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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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Recap: Israel Nash ends the night at NonCOMM with rollicking guitar jams

Israel Nash | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Israel Nash | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Northeast by southwestern guitarist / singer / songwriter Israel Nash brought down the house on the final night of NonCOMM with a well-recieved set of his guitar-heavy psych-rock jams. He and his band are often compared to Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and the set of expressive songs from his 2014 album Rain Plains fit that tag nicely. Listen to Nash’s performance in its entirety below, check out a gallery of photos and catch Nash and his band again this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Recap: Anderson East closed NonCOMM’s PRX stage with Alabama soul

Anderson East | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophoto.com
Anderson East | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophoto.com

Athens, Alabama musician Anderson East closed the PRX stage on night three of NonCOMM with his Southern-steeped soul / R&B. Backed by a seasoned band that included a horn section, East previewed songs from his forthcoming LP Delilah, out in July through Elektra. The songs show a knack for blending the traditional Muscle Shoals sound with the funkiness of the north, while his voice is reminiscent of Amos Lee. Listen back to the set here and check out photos below.

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Recap: The Tallest Man on Earth brings his full band to Philly at NonCOMM

The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

I could go on for hours about everything The Tallest Man On Earth has done for me individually. Almost every long road trip I’ve been on since 2010 has featured at least one of his albums; The Wild Hunt I can say for certain has been spun at least 75 times by myself alone, and Shallow Grave is certainly up there in my personal rotation as well. When I realized I was going to get to hear a new album and one of the first live performances with a full band all in one week, I (admittedly) temporarily lost the ability to function.

The album itself stays true to where The Tallest Man came from; the album has no shortage of stretches with only him and his guitar, letting his lyrics and his capo-ed, unorthodoxly-tuned guitar do the talking. Continue reading →

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Recap: Natalie Prass delighted NonCOMM with a stunning set of solo pop

Natalie Prass | Photo by John Vettese
Natalie Prass | Photo by John Vettese

Richmond singer-songwriter Natalie Prass has gotten a lot of praise for her lushly arranged debut album. But for her appearance at NonCOMM, she took it down as minimal as it would go. Two guitars – one played by her, one by her bandmate and producer Trey Pollard – and her dulcet voice delivering quirky pop, and they totally nailed it. “We’ve never played this many songs with just the two of us,” Prass told the crowd. But the minimal approach allowed for a focus on the songs, and jams like “Bird of Prey” are just as catchy with two people as they would be with ten. Check out photos from the set in the gallery below. Continue reading →

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Recap: Gavin James opens up day three of NonCOMM

Gavin James | Photo by John Vettese
Gavin James | Photo by John Vettese

The third night of NonCOMM 2015 has begun! To kick it off, Irish singer/songwriter Gavin James brought the sweet sound of stripped-down folk to World Cafe Upstairs.

With a falsetto that gives Bon Iver a run for his money, James’ voice resonated throughout the entire Cafe, silencing the crowd and holding their attention as if it were made of fragile glass. 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.

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