Noname shines in her Philly debut at World Cafe Live

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Noname | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Noname | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

A week before the show, tickets to see Noname at World Cafe Live were being sold online for up to six times their original $15 asking price — the show had sold out months prior, and the Chicago rapper’s profile had only grown through an appearance on SNL with Chance the Rapper and acclaim for her Telefone project. To say the least, the show this Wednesday, March 1st was in demand.

Doors were at 7 p.m. and by the the time 7:15 rolled around the first four rows were spoken for. By the time that the opener, Ravyn Lenae, graced the stage 45 minutes later, the entire downstairs of World Cafe Live was abuzz with energy.

Ravyn Lenae | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Ravyn Lenae | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Lenae, who also hails from the Windy City, gave an effortless performance with sweet angelic vocals that can be likened to that of Solange. Despite having a brief set that lasted no more than 20 minutes, it was audibly and visually apparent that the audience was enthralled with her shot set that was the perfect compliment to Noname’s headlining performance.

After a 15-minute intermission, A four piece band made their way on stage followed by 3 backup singers, one of which whom Milly Rocked from behind the curtain – the crowd was amused and cheered him on. After a few minutes of mellow instrumentation and vocalization, Noname took the stage. With her casual attire that featured jean shorts, black stockings and a tricolor crewneck, the Chicago born songstress and spoken word artist decided to start her set with “All I Need.” The audience did not miss a beat when the DJ decided to drop out the music and prompted them to sing along on the hook.

Noname | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Noname | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Halfway into her set, Noname exited stage left and came back and after deciding to don a ruby red sequin cape in homage to James Brown. Noname’s nods to her predecessors did not end there, but went a step further when she did a cover of The Isley Brothers’ “Contagious.” She went on to perform fan favorites such as “Telephone” and “Bye Bye Baby.” During her performance of “Forever,” Lenae accompanied Noname for a duet full of beautiful femme talent.

After a few more songs Noname, thanked the audience and wrapped up her set. Once the headliner and her band exited the crowd immediately chanted “ENCORE” — it wasn’t even a full minute before Noname came back out to sing “Sandman.” By 10, the show was over and the audience was thoroughly satisfied as they made their way to Noname’s merch table with the hopes of meeting her. She’ll be back in Philly on Saturday, June 3rd at the Roots Picnic.



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