Free at Noon Flashback: Hurray for the Riff Raff brings spirited folk to World Cafe Live

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Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <A href=http://www.spotlightviews.com/ target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

“When I left home at 17, I ended up in Philadelphia for a few months. You took very good care of me, so thank you.”

Hurray for the Riff Raff, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra, took the Free at Noon stage at World Cafe Live this afternoon for a vibrant performance of tracks from of their recent record The Navigator. Segarra and crew’s style of folk rock tunes has that bit of spirited flair, infusing Latin and indie roots to create an expansively personal sound.

Sporting an oversized six-string and dark beret, Segarra and her soulful voice carried the set through the twist and turns of folk, from the surprisingly synth-heavy “Hungry Ghost” to “Rican Beach,” full of fun, upbeat (and lyrically relevant, touching on themes of gentrification, immigration and discrimination) material. It was surprising how simply the band switches between sounds, bouncing from heart-wrenching to hip-twisting in a matter of minutes, doing it with nothing more than talent and a line-in to an amp. And somehow, it never sounded like anything other than their own.

After Segarra danced all over the stage, the band paused for a tune and we got some more great news: Hurray for the Riff Raff would be joining the lineup of the XPoNential Festival (and I actually heard someone next to me gasp when it was announced, no joke). And while it made everyone think “Yay, we get to see them again!,” the band continued its plucky domination of the city with the powerful stripped-down rendition of “Fourteen Floors.”

Leaving with a needed “Be kind to each other,” Hurray for the Riff Raff made everyone yell “hurray” (again, no joke), showing me why the heck I’ve been hearing in heavy rotation the last couple months: they’re really good. The band plays World Cafe Live tonight — more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. And more information on their XPoNential appearance can be found at XPNFest.org.

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