by Ricky Haldis
On any given night, a crowd of 50 people can make the Legendary Dobbs feel like it is packed from wall to wall. However, on Friday night, with a massive gathering of well over 100 eager music lovers, it was impossible to traverse the small, wood-paneled venue without awkwardly squeezing through the tight clusters of head-bobbing bodies. The crowd poured out onto the sidewalk of South Street, where everyone was enthusiastically chattering about Ashley Leone, Philly’s native pop queen, who had just finished her set. Leone was only the second of seven acts featured that night by the local independent record label, Flexitone Records and Grammy-nominated musical visionary David Ivory.
Ivory, a legend among producers within the city, who has worked with local names such as Halestorm, Silvertide, and The Roots, runs his label with true compassion for the working musician, and strives to push them to their fullest potential. “I want to see these bands be the best they can truly be, and to exceed their own expectations,” explained Ivory. “If I feel that a band shows that they have the potential and the work ethic, then we can help them bring out their best work.”
Later in the night, alt-rockers BlackRue took the stage and demonstrated their stylistic diversity, including everything from punk to country, while still proving their ability to write catchy tunes. After their set, the audience buzzed about their female drummer, who served as the band’s sturdy backbone. The Sunset Villians shifted gears for the evening and brought their pop influences to the table. The high energy quintet (who had just recently returned from playing on a festival with Avril Lavigne) owned the crowd, and frequently expressed their gratitude for Flexitone in between songs. The evening wrapped up with Supreme and the New Experience, the seven-piece funk band who had Dobbs dancing from start to finish. Clearly influenced by funk pioneers Parliament-Funkedelic, both physically and audibly, the group demonstrated their confidence on stage, as they promoted their latest Flexitone release, Pimpalicious. They concluded the night with an encore of “We Got the Funk” that would have brought a smile to the face of George Clinton himself.
The entire evening seemed to have a consistent theme, which revolved around everyone’s praise and gratitude for David Ivory. “He genuinely cares about the success of the artist that he works with,” said Doug Green from Flexitone. “It’s all about giving these bands a chance, and he’d do whatever it takes to see his bands find success.”
It is clear that Flexitone Records has set a new standard for independent record labels. The suburb-based label’s showcase of their various acts proved that they are capable of giving the perfect amount of guidance to ambitious musicians who strive to make a name for themselves. After such a successful launch party, Philadelphia can anxiously wait to see what Flexitone has in store for 2014.