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Free at Noon Flashback: Ben Arnold and the 48 Hour Orchestra break through the clouds with soulful jams

Ben Arnold | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

To kick off 2018 and the 13th year of WXPN’s Free at Noon concert series, long-time friend Ben Arnold, who is no stranger to World Cafe Live’s stage, performed a sleek and soulful set despite the abysmal weather currently inhabiting Philadelphia. Appearing in the Free at Noon series in its first year as a trio, the Philly-native returned with a backing band 10 members deep this time around. Dubbed “The 48 Hour Orchestra,” the band provided a spirited brass section, punchy drums assisted by congas, and heartfelt backing vocals to the set. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Finding Novyon at Underground Arts, Ben Arnold at Kennett Flash, Echo and the Bunnymen at Mann Center and more

Finding Novyon | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When last we saw Minneapolis rapper Finding Novyon, he was making his Philadelphia debut playing a packed house at our final Red Bull Sound Select concert in September. His bridging of hip-hop eras is impeccable and impressive — he can do boom bap, he can do big bass, he can do lyrical and melodic. Novyon returns to town tonight to hit the Underground Arts stage, opening for oft-collaborator Allan Kingdom. Details and ticket information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the video for the Kingdom collab “Lots” below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Joy Ike at World Cafe Live at the Queen, Shots Called at The Fire, Ben Arnold at World Cafe Live, and more…

Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Singer/songwriter Joy Ike will play World Cafe Live at the Queen tonight. Last month, she performed an intimate set at Burlap and Bean, and now, she’ll support Angela Burns at her CD release show. Check out a live performance of “Nomad” from last year’s Escape To The Lake Festival below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on the show. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Ben Arnold and the 48 Hour Orchestra let loose on the River Stage

Ben Arnold | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com
Ben Arnold | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Ben Arnold is a seasoned vet when it comes to performing at XPoNential Festival. This year was the local music man’s fouth appearance, but this time around things were a bit different. Thanks to the 48 Hour Orchestra, who joined Arnold on stage, his set today brought things to a new level. Together, the two sides brought life to Arnold’s 2016 record Lost Keys, an album that features much more brass than anything he’s put out in the past. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Preview: A beer with Ben Arnold at Dawson Street Pub

Ben Arnold | Photo by Matt Montella for WXPN
Ben Arnold | Photo by Matt Montella for WXPN

“I’ve learned that if you keep doing it and keep producing quality music, things happen. It’s what I am, it’s what I do.”

Ben Arnold is a lot of things: a singer, a songwriter, both a piano player and a guitar player, a super cool dude. But most of all, he’s a music man. He’s been writing, playing, and performing his whole life, and for most of his life he’s been doing it in and around Philadelphia. Arnold will be playing the XPoNential Festival next month (his 4th time!) and he played at Dawson Street Pub in Manayunk on Thursday, June 28th, which he said was both a “warm up gig” and an opportunity to play in his own neighborhood.

“Some of my family still lives in Western New York, but Philly is my adopted hometown. I love the city. I think it is one of the most culturally vibrant cities on the East coast,” said Arnold when I met with him earlier that day. “I think the music scene is killer, and its growing rapidly. This is where I really say where my family is. My base is here.” 

Arnold has been playing in various bands since he was a kid, when he went to a performing arts high school in Center City. As he has gotten older, his sound has matured with him. His most recent record, Lost Keys, was released earlier this year and features Motown and Stax influenced rhythm and soul. Continue reading →

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Catch Tommy Conwell, Ben Arnold, Rosemary Fiki and more at the Roxborough Solstice Music Festival

Ben Arnold
Ben Arnold | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

With the summer solstice less than a month away, our days are about as lengthy and bright as they get. And there’s no better way to spend the extra sunlight than with some grub, drinks, and live music. On Saturday, June 11th, the Roxborough Solstice Music Festival will provide just that. Starting at noon, they’ll have 10 musical acts, food trucks, a beer garden, craft vendors, and local businesses at Gorgas Park on Ridge Ave in Philly. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Two Piece Fest IX at First Unitarian Church, Ben Arnold at Underground Arts, Winter Doldrums Fest at World Cafe Live and more…

two piece fest
Joint Chiefs of Math | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

The ninth annual Two Piece Fest takes place at the First Unitarian Church today. As we previously reported, the day-long event is “an exercise in mayhem and minimalism that brings the DIY scene together, one duo at a time.” This year’s line-up includes Joint Chiefs of Math, Brown Rainbow, Empty Vessels and a dozen more. Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here; listen to Joint Chiefs’ “Get Rich or Try Dyin'” below.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Ben Arnold, The Dans and more…

ben arnold
Ben Arnold | Photo by Alyssa Dempsey for WXPN

This week’s Key Studio Session featured local musician Ben Arnold, who brought his band with him to preview songs from their new record. Lost Keys will be released next week and they’ll be back at XPN for a Free at Noon performance. Sign up for that here, stream “Detroit People” below and get the full session here.

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