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Free at Noon Flashback: Slaughter Beach, Dog’s set mixes sliding and shredding guitar

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

I love when crunchy bands play Free at Noon. Especially local crunchy bands — that’s just the Cherry on top. Haaaa. You know, those bands that are more thought of in context of packing sweaty basements or DIY venues than playing WCL at an hour when coffee is still vital. And that’s exactly the musical forecast today’s early afternoon set called for, which saw Philly’s Slaughter Beach, Dog closing out the day’s rare local-favorite double-header .

Not only did this change of pace showcase well-deserving, insanely talented artists, it also brought about a refreshingly interesting collection of folks — where a crowd of longtime Free at Noon regulars became speckled with beanie-clad college students.

Just to be clear though, as previous co-frontman of a little mega band called Modern Baseball, Jake Ewald is no stranger to playing big venues. But his new project Slaughter Beach, Dog is an entirely different monster; particularly SB,D’s recently released record Birdie, where acoustic stillness and subtle twang serve as the go-to vehicles of Ewald’s casually intricate narratives. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Cherry fills World Cafe Live with its sunny sounds

Cherry | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

The winter weather is finally setting in. My coffee got so cold during my 15-minute walk to XPN HQ this morning that I had to stop for another coffee. And with snow in the forecast this weekend, it’s hard to fight the instinct to wrap up in a blanket and never move.

Cherry, however, came to Free at Noon prepared to fight off the cold with their laid-back, fuzzed-out, and all-around beachy and chill vibes. The band was up first for today’s Free at Noon doubleheader, bringing with them the relaxed vibes of their new LP Dumbness. Their set, though short, eased the crowd into a vibrant afternoon of Philly tunes, which included fellow members of the Lame-O Records family Slaughter Beach, Dog — it was the perfect way to take shelter from the winter winds.

The World Cafe Live stage isn’t Cherry’s usual scene, though. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Jen Cloher’s got a knack for wry, personal storytelling

Jen Cloher | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Stories are powerful. They can place people in another’s shoes, or provide comfort in relatable, shared experiences. They can move listeners to tears, or to laughter, or to everything in between. To be a storyteller, then, makes you a force to be reckoned with. And that’s exactly what Jen Cloher is: a strong, wry storm of a storyteller.

You won’t find Cloher spinning made-up tales of fantasy though; whether it be through the deeply affecting songs she performed solo-style for today’s Free at Noon crowd, or by the comically-doused, stand-up worthy firsthand tales she recounted for context in between her set, they all shared the trait of personal, honest transparency. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Jade Jackson performs her first (ever) encore

Jade Jackson | Photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Jade Jackson makes me want to invest in a good pair of cowboy boots and try (for the umpteenth time) to get into country music. The singer-songwriter from California brought her twangy, rocking tunes to World Cafe for XPN’s Free At Noon series today, and from her command of the stage and strong presence I never would have guessed that this was a performer on just her first national tour. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The Pretenders bring peace, love, and rock n’ roll to the World Cafe Live stage

The Pretenders | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
The Pretenders | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

The Pretenders made the Free at Noon stage their second home, blazing through a set filled with some old and new tunes, all in the name of the band’s comeback release Alone. After keeping quiet for a good couple years (last releasing a record in 2008), these English/American legends blessed the world with the recent release of their new full-length and announcement of an extensive tour with the one and only Stevie Nicks. Lucky for us, World Cafe Live got a sneak preview of what’s to come for the legendary group.

Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Rayland Baxter shows his many sides during lively Free at Noon

Rayland Baxter | Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com
Rayland Baxter | Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com

It was no surprise to see a nearly full house this Friday for singer-songwriter Rayland Baxter. After all, not only is his style of alt-country immediately infectious, but many XPN fans got a chance to see him rock the Susquehanna Bank Main Center Stage in support of Grace Potter this summer at the XPoNential Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Father John Misty puts on a witty, one-of-a-kind show

Father John Misty | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com
Father John Misty | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com

Indie folk artist Father John Misty took the stage at today’s Free At Noon and unleashed his charm on a packed room of buzzing fans. After finishing their first song “I Love You, Honeybear” off of their upcoming album Honeybear, lead singer J. Tillman joked “All the best rock moments happened at noon. I think Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar at noon.” Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Sylvan Esso bring their eclectic vibes to World Cafe Live

20141024_Kindness_FAN-5 - Brittany Salerno
Sylvan Esso | Photo by Brittany Salerno

The creative collaboration that is Sylvan Esso had today’s crowd movin’ and groovin’ to their electropop songs, kicking off today’s Free At Noon double-header with pizzazz. Playing material from their self-titled debut, producer Nick Sanborn gave us eloquent, chimey beats and wobbly synthesizer lines, singer Amelia Meath performed eclectic dance moves and delivered alluring vocals. Continue reading →