Rockin’ with the Bacons

My ears are still ringing from last night’s “Bacon Brothers, A Night with the Mummers”  concert at the Electric Factory…the music yes, but also the cranked up IFB needed as I emceed the concert in house and on tv…but mostly what I hear in my mind today is the spirit of unity, the community pride, the professionalism of Kevin and Michael Bacon and their band and the awesome quality of the “amateur” Mummer musicians who joined them on stage.

What an evening!  A couple of thousand people jammed the Electric Factory on a raw, snowy night to rock with the Bacon Brothers Band, to raise awareness about the Mummers and to raise money to continue the tradition of America’s oldest and largest folk parade.  Polish American String Band set the tone at the start and the Bacon Brothers Band then ignited the crowd.  A fabulous set that included “Tell Me What I Have To Do,” “Wild Life,” “Bunch of Words,” covers of  The Beatles, “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl,” and The Stone’s, “Last Time,” new material, “Whole Lotta Shade,” and much, much more, including an in-voice and vibrant Bunny Sigler letting the good times roll.  And, it all happened in a performance captured live on myphl17 in Philadelphia.

The concert came about because Kevin had written the song, “New Year’s Day” about a young Philadelphia native trapped in L.A., longing for home and the significance of the Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day.  Michael then heard about the Mummers financial worries with the financially-strapped City of Philadelphia cutting back support and came up with the idea of a new version of the song with Mummers on the track, making a video and putting on a live fundraising concert.  Kevin told me that he never imagined when he wrote the song that it would become an anthem for thousands of Mummers.  The Bacons went into a studio with Bunny Sigler for the new version and video with an all-star collection of more than 2 dozen Mummers.  Kevin says it’s “really cool” that real Mummers are on the song.  Michael deserves credit for mixing some 140 tracks to make the Mummed-up version of “New Year’s Day.”  He also trusted the legendary former Fralinger String Band Music Director Herb Smith to develop the arrangement and Smith struck just the right chord.   There’s a power and an honesty in that arrangement, much like the Bacons music generally, and in the concert last night, each an avenue for telling a story that deserves to be told.

The concert raised money for the tradition, but also served as an opportunity to showcase to the city what is often not known.  That includes the tax revenue the Mummers bring in, their countless charitable works, the cohesiveness of neighborhoods by their presence and the goodwill ambassadors they are from Ireland to Italy and Massachusetts to Texas.  The Bacon Brothers left the crowd wanting more.  That might happen in an even bigger way than any encore.   After the concert, Michael told me, “See you next year!”  A new chapter in the storied multi-century Mummers tradition just may have begun.  But no matter what will  be done, last night was as golden as the “golden slippers” Michael Bacon proudly wore throughout the 2 hour show.

19 Responses

  1. Great Job Steve! What a cool night!

  2. Steve – great job Saturday night. What a show! Thanks so much for your tireless support!

  3. It was an amazing night!! I came up from the DC area for the show and had a blast!! The Bacon Brothers were fantastic…as always…and what a treat for a non-Philly resident to see the Mummers in full dress and on stage with the Bacon Brothers. Bunny Sigler was amazing, too. What a fantasic night for a terrific cause!! I’ve really enjoyed watching the video clips posted on MyPhil17 and re-living the amazing night! Thank you for hosting and making the videos available online!

  4. Steve,
    As always you are the best a capturing the true spirit of Mummery !! Your words help identify what we are better than anyone who has ever written or spoken about our great tradition.
    Thanks for your never say never attitude and your up lifting words !!!!

    • Eaaassy, big fella…but thanks. You’re involvement and talent make the compliment extra special. Now go practice.

  5. Steve,
    I have been a Bacon Brothers fan for years and now, because of the amazing show that was put on Sat. night, I can say I’m a fan of the Mummers. The energy in the room was electric, like the name of the venue itself and the Mummers gave the concert a truly festive and party atmosphere. If Michael said he would see you next year then so will I. We met briefly backstage, introduced by Ira Siegel, though I’m sure you met many people that night and probably don’t remember. Your energy also added to the excitement of the evening. If people weren’t pumped before the show, you made sure they were. I hope you’ll be back next year too!

    • Thanks, Mo, and I know the Mummers are glad to have you aboard. I hope this does become an annual event. The energy in the Electric Factory was genuine and the brothers and the entire band were fabulous.

  6. My sister and I drove down from Long Island in the snow to lend support to The Bacon Brothers & The Mummers and although I’ve been a BB fan for the last 14 years I was blown away by this fantastic show! To see The Mummers, the string band and Bunny Sigler on stage with Kevin, Michael and the Bacon Brothers band was incredible! The costumes, the voices, the sounds, the energy….all amazing! I do hope that this event becomes a tradition because I know that we will be there rocking out in the front row just like we were on Saturday!

    You did a great job working with the crowd and keeping things going! Hope to see you next year!

  7. hi mr mummer what a great job you did saturday. the bacon brothers were awsome what a great show .looking forward to seeing them next year. thanks again you are a true mummer .

  8. will the concert be on demand

    • It’s on the myphl17 site and there is a chance much of it will be rebroadcast New Year’s Day after the String Bands and before the Fancy Brigades broadcast.

  9. I’m trying to find out. I’ll let you know if I can get a firm answer.

  10. I am a mis-placed 2nd Schtreeter [sic] living in So. Cal. I come HOME every year for the parade. I have been a fan of the Bacon Bros. for many years. I first heard the New Year’s Day song on the Live from Daryl’s house episode with the Brothers. I feel like Kevin is singing that song just for me. I love the philanthropic spirit that the whole Bacon family shares. I did some work with their father years ago while still living in Philly. He was a true son of Philadelphia. I’m glad the Brothers didn’t forget where they came from. I was bummed that I couldn’t be there to see the show live. A lot of my 2nd Schtreet friends were there and they had a blast. Maybe we can get Kevin and Michael to do the walk with Froggy Carr. For many of us Philadelphians, It’s the best day of the year. Thanks to them for helping to keep it alive. I was born the daughter of a mummer and I’m gonna keep on, keep on waiting on New Year’s Day.

  11. So far, I’m told there are no t-shirts, but keep checking to see if they add it as a value to a donation.

  12. I wasn’t there, but I watched the videos and I thought too BEAUTIFUL!

  13. Great article about a great band! The Bacon Brothers once again showed how talented and caring they are. Wish I could have been at the show to witness it first hand. Can’t wait for them to come back my way.

  14. Sounds like a great event! Wish I were able to attend. Love the Bacon Brothers Band music!

  15. Having met the Bacon Brothers and hearing them play I can only imagine how awesome that concert was. I do love their commitment to helping out various causes.

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