Free At Noon Flashback: Sheer Mag’s volume knows no limits

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Sheer Mag
Sheer Mag | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

The track names on Sheer Mag‘s compilation album are in all-caps on Bandcamp. The stylization is a fair choice considering it’s hard to remember, at least for me, a time when World Cafe Live has reached the volume the band brought to the venue during Friday’s weekly Free At Noon concert. For 40 minutes, the Philly rockers emitted nonstop, ear-ringing rock n’ roll in its purest form.

Sheer Mag is in the midst of a summer tour that kicked off at First Unitarian Church last month. After releasing a series of EPs over the last three years, a debut LP Need to Feel Your Love is just a month away, hitting shelves just in time to celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. Its first two singles were impressive, and after this live set served as a reminder of what Sheer Mag is capable of, waiting four more weeks for the album in its entirety is going to be a trying task.

The band wasted no time letting the audience know what they were in for. A split-second after Helen Leicht’s introduction, the guitars were let loose for an instrumental launch to the set. All four guys on stage had their hair flopping and hands shredding, with the drums driving the room to immediate mayhem. The life in the room was palpable from the get-go, and howling vocalist Tina Halladay wasn’t even on stage yet. When she did enter a few minutes later, the noise was taken up another notch. Her voice seemed to know limits, and her band’s sound followed suit.

And that was just one song. Sheer Mag did it again eight more times. The pace never slowed, and except for the obligatory on-air pop-in from Helen Leicht, the hard rock never stopped. Even when the cheers called for an off-air encore, and one guitarist had a minor technical issue setting back up, the rest of the band improvised and rocked on until their final piece was ready for one more jam. The intensity was exhausting in the best of ways.

Highlights from the set have to include the band’s latest singles, the funky “Need to Feel Your Love” and “Just Can’t Get Enough.” But an early-on choice of “Hard Lovin'” and a late-set edition of “Nobody’s Baby” shared the best of the Sheer Mag’s material Philly has come to love.

The band will return to Philly later this summer for a Saturday, Aug. 26 headlining date at Union Transfer. For tickets and more information on that gig, stop over at the XPN Concert Calendar. Scroll down below to see a full setlist and more photos from Friday’s Free At Noon concert at World Cafe Live.

Setlist:
Intro (instrumental)
Hard Lovin’
Need to Feel Your Love
Can’t Stop Fighting
What You Want
Just Can’t Get Enough
Fan the Flames
Nobody’s Baby
Point Breeze
Encore:
Button Up

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