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Free At Noon Flashback: A Philadelphia lunch break with Butch Walker

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Butch Walker | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Georgia native rocker Butch Walker joined the XPN community today, putting on a wonderful Free at Noon show from start to finish. He was joined Suzanne Santo of Honey Honey who sings the harmony vocals on his songs. Walker kicked off his set with the title track off his new album, Stay Gold, which just dropped today on Dangerbird Records. “I’m really proud of this record, even though it doesn’t look like it,” Walker told the crowd before playing “Stay Gold”. Later on in his set, he went on to tell us again just how proud he truly is of this new album. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Stray Birds share a special set to celebrate the release of Magic Fire

The Stray Birds | Photo by Kimberly Ilkowski for WXPN | ilkowski.com
The Stray Birds | Photo by Kimberly Ilkowski for WXPN | ilkowski.com

Early on in The Stray Birds‘ Free At Noon set Friday, Oliver Craven took a moment to instruct the audience. “We were told to avoid dead air,” he said. “So keep clapping.” It was a playful moment during a special set for the trio-turned-quartet from Lancaster. Friday marks the release of their newest album Magic Fire, produced by the legendary Larry Campbell, and as Maya de Vitry added after Craven’s remark, the band was having so much fun finally playing some new songs. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Quilt creates a groovin’ dreamscape of sound

Quilt | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
Quilt | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

After a dreamy psychedelic performance at Johnny Brenda’s in March and as one of the must hear new acts at Firefly Music Festival last month, we were more than excited to welcome back the New England indie rockers Quilt for a Free At Noon show before their headlining gig at The Foundry later this evening. Riding a wave opportunities following the February release of their third LP Plaza, the band is back and ready to inspire with a fresh batch of airy tracks that exude their mellow rock influences.

More than half of the band’s set was dedicated to the new material, including the Plaza standout “Roller” near the end of the set, where vocalist and guitarist Anna Fox Rochinski floats through this impossibly light song. Throughout the set, Rochiniski and vocalist and guitarist Shane Butler would swap vocal duties, even having drummer John Andrews join in on the fun for his own verses. But the band was its strongest when it came together for group vocals, a perfectly synced listening delight. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Hurry headlines a killer gig on World Cafe Live stage

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Hurry | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

The pros of having a pale yellow and white guitar is, of course, that it looks real cool. The cons? It makes for a bit of a gory scene when you slice your finger open. Yet, amidst the bloodshed and airborne plush monkeys (more on that later), Philadelphia indie poppers Hurry prevailed, offering a spectacular set at this Friday’s XPN Free At Noon concert. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Mitski mesmerizes before second sold out show

Mitski | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
Mitski | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

Not only does 24-year-old singer / songwriter / bass player Mitski Miyawaki know how to pack a room — what with a sold out show last night at Boot and Saddle and another tonight at PhilaMOCA — but within that crowded atmosphere, there’s a very intimate quality to her performances. Mitski’s gripping eight-song set at World Cafe Live’s Free At Noon today was both sonically and visually stimulating. Observing Miyawaki’s quiet yet unmistakable confidence on stage, a fan smiling and singing along parallel to another overcome with emotion, and watching those discover Mitski’s music for the first time; each group brought an inherently interesting dynamic to the show that truly made it a spectacle. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Dylan LeBlanc tells his Cautionary Tale

 Dylan Le Blanc | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Dylan Le Blanc | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Dylan LeBlanc and his band walked out onto the World Cafe Live stage for Friday’s WXPN Free At Noon Concert, greeted by a thick crowd hungry for the singer-songwriter’s Louisiana-born country rock. But before a single note was played, LeBlanc ran off the stage, only to return with a few bagels in hand. He launched the breaded discs into the audience. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: no drums, no problem for Good Old War and Empty Houses

Empty Houses | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
Empty Houses | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN

Today’s Free at Noon featured a double-header, opening up with Empty Houses, a three piece group introduced as Detroit’s “best kept secret.” Consisting of the soulful vocals of Ali Shea, the sassy guitar of David Mackinder, and the smooth keyboard work of Adam Mercer, Empty Houses produced a sometimes cute but always captivating motown-pop sound as they shared songs from their upcoming debut Daydream. They’ll play in support of Good Old war again tonight, and considering they also were one of the openers for Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties last night at Underground Arts, it’ll be the band’s third Philadelphia performance in 24 hours. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Heron Oblivion melted, shredded, and just absolutely destroyed at World Cafe Live

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Heron Oblivion | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Heron Oblivion was introduced as an “east coast meets west coast” band during today’s Free At Noon. Ethan Miller (bass) and Noel Von Harmonson (guitar), the west coasters, have been in bands for year both individually and together, most notably Comets On Fire. More recently, they’d gotten together with east coasters Meg Baird (drums, vocals), a Philly local, and Charlie Saufley (guitar). When the four started playing some informal jam sessions, the songwriting process came easily. So easily, in fact, that the self-titled debut from Heron Oblivion, released March 4th on Sub Pop, came as a result. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Mason Porter Band Here to Celebrate Bob Dylan’s 75th Birthday

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Mason Porter | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Today, legendary music icon Bob Dylan, is celebrating his 75th birthday, so WXPN and World Cafe Live welcomed the Mason Porter to play a special Free At Noon tribute concert in honor of Dylan’s birthday. These Philadelphia bluegrass guys kicked off their set with a Dylan classic, “Political World”.

Mason Porter covered a variety of different Dylan songs during their set, including “Precious Angel”, “Just Like A Woman”, and “Meet Me In The Morning. The band even paused in the middle of their set to sing “Happy Birthday” to Dylan; the entire crowd joined in to sing along. Continue reading →