NonCOMM Recap: Sunny War impresses with heartfelt tunes and raw talent

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Sunny War | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

Self-taught acoustic guitar powerhouse Sunny War opened the downstairs stage for WXPN’s 18th Annual Non Comm, the radio industry’s yearly private gathering.

The L.A.-based artist opened her set with an intricate fingerpicking introduction of “Tomorrow Someone New,” and she is pretty amazing to watch. Her fingers are consistently moving up and down the strings, each pluck with rhythmic purpose until she decides to break the cycle and transition into a jumpy solo. If you understand the technicalities of what it takes to fingerpick a guitar, you’d be impressed. At first I thought she was playing with a loop pedal, and when I got closer I noticed that of course she isn’t. She’s playing with raw talent.

Sunny War’s setlist was simple but very compact. She followed up with “Boom Boom,” ‘Red White & Blue,” and “With The Sun.”

Fitting in her ambitious repertoire and fingerstyling within a twenty-five minute set is a task, but she powered through like a champion. With each song, her guitar picked up speed and the crowd instinctively drew closer. Taking breaks when needed, she took the time to compliment our Philadelphia weather, give us a little insight on where her nomadic lifestyle has planted her for now (the desert), and apologize for the lack of onstage banter because “we don’t have time!”

She ended her set with “If It Wasn’t Broken,” which brought down the lighter mood for sure, but was a sweet and melancholy note to close on.

You can find Sunny War’s newest release, “With The Sun” here. Listen back to her performance below and check out a gallery of photos from the set.

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