TONIGHT: Free Jazz Hands

Mage Hand 3


Philly’s Mage Hand began as a three-piece instrumental video-game-inspired prog-rock outfit in 2014, with founding members, Sam Palmer (keys), Dallas Conrad (drums), and Mark Tocco (bass). Having recently gained a guitarist and a second keyboardist, they exist now as a five-piece, self-proclaimed “battle jazz” band. I came across them at a house venue in Bluebell called The Stoop where my friend’s jazz fusion band, Kingfisher, was the preceding act, and Dallas happened to join in on my footbag circle before the bands started. Little did I know that the sweaty, shirtless, denim-vest-wearing stranger was the drummer of one of the most exciting bands in Philly today. The show they put on that night was one that I was certainly not prepared for; their music is turbocharged with rhythm-changing freakouts. Imagine progressive Nintendo music on crack. Yeah, this ain’t your dad’s prog. With their recent expansion, they’ve taken on even more sounds and ideas. What’s most impressive about Mage Hand is their jaw-droppingly tight performances, as each member is perfectly in sync despite the unpredictable nature of their music, which is comparable to watching a flubber-covered football bounce endlessly across a field of large, jagged rocks. It’s quite a thing to behold. Since their 2015 debut EP, Blow Up the Moon, Mage Hand haven’t released new music, though they regularly play unreleased material live, and are currently working on a new album with no known release date. You can see them tonight at Creep Records and tomorrow night at The Meadow. Let the buyer be weird. — KYLE WEINSTEIN