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Suzy Bogguss shows her love for Merle Haggard at today’s Free At Noon

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“I heard that he got the idea for this song because he and his wife had been out on the road a lot together,” country singer/songwriter Suzy Bogguss says before starting off today’s Free At Noon performance with a Merle Haggard cover. “…He saw her from across the airport and remembered how lucky he was. And he walked over and he touched her on the shoulder and he said to her, Today I started loving you again.”

Today Bogguss and her back-up boys stopped by the World Cafe Live to celebrate her latest release Lucky. Narrating why she chose each song on her Haggard tribute, Bogguss crooned to the crowd with pure elegance performing well known Merle tunes like “Silver Wings” and “The Bottle Let Me Down.” Tonight, catch the entire entourage again at Sellersville Theater. Check out today’s performance by viewing the setlist and photo gallery, and listening to the archived performance here (via the WXPN media player).

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Watch the Pixies perform “Here Comes Your Man” at XPN’s Free At Noon

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

On Friday, January 24th a stripped down Pixies performed during a sold out Free At Noon. The band, in town playing a sold out show at the Electric Factory, played a nine song set of tunes both old and new, drawing from their two recent EP’s alongside hits like “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” and deeper album tracks like “Nimrod’s Son,” and “Caribou.” Below, listen to the full show and watch their performance of “Here Comes Your Man.”

Watch the Pixies perform “Greens and Blues” from their set here.

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Elizabeth and the Catapult took the performance to the upstairs stage for Free at Noon

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Finishing today’s doubleheader Free At Noon performance upstairs, Brooklyn-based Elizabeth and the Catapult enchanted the Philly crowd with a sound reminiscent to Regina Spektor and A Fine Frenzy. Featuring their January release Like It Never Happened, the quartet played a few poetic tunes such as “Sugar Covered Poison” and “Thank You for Nothing.” Listen to the full performance below by clicking on the XPN music player under the photo galley and set list.

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Sam Roberts Band amped up the Philly crowd at today’s Free at Noon

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Canadian singer/songwriter Sam Roberts amped up the Free At Noon crowd today at World Cafe Live. Celebrating the release of Lo-Fantasy earlier this month, the band ran through some new hits like “We’re All In This Together” and “Golden Hour.” Couldn’t make it out to see them today? That’s okay. Catch their follow up performance tonight in the same place. Tickets and information are available here. Can’t make that either? That’s fine too. Simply check out the archived performance, set list, and photos below.

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Paul Cebar brings the funk to today’s Free At Noon

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Before taking their groovy sound to Massachusetts tonight, Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound brought on the funk today at World Cafe Live’s Free At Noon concert. Celebrating his recent release Fine Rude Thing Cebar got the crowd bouncing with new tunes like “Baby Shake” and “You Owe It To You.” The new record features songs co-written by César Rosas of Los Lobos, Pat McLaughlin, Chuck Mead, and Willy Porter. Relive the show by perusing through the photo gallery and checking out the set list after the jump.

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Suzanne Vega makes a Philly stop before her European tour

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Just before she heads across seas for her European tour, long-standing singer / songwriter Suzanne Vega stopped by Philly for a sold-out Free At Noon performance. Enchanting the crowd with her poetic lyrics and spidery vocals, Vega previewed her highly anticipated album Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles (coming in February) with new tunes like “Horizon” and never before performed “Laying on of Hands / Stoic 2″. Experience the full performance again by clicking on the XPN media player below and checking out the photo gallery and set list below.

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Interview: Pixies’ Joey Santiago talks about remaking his band for a new era

Pixies | Photo by Michael Halsband
Pixies | Photo by Michael Halsband

For more than 25 years, Pixies have remained an influential yet enigmatic force on the underground scene, their taut guitar lines and harsh melodies, interspersed with moments of real sweetness, an inspiration for acts as varied as Nirvana and U2. Their impressive catalogue runs the gamut from wispy post-punk haunters (the ghostly “Where Is My Mind”) to face-melting ragers (the screeching “Rock Music”) to surprisingly breezy pop songs (the near-perfect “Here Comes Your Man”)—all accentuated by front man Black Francis’s distinctive and aggressive vocals.

The past decade has certainly been a turbulent one for the band, who reformed in 2003 after a 10 year hiatus, and spent the next few years playing a string of reunion shows before surprising fans with an unannounced EP, EP1, in September 2013. The release came shortly after the news that bassist and longtime member Kim Deal, whose floaty back-up vocals and killer bass chops added both balls AND corporeality, had quit. The band is now touring with bassist Paz Lenchantin, whose resume includes A Perfect Circle, The Entrance Band, and Zwan. They’ve also released another EP, EP2, featuring four new, hard-hitting rockers.

The Pixies will stop by the Electric Factory on Friday, January 24 (tickets and info at the WXPN Concert Calendar) and will warm up for the show with an appearance at XPN’s Free at Noon concert series (RSVP here UPDATE: sold out). In anticipation of their show, I rung up guitarist Joey Santiago, whose wily, unpredictable guitar lines are an integral part of the Pixies sound, to talk fans, blackout curtains, and why Kim will always be the darling of the Pixies. Read on!

The Key: You guys just released a new EP. What has the response been like so far?

Joey Santiago: It’s been received very positively, particularly the song “Blue Eyed Hexe” (although I particularly like “Magdalena”). The one “criticism” I’ve heard is that maybe it sounds like AC/DC.  To which I say…and what is the problem with that? (laughs)

TK: Do you think people’s reactions are swayed as a result of your decision to release it suddenly, without fanfare?

JS: No, not at all—this is the second time we just dropped the bomb on people. It’s been positive. It’s a surprise, but in this day and age, you can surprise people because everything is digital. I think people appreciate the surprise. I think the days of telling people when you’re going to release a record are over.

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Phil D’Agostino plays a lively set for the final Free At Noon of the year

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Philadelphia roots-rock bassist Phil D’Agostino packed the upstairs stage for this year’s final Free At Noon performance. Backed by a lively band of other Philly local instrumentalists, D’Agostino heated up the stage with tunes from his sophomore solo album Inlets. He’ll be performing every Wednesday in February in Fergie’s pub in Center City. Revisit the afternoon show in the photo gallery below, see the setlist after the jump and listen to the performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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Recap: San Fermin struck an impressive symphonic chord at Free at Noon

Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photo by Elizabeth Mazenko

Brooklyn orchestral indie rock group San Fermin played an impressive Free at Noon set in the midst of what they called their busiest 24 hours as a band. Thursday night, they played a show in Brooklyn; they woke up at 6 a.m. to get to Philly for Free at Noon; and then they were headed to Bethesda, Maryland, for an evening performance at The Strathmore. “Three shows in 24 hours,” said songwriter Ellis Ludwig-Leone. The band sounded in top form, though, from Philly native Allen Tate working his resonant baritone throughout to Rae Cassidy nailing “Sonsick.” The band returns to Philly on February 17th to headline Johnny Brenda’s with Son Lux; tickets and information can be found here. Check out a gallery of photos from the show below, read the setlist after the jump, and listen to the performance in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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John Butler stirred a one man musical revolution at Free At Noon

Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Just a man, his guitar and his looper effects pedals, Australian singer/songwriter John Butler packed World Cafe Live yesterday with a witty yet intimate Free At Noon performance. Telling all between each song, he played acoustic favorites like “Revolution” from April Uprising, and “Better Than.” Butler releases his new album, Flesh & Blood on February 4th. Check out his entire performance by viewing the set list and photo gallery below, and listening to it via the WXPN media player here.

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