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Recap: Brandi Carlile plays an emotional Free at Noon set at NonCOMM

Brandi Carlile | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Brandi Carlile | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

“You made me cry at quarter to one in the afternoon,” an audience member said as Brandi Carlile finished singing “Beginning To Feel The Years” at NonCOMM today. Looking around the room, it seemed there were many not-dry eyes in the house, Carlile’s included. “I made myself cry! It’s so hard to be away from my little daughter, she’s about to be one and her mama sent me a video of her walking.”

There was a lot of emotion in the room as Carlile played a short set of songs from her 2015 LP The Firewatcher’s Daughter with her bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth. “We’re a band and we have been for years,” Carlile said. “We just happen to have some chick’s name.” Continue reading →

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Recap: Zella Day wakes up NonCOMM with a powerful Free at Noon performance

Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Around nine months ago, I was standing in Bruce Warren’s office, having just shot my last Free at Noon for The Key before embarking on my first year of college up north. We were sitting and discussing my plans for my freshman year when Bruce got notified that a friend had just signed an up- and-coming songwriter named Zella Day. Intrigued, I opened up her page on Spotify and checked out “East of Eden,” her most recently released track. Flash forward to NonCOMM 2015, and I’m still an avid listener.

Ahead of her debut record Kicker’s release, Zella Day brought immense amounts of energy to an (at first) sleepy Free at Noon Crowd. Opening up with her popular song “Sweet Ophelia,” she instantly proved through her belting and stage presence that she’s equally as powerful a force onstage as she is in the studio. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Jonatha Brooke immerses us in her world through beautiful storytelling

Jonatha Brooke | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com
Jonatha Brooke | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

Folk singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke played downstairs at World Cafe Live for this week’s Free At Noon concert and took the crowd on an emotional journey with her magnificent musical stories.

Brooke explained that she would be playing music from her recent one-woman play My Mother Has Four Noses, a reflection on her relationship with her recently passed mother who she became caretaker of after she became ill with Alzheimer’s. Without missing a beat, she faced the heaviness of the topic head-on with light-hearted quips, explaining that sometimes when you’re in times of pain, you can step back and see the humor in the situations that life places you in. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Chris Kasper Band filled World Cafe Live with positive vibes and American Beauty

 

Chris Kasper Band | Photo by John Vettese
Chris Kasper Band | Photo by John Vettese

The Chris Kasper Band followed Mason Porter for today’s doubleheader Free At Noon and did not disappoint a packed and eager crowd. Celebrating WXPN’s Day Of The Dead, the fivesome resolved to play the entirety of the Grateful Dead’s sixth studio album American Beauty. They eased into the performance with the first track “Box of Rain” and after delicate harmonies and on-point instrumentals, it seemed they had certainly gained one man’s approval after he bellowed “Hey! You’re good!”, the crowd chuckling in response. The band’s sound was full and precise and emanated feel-good vibes. Solos speckled the performance, with violinist Kiley Ryan owning her instrument and front man Chris Kasper tearing it up on guitar. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Mason Porter get the crowd riled and raucous with Workingman’s Dead

Mason Porter | Photo by John Vettese
Mason Porter | Photo by John Vettese

Meandering onstage to a packed and riled house, Mason Porter kicked off WXPN’s 50 year celebration of The Grateful Dead with energy today. The band declared that they would be playing the full fifth album of the Dead, Workingman’s Dead. Launching into the crowd favorite “Uncle John’s Band”, Mason Porter quickly got the crowd movin’, groovin’ and singing along. The group whipped out insane solos throughout the entirety of the performance – Sarah Larson shredded on the fiddle, displaying the quick fingers of a pro during fast-paced tracks like “Cumberland Blues” and “Easy Wind”.

Larsen and guitarist Paul Wilkinson even held a back-and-forth conversation through their instruments, all the while laughing and smiling. Frontman Joe D’Amico gave an impressive solo on his mandolin, fingerpicking rapidly and receiving a warm response from the crowd. The fivesome ended their performance playing the upbeat classic “Casey Jones” with an ecstatic crowd cheering them on as they trickled off stage. Continue reading →

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Chris Kasper to collaborate with Philly Dance Company, BalletX

Chris Kasper | via Facebook.com/ChrisKasperMusic
Chris Kasper | via Facebook.com/ChrisKasperMusic

Philly singer-songwriter Chris Kasper has embarked on a unique, collaborative project with Philly dance company BalletX for seven shows from July 8-12 at The Wilma Theater, where he’ll perform tracks off of 2013′s folk/soul Bagabones - tied into the residency is his Indiegogo campaign to create a music video with BalletX for the track “Raven and the Rose” and a spring tour in support of it, which kicks off tonight at Ballet X’s spring preview premiere party. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Turbo Fruits show off No Control at World Cafe Live

Turbo Fruits | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com
Turbo Fruits | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

Nashville garage rockers Turbo Fruits took the stage today following an electric set from The London Souls. The four-piece showed Philly what they were made of with their catchy rock ballads. Guitarist Kingsley Brock whipped out some fun, distorted riffs while frontman Jonas Stein’s grumbling vocals filled the room. The group played tracks exclusively off of their upcoming LP, No Control, set to be released April 20th. Songs like “The Way I Want You” and “Don’t Let Me Break Your Heart Again” put the group’s solid sound on full display and had the crowd movin’ and groovin’, closing out today’s Free At Noon with finesse. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The London Souls mystify a packed house at World Cafe Live

The London Souls | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com
The London Souls | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

This week’s Free at Noon left my ears ringing. The London Souls stormed into the World Cafe Live, shredding through arguably the rawest specimen of blues-rock since The Black Keys released The Big Come Up in 2002. And just like The Black Keys, the band is a duo. But two people was all that was necessary to overpower the crowd with loud rock and roll, to which the audience replied with loud applause. The Souls were in Philly to promote their newest album, Here Come the Girls, and played several songs off of the album, including “Honey,” “Certain Appeal” and “The River.” Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Districts give 110% with a charged set at World Cafe Live

The Districts | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
The Districts | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Lititz/Philly natives The Districts took the stage today for this week’s Free At Noon concert with an amped up crowd in tow. The foursome gave it their all as they unleashed their heavy-hearted tunes to a packed audience downstairs at World Cafe Live. After strolling on stage, the group expressed their humble appreciation for the turnout and were sure to mention how good it felt to be back in Philadelphia, that is before they leave on a European tour in a few days.

Playing songs off of their latest album A Flourish and a Spoil, the group showcased amazing musicianship through their passionate playing, with lead singer Rob Grote bouncing around the stage, his curly locks swinging every which way. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Diamond Rugs had the World Cafe Live crowd jumping

Diamond Rugs | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com
Diamond Rugs | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

Diamond Rugs played a short, energizing set for today’s Free at Noon concert. Last month the band released its second album, Cosmetics, following up their self-titled 2012 debut. The supergroup, which consists of members / former members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips, Dead Confederate and Six Finger Satellite, played a selection of songs off their new album, including “Thunk,” which opened the set, “Couldn’t Help It” and “Blame.” Unfortunately the band won’t be playing in Philly any time soon, since they just rocked Ortlieb’s last night. But if by any chance you happen to be in any of these cities at the dates the band’s playing in them, be sure to check them out. Listen back to the performance and check out photos below. Continue reading →