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Free At Noon Flashback: Martin Sexton filled the room with charming sounds

Martin Sexton | Photo by Megan Lynch
Martin Sexton | Photo by Megan Lynch

Singer-songwriter Martin Sexton stopped by World Cafe Live today, on tour in support of his new Mixtape of the Open Road, out now on his own Kitchen Table Records. He headlines World Cafe Live at the Queen tonight, but for Free at Noon today, he gave the audience a taste of what’s in store at the show, playing a few songs from the new record, as well as old tracks spanning the length of his career since 1991. Continue reading →

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Philly Music 101: How to book a show at a Philly venue

Photo by John Vettese
The Bul Bey rocking the house in West Philly | Photo by John Vettese

Philly Music 101 is our regular series guiding you through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving participants, from artists to venues to studios and more.

Life as an independent artist in Philadelphia can be rough, especially when it comes to booking shows. When you approach a venue, what exactly are they looking for? Will your music appeal to them or turn them off? Where does social media presence lie on the spectrum? What will get your band a coveted spot on their calendar? Where is the damn instruction manual for booking a show?

We hear it from Philly artists all the time – they want to play out more often, but they haven’t had any luck getting promoters’ attention. Well, The Key is here for you! In an effort to provide some transparency in the live music world, we decided to hit up talent buyers for a handful of venues throughout Philadelphia to get an idea of what they expect, why they expect it, what will wow them and some general pointers on how to book a show. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dice Raw at Silk City, Ode to Omni’s Stevie Wonder Tribute at World Cafe Live, Seinabo Sey at Underground Arts

Dice Raw | via diceraw.net

As a sort of warm-up to this weekend’s Roots Picnic, Roots crew affiliate Dice Raw plays a set tonight at Silk City. If you’ve never seen him live, Dice cuts a charismatic figure and we can expect to hear songs from his records Jimmy’s Back and The Greatest Rapper Never, some of his Roots tracks and other collabs. Tickets and more information on the show can be found here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Skyes at North Star Bar, Denison Witmer at World Cafe Live, Little Strike at the Sundrop Music Festival and more…

Skyes
Skyes | photo via Facebook

Indie electro pop band Skyes play North Star Bar tonight. The band got its start in Philadelphia before moving to Brooklyn, where they released a debut self-titled EP in 2013. The record jumps from MGMT-esque synth pop with 90s alt singer-songwriter vocals to a blend of industrial rock and pop, keeping listeners on their toes. Check out EP opener “Secondhander” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Figgs kicked off an exciting Memorial Day weekend

The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch
The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch

Audience members for this week’s Free at Noon were treated to a special Memorial Day Weekend gift, as The Figgs rocked the downstairs stage at the World Cafe Live. The band was in Philly to promote their new album, Other Planes of Here, their latest release in a long string of releases dating back to 1992. It was a relaxed, yet still rock and roll atmosphere, as lead singer/guitarist Mike Gent ordered a vodka martini in the middle of the set. Songs on the band’s set list for today were “Late Nights and Early Flights,” “Paper Knives” and “Something’s Wrong.” After the radio show, members of the audience got to hear the band do a cover of The Who’s “Happy Jack,” a nice surprise before heading out for Memorial Day Weekend. If you were there or listened on the radio, make sure to check out the band’s performance tonight at Dawson St. Pub. Information for the concert can be found here. Listen back to the set and check out a gallery of photos below. Continue reading →

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One More Trip: Cynthia G. Mason talks about coming back to the Philly music scene

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Cynthia G. Mason | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Longtime Philly singer-songwriter Cynthia G. Mason is ready to emerge back onto the scene after an eight-year hiatus. Mason, who was previously a mainstay on the local acoustic circuit, took some time off after 2007′s Quitter’s Claim to focus on her family. But, as she tells it, she started to “ache” for the need to create music again, and luckily for us, she’s returned with Cinematic Turn, her first EP since retreating from the music world. During a recent phone call, Mason shared details about her transition back into music and what’s so special about this album. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Pick: Buffy Sainte-Marie at World Cafe Live (UPDATE: Postponed)

Buffy Sainte-Marie | Photo by Cameron Pollack | http://cameronpollack.500px.com/
Buffy Sainte-Marie | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

One of the biggest surprises at this year’s NonCOMM convention was a spellbinding Wednesday night set by Canadian folk icon Buffy Sainte-Marie. Though she built her name in the 60s and 70s on lyrically charged, musically subtle songs like “Universal Soldier,” Sainte-Marie’s new Power in the Blood is a rager, rocking hard and loud with some alluring mystical moments that would not have sound out of place coming from Kate Bush. She returns to the World Cafe Live stage tonight, and if you missed her last week, don’t miss her tonight. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar  (UPDATE: tonight’s show has been postponed due to illness. Keep tabs on World Cafe Live’s website for information about rescheduling.) Continue reading →

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Recap: Israel Nash ends the night at NonCOMM with rollicking guitar jams

Israel Nash | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Israel Nash | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Northeast by southwestern guitarist / singer / songwriter Israel Nash brought down the house on the final night of NonCOMM with a well-recieved set of his guitar-heavy psych-rock jams. He and his band are often compared to Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and the set of expressive songs from his 2014 album Rain Plains fit that tag nicely. Listen to Nash’s performance in its entirety below, check out a gallery of photos and catch Nash and his band again this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Recap: Anderson East closed NonCOMM’s PRX stage with Alabama soul

Anderson East | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophoto.com
Anderson East | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophoto.com

Athens, Alabama musician Anderson East closed the PRX stage on night three of NonCOMM with his Southern-steeped soul / R&B. Backed by a seasoned band that included a horn section, East previewed songs from his forthcoming LP Delilah, out in July through Elektra. The songs show a knack for blending the traditional Muscle Shoals sound with the funkiness of the north, while his voice is reminiscent of Amos Lee. Listen back to the set here and check out photos below.

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Recap: The Tallest Man on Earth brings his full band to Philly at NonCOMM

The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
The Tallest Man on Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

I could go on for hours about everything The Tallest Man On Earth has done for me individually. Almost every long road trip I’ve been on since 2010 has featured at least one of his albums; The Wild Hunt I can say for certain has been spun at least 75 times by myself alone, and Shallow Grave is certainly up there in my personal rotation as well. When I realized I was going to get to hear a new album and one of the first live performances with a full band all in one week, I (admittedly) temporarily lost the ability to function.

The album itself stays true to where The Tallest Man came from; the album has no shortage of stretches with only him and his guitar, letting his lyrics and his capo-ed, unorthodoxly-tuned guitar do the talking. Continue reading →