stage.]) But did you know that Joey is a jack of all trades when it comes to music. Over the years I’ve attended happenings where Joey was a DJ (now he on air weekly as Philebrity Radio at WXPN on Thursday’s 3pm), party promoter, talent scout, manager, and now he reveals that he’s a musical artist and has been writing songs since he was a teenager in the 1980s; he fronted groups like The Barnabys and The Trouble With Sweeney, and recorded and performed as a solo artist. It was good to see a few friends Jen Oliver, Ruth Carpenter, Collin Flatt, Jimmy Contreras, Matt Vlahos, Kate and Cort Egan.
His bio says his songs and records have received widespread critical acclaim over the years; of his last record with The Trouble With Sweeney, Fishtown Briefcase, Pitchfork said “[Sweeney] mixes autobiography and fiction against the group’s 70s-inflected indie pop, resourceful– and unabashed– enough to digress into an E Street interlude or an AM-rock guitar coda.”
“From 2004 until now, he has mostly shied from performing and recording, focusing instead on his role as Publisher & Editor of the website As 2010 drew to a close, however, Sweeney began stepping back into his old role of singer/songwriter. This special show will be his first solo concert in over half a decade.” The show was good, very moody, thought provoking. The song Black Ice was interesting, about love and loss. Joey wrote the song. Look for more concerts to come, and hopefully another EP. I think we’re going to see a lot more from this guy. In fact Joey says he’s getting a band together, they just need a drummer. Drop him a line if you think you can fit the bill. I have no doubt it will be a successful collaboration. I’d also like to see a few more of these fun musical events at Bar XIX. Years ago I used to attend cabaret shows in this room and they were great. What happened to them?