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Free At Noon Flashback: The Figgs kicked off an exciting Memorial Day weekend

The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch
The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch

Audience members for this week’s Free at Noon were treated to a special Memorial Day Weekend gift, as The Figgs rocked the downstairs stage at the World Cafe Live. The band was in Philly to promote their new album, Other Planes of Here, their latest release in a long string of releases dating back to 1992. It was a relaxed, yet still rock and roll atmosphere, as lead singer/guitarist Mike Gent ordered a vodka martini in the middle of the set. Songs on the band’s set list for today were “Late Nights and Early Flights,” “Paper Knives” and “Something’s Wrong.” After the radio show, members of the audience got to hear the band do a cover of The Who’s “Happy Jack,” a nice surprise before heading out for Memorial Day Weekend. If you were there or listened on the radio, make sure to check out the band’s performance tonight at Dawson St. Pub. Information for the concert can be found here. Listen back to the set and check out a gallery of photos below. Continue reading →

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No Points For Nostalgia: Austin’s Levitation Festival brought us some muddy surprises

Levitation Fest | Photo by NIkki Volpicelli
Levitation Fest | Photo by NIkki Volpicelli

One word that would neatly describe this year’s Levitation Festival: muddy. Very very muddy, and the rain that dropped down on Carson Creek Ranch — a usually dusty plane within view of the Austin-Bergstrom airport — called for some set up changes. The Levitation Amphitheatre had to be moved from its spot on the Colorado riverside to higher ground, so that it wouldn’t sink its artists into the currents. Because of this, it lacked the 360 degree visual display that’s usually projected onto the river at the annual gathering – formerly known as Austin Psych Fest – but didn’t lack in any other capacity. Continue reading →

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Recap: Brian Wilson cruises through NonCOMM Free at Noon

Brian Wilson | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Brian Wilson | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Legendary American songwriter Brian Wilson graced the World Cafe Live stage for to kick off day three of the NonCOMM convention.

Wilson, age 72, moved swiftly and seamlessly through a rock n’ rolling setlist. He played songs from his latest album, No Pier Pressure, as well as Beach Boys fan favorites “I Get Around,” “Fun Fun Fun,” “Surfing USA,” ”In My Room,” “Good Vibrations” and “God Only Knows”.

Wilson was accompanied by a huge backing band playing a diverse array of instruments, including vibraphones, saxophone and harmonica, to perfectly emulate the signature Beach Boys sound. Continue reading →

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Recap: Calexico bring new record Edge of the Sun to NonCOMM

Calexico | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Calexico | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Arizona rockers Calexico brought their new record Edge of the Sun to NonCOMM for a Free at Noon today. Working with a “stripped down” line-up, the band mixed new songs in with older favorites (like Algiers‘s “Splitter”) and some thoughtful banter. Before going into a cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or” frontman Joey Burns talked about meeting Brian Wilson backstage and dedicated the song to him. 2003′s “Not Even Stevie Nicks” went into Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as the crowd clapped and sang along. Going back to Edge of the Sun, ”Cumbia de Donde” turned the Latin vibes way up with trumpet solos and gang vocals.

Continue reading →

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Recap: Elle King kicks off NonCOMM with some southwestern twang

Elle King | Photo by John Vettese
Elle King | Photo by John Vettese

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Elle King brought NonCOMM 2015 to a rollicking start with a set of twangy countrified rock and roll. Playing a set centered around her new album Love Stuff, released in February on RCA Records, King reminisced with the crowd about her time living in Philly, joked about the tuning of her banjo and jammed out to cuts like the uber-catchy “Under The Influence.” Check out photos from her set in the gallery below. Continue reading →

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Ben Folds and yMusic bring impeccable musicianship to World Cafe Live

Ben Folds and yMusic | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Ben Folds and yMusic | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Singer/songwriter/pianist Ben Folds and NYC instrumental sextet yMusic played a sold out show at World Cafe Live on Tuesday night as part of Folds’ three-night Philly residency. From the start, it was clear that this performance would be something special. yMusic entered the stage first and set the tone for the show as they performed one of their original pieces, “Beautiful Mechanical.” yMusic, consisting of Gabriel Cabezas on cello, CJ Camarieri on horns, Nadia Siroti on viola, Alex Sopp on flute, Hideaki Aomori on clarinet and bass clarinet, and Rob Moose on violin, provided a wonderful accompaniment for Folds’ song arrangements that the audience knew and loved. Continue reading →

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One Big Neighborhood Party: Hop Along celebrates Painted Shut at Union Transfer

Hop Along | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com
Hop Along | photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

The last week has been full of excitement for Hop Along‘s new album Painted Shut, released Tuesday on Saddle Creek. It’s the Philly band’s third full-length album, but in a way, it was almost like its debut to a wider audience. On Saturday night, Hop Along headlined for a packed house at Union Transfer which, with local openers Thin Lips and Clique in tow, felt like one big neighborhood party. Continue reading →

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Action Bronson crushes at the sold-out TLA

Action Bronson | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com
Action Bronson | Photo by Morgan Smith | phobymo.com

At capacity and straining under the crushing weight of Action Bronson’s massive personality, the sold-out TLA’s stage shook under punishing bass and rose to meet the gregarious Queens MC on his Mr. Wonderful tour.

In what was a seemingly short but passionate set, Arian Arslani AKA Action Bronson brought it. The “Fuck, That’s Delicious!” star arranged all of the ingredients necessary for a memorable night. With way more energy than you’d expect from a guy so solidly built, the Flushing rapper ripped a page out of Oprah’s handbook and took to merchandising as he bounded across the stage between songs – showering the crowd in gifts, sonic and store-bought alike. Continue reading →

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A scandalous night with Of Montreal at the Chameleon Club

Of Montreal / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Of Montreal / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“I like the name Lancaster… maybe I will change my name to Lancaster!”

Mad Max, a character dressed in a red and black body suit adorned with a cape and top hat, mulled this over in the midst of a rant about letting opossums loose in the crowd to pet, and cuddling the audience to sleep “just to wake up in his basement of love.” A little odd for Kevin Barnes’ introduction, but I don’t think the crowd at the Chameleon minded too much. Eccentric was what they came for. Continue reading →

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All The Jangley Energy You Want: The Feelies return to World Cafe Live

The Feelies | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com
The Feelies | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com

Two sets. Three encores. 35 songs. Three-plus hours. By the numbers alone, The Feelies put on a triumphant show this past Saturday at World Café. To watch the band seamlessly transition between songs new and old as well as covers was indeed breathtaking rock and roll.

The Feelies of 2015 were pulsating with all the jangly energy you could have wanted in the mid 1980s, let alone now. Opening with “It’s Only Life,” the title track to their 1988 album Only Life, the Lou Reed-esque vocals of Glenn Mercer set the tone for the night. All of their albums and works were explored, from their 1979 single “Fa Ce-La” to the 1980 breakthrough Crazy Rhythms to 2011’s reunion record Here Before. Continue reading →