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Joseph Arthur’s Smile Explodes in Philly

Touring in support of his latest effort, Let’s Just Be, singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur played to an enthusiastic flock of fans at Philly’s Theatre of the Living Arts on a chilly Tuesday evening (April 17). Donning his signature shades and hobo-chic attire, the always-versatile Midwestern native launched into a virtual rock’n’roll seminar, touching on many styles and moods with solid backup from his band, the Lonely Astronauts.

Shifting between his many guises — one second he’s a ’70s proto punker, the next he’s a moody ’90s troubadour — Arthur charged through 11 select cuts from each of his six studio efforts, and a stunning six-song encore. From the lush acoustic beauty “Too Much to Hide” to the confessional tearjerker “A Smile That Explodes,” Arthur’s honest disposition seemed far sturdier than it has been in years.

Once he and the Lonely Astronauts took their final bows, many twenty-something loyalists left the cozy confines of the upstairs bar to mingle with the “rabble.” And as is the custom at Arthur’s shows, many fans also stuck around to purchase freshly burned discs of the show they had just witnessed. BRETT HARRISON / PHOTOS BY MICHELLE LAWLOR

>> Listen to Joseph Arthur on Napster

We asked: If Joseph Arthur and James Blunt were to engage in hand to hand combat, who would win and why?