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Free at Noon Flashback: A rollercoaster ride with Imelda May

Imelda May – Free At Noon 6/23/17 | Photo by Rich McKie / WXPN

If it’s good enough for Bob Dylan, it’s sure as heck good enough for us. In an interview on his own website, the legendary singer/songwriter listed Imelda May‘s new record in the same breath as Iggy Pop, Valerie June and The Stereophonics – and boy do we understand why.

The Dublin-born singer took us on a musical and emotional roller coaster ride at today’s WXPN Free At Noon Concert at World Cafe Live. Though her complete 7 piece band preceded her stage entrance, May started off her set with “Call Me” – a peaceful song, with only a lightly strummed guitar complimenting her quiet voice. Sitting on a stool under a single spotlight, you could hear a pin drop in the room — perhaps leading many to expect a laid-back show on this rainy Friday afternoon — but Imelda soon showed she had much more up her sleeve. Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Black Tears” by Imelda May featuring Jeff Beck

Imelda May

Irish singer and songwriter Imelda May plays Free At Noon this Friday, June 23rd, before playing a show at Union Transfer on Sunday, June 25th. Or her new album, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood., May has taken on a new musical direction, under the guidance of producer T-Bone Burnett.

She’s traded in her rockabilly musical ways for ballads and sophisticated mid-tempo love songs. Working with a core band that includes drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Marc Ribot, bassists Zach Dawes (The Last Shadow Puppets) and Dennis Crouch, May’s expressive and powerful voice remains center stage. Continue reading →

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

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. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Kevin Morby highlights City Music ahead of a holiday weekend

Kevin Morby | Photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Recalling Glen Campbell’s elaborate outfits, Kevin Morby stood at the center of the World Cafe Live stage dressed in a white suit with a cascade of music notes down the side and rhinestone initials on the lapels.

It may seem a little goofy, but it’s all about balance with the Texas native: lighthearted and charming on the outside, deep and introspective on the inside. Both qualities were on display today as he and and his band joined the Free at Noon crowd in support of his forthcoming City Music effort.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Chris Kasper charms with folk traveller vibes at World Cafe Live

Chris Kasper | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Chris Kasper | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

“I heard people lost their relationship with the Earth the day we started wearing shoes.”

It was sentiments such as this that local folk fave Chris Kasper speckled throughout his performance this past rainy Friday afternoon in Philly. Though Kasper has been a staple and steady figure in the local folk scene for over a decade now, it’s hard to believe that he’s not some sort of wandering vagabond — endlessly traveling across the country with nothing but good vibes and a guitar strapped to his back. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Swift Technique gets us out of our funk with theirs

Swift Technique | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Swift Technique | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Sporting Sixer jerseys and worshiping stuffed penguins, local funk collective Swift Technique took over the World Cafe Live stage for a Free at Noon extravaganza of epic proportions, as the 10-piece (yes! your move The World Is…) brought out all stops to make their hometown return one to remember.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Hurray for the Riff Raff brings spirited folk to World Cafe Live

Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | <A href=http://www.spotlightviews.com/ target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Hurray for the Riff Raff | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

“When I left home at 17, I ended up in Philadelphia for a few months. You took very good care of me, so thank you.”

Hurray for the Riff Raff, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra, took the Free at Noon stage at World Cafe Live this afternoon for a vibrant performance of tracks from of their recent record The Navigator. Segarra and crew’s style of folk rock tunes has that bit of spirited flair, infusing Latin and indie roots to create an expansively personal sound.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Sweet Spirit kicked out the jams with St. Mojo

Sweet Spirit | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Sweet Spirit | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Last November we were graced with the presence of The Pretenders at a Free at Noon concert and as Helen Leicht pointed out, today we were treated to a set by a band that Chrissie Hynde & co. would probably be fans of. Austin’s Sweet Spirit stopped by World Cafe Live while in town supporting their sophomore LP St. Mojo, a record with track after track of confident rock that is pure fun.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Maggie Rogers grooves her way into the hearts of pop fans with an electric performance

Maggie Rogers | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Alternative pop princess Maggie Rogers made a stop by World Cafe Live for an energized Free at Noon, taking time out of her sold-out tour of the great United States to pay one of her favorite stations a visit. Just like her sparkling blue kicks, her brand of singer-songwriting adds that ounce of shiny flair with a fantastic blend of folk harmonies paired with booming electronic instrumentation.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Portugal. The Man proves they are the man with a smattering of alt pop gold

Portugal. The Man | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Portugal. The Man | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

With the outside world taken over by some premature April showers, University City was in need of some form of escapism. Well, we got it in the form of alternative geniuses Portugal. The Man. Taking a break in between two massive sold-out shows at Union Transfer, the Alaska-based pop twisters packed fan favorites into 35 minutes of pure euphoria.

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