I have a new original Christmas song, “The 25th Kick Down” premiering on Jon Solomon’s 25-Hour Holiday Radio Show on WPRB Princeton 103.3 and wprb.com. The program runs from 5pm EST December 24th until 6pm on Christmas Day: 25 hours, 1 DJ, no sleep, no repeats. If you’re not already familiar, it gets delightfully strange, especially during the overnight. Please tune in.
After it airs, my song will appear as a pay-what-you-want download here, on my bandcamp page. In the meantime you can listen to my previous contributions to the WPRB Holiday Show here and here.
Very sad to hear of the sudden passing of Jaimie Branch yesterday. She was an engaging bandleader and improviser. She played a magical solo set on the double decker in 2019 and it was an honor to open for her on the bus that evening.
She was delightfully goofy during our few times together, and she could be very playful in her music. But she also made sounds that acknowledged the f’d up nature of the world today. In particular I’ll always remember how PERFECTLY her set with FlyOrDie hit in 2016 at Boot and Saddle soon after THAT guy got elected. Her and the band gave me exactly the music I needed that night.
She will be greatly missed, though we are very lucky to have so many wonderful recordings of her music that will live on.
Download this, put on some headphones, go outside and take your own tour! I made you a mix, dear Double Decker Music Series supporter: Everything Is Cool.
I hope these 65 continuous minutes of juxtaposed songs and sounds create a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. I want this mix to color your experience as you walk around Philadelphia or elsewhere….or even just color your bedroom ceiling as you lie still , if that’s where you best like to listen to things. As with the bus series, I want these sounds and the sights around you to interact serendipitously.
These are anxious times. Often things feels doomy and apocalyptic, but walking around with headphones on listening to a good mix has always made me feel better. Perhaps it makes you feel better too?
These days we seem to ask each other a lot: “how you doing?” We’re so overwhelmed with just getting through, maybe we don’t know what else to say? When I get asked that question, I often don’t want to delve into the caustic loop of COVID, climate change, threats to abortion access, systemic racism, and capitalist catastrophe in my mind. So I’ll say “everything is cool.” Inside though I’m screaming those words like a wreck at the edge of disintegration, just like Vanessa Briscoe Hay does in the opening song of this mix .
That “everything is cool” dichotomy was the jumping off point for the mix and I built it up from there. I hope it resonates with you.
I recommend a “blind ears” 1st listen without looking at the song list below. Genre-wise, it’s all over the place, but it makes perfect sense to me. Afterwards you should buy some stuff from the individual artists! I provided bandcamp links where they apply.
The cover art is a picture I snapped of the Ida-flooded Schuylkill River looking towards the South St, Bridge on September 2nd.
I get the feeling sometimes that folks rarely check websites anymore, with all updates instead coming from social media. Still it’s been so long since I’ve posted here, I figured I’d say “hi.” It’s me, Sebastian Petsu, the main person behind DDMS. I’m healthy and have stayed relatively sane despite the obvious challenges. The rest of the core team that’s helped put on past shows— Bob Sweeney, Scott Troyan, Maria T, Andy Thierauf and Dustin Hurt are also alive and well.
Some people have asked me when the Double Decker Music Series will start back up, and I’ll respond here honestly: I don’t know when or even IF we’ll host any more DDMS events. I definitely want to err on the side of caution when it comes to COVID safety. Safe small-scale outdoor live events seem a very real possibility for the summer but potential restrictions don’t work well with the layout of the bus. We really can’t have any “distancing” on the top of bus. To make sure everyone gets fairly paid and to create a proper atmosphere, the DDMS needs every available seat to be filled. So it feels uncertain that we could host bus events in a sustainable way.
Also, even before the pandemic hit I was thinking that perhaps it was time to wrap up the DDMS. After hosting 44 different sonic sets in the span of 22 evening over the course of 7 years I asked myself “has the series achieved all it can?” And I started to think that maybe it had.
So the TDLR version is I currently have no plans to put on any double decker events in 2021. As for 2022 and beyond, who knows? All of this is subject to change and there could possibly be spin-off events put on under the DDMS umbrella.
If there’s any news about upcoming events, it will be posted here and first sent to email subscribers.
We hope everyone is hanging in and taking goods care of themselves and their neighbors during this tense time. It probably isn’t a big surprise at this point, but it seems unlikely we’ll be able to host any DDMS events in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns and restrictions.
We are also saddened and angered by the recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police and the ongoing systemic injustice, brutality and murder that black Americans have experienced at the hands of police nationwide. We support demonstrations that aim to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism. While the core team that puts on these shows is predominantly white, we hope that even in a quiet way, our performer choices and tour narration have reiterated our belief here that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
We are a work in progress, and while the future of the series is uncertain, you can always reach us via the contact if you have questions, recommendations for future programming, or even great bits of Black Philly history that deserve more attention! We’re listening. We can do better.
On a somewhat lighter, but related note, the Frank Rizzo statute in Philly that we’ve driven by during most DDMS events has FINALLY been removed. The statue has long been an uncomfortable reminder of police brutality and we’re glad to see it gone. We hope it can be replaced with other art that instead affirms the value of Black communities in our city. In the meantime enjoy this 3 minute video megamix video assembled by Bob Sweeney highlighting the DDMS’ run-ins with the statue over the years. Good riddance…
And in light of a criminal justice system still stacked against Black Americans we encourage you to donate to Philly Bail Fund
We closed out our 7th season on the bus with August 25th 2019’s
performances by Seraiah Nicole and Rosali. You can turn back that strange-moving clock and take a seat up top right HERE thanks to Bob Sweeney’s great video documentation. And for the first time ever, this edition of DDMS includes pyrotechnics. SERIOUSLY!
We now have clips from every single DDMS event posted in our Past Events section. While you’re staying at home, you can cozy up on the couch and mitigate that existential dread and distanced boredom by spending an epic 4 hours (virtually) on top of the bus if you want to watch them all. GO FOR IT!
Stay safe. Be well. Never doubt I’m feeling it too.
I hope y’all are staying healthy, washing those hands, maintaining safe distances, and having solo dance parties to good tunes while staying at home. Here’s the wild night where we turned 21 episodes old back on July 28th 2019. Under the “(Darkly)” moniker, host Sebastian did a rare live tape-manipulation set letting radio waves bleed in as they might. Then Jaimie Branch ripped it up on trumpet, all pocketed and pedaled through. Video by the indefatigable Mr. Bob Sweeney is now UP HERE.
Ease those COVID 19 anxieties with some DDMS 20. Finally, HERE is Bob Sweeney’s video featuring Ursula Rucker and Madam Data from July 2019– a seemingly distant time when we felt comfortable sitting on a bus with our bare shoulders touching friends and strangers. The rough sound, born out of some technical difficulties, is sort of a blessing-in-disguise. It gives the home viewer a more “you’re almost there” experience than ever before, with all the sounds of the bus and the city bleeding in. You can almost smell the diesel fumes! And in these cooped up distanced times, it’s sort of refreshing.
Madam Data’s electronics are a meditation and Ursula Ruckers’s poem is a celebration of this flawed yet beautiful city, made up of so many of us.
The Double Decker Music Series is a unique, intimate mobile concert experience on an open-top double-decker bus. It features live performances in an urban setting paired with a guided tour of Philadelphia’s attractions.
The series ran 2013-2019 and is currently on indefinite hiatus.