Free at Noon Flashback: Amy Ray and her band offer a delightful start to the holiday weekend

Amy Ray and XPN go way back. She has appeared at World Cafe Live and on World Cafe the show countless times, both as one half of Indigo Girls and as a solo artist. She will play World Cafe Live again tonight and XPoNential fest in July. Before all that though, she and her band treated us to a fantastic Free at Noon set. It was a great way to roll into the long weekend.

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Anderson .Paak proves he’s got the best “teef” and live show in the game

Tuesday, night Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals treated his Philly fans to a magnificent show at The Met, just months after their rousing show at The Fillmore. This latest show is part of .Paak’s “Best Teef In The Game Tour” which is in support of his new album, Ventura, released just five months after last year’s Oxnard. With a set that stretched five albums, .Paak demonstrated yet again, that he is one of the best out there. Continue reading →


Tash Sultana lives in the moment at The Met Philly

When Tash Sultana told The Met Philly that the world “is a pretty messed up place right now,” they didn’t specify what they felt was making it that way. Sure, we could venture a guess, but last Friday night, the Melbourne singer-guitarist could have been referring to any number of things that flashed across our news feed all week. For Sultana (who is nonbinary and uses they/their pronouns) it was more crucial to focus on uniting rather than dividing — something, they observed, their gigs tend to do.

“It is so nice when you look into a crowd of people and see every single age, every single race, every single sexuality and gender,” they said. “There’s people in the world who want to tear that simplicity apart, but not in here montherfucker! Things are changing, and it’s beautiful to be a part of.” Continue reading →


Lizzo raises her voice in song and on social issues at uplifting TLA set


Lizzo | photo by Lissa Alicia for WXPN

A sermon. A therapy session. A protest. An evening of self-love. What do all of those things have in common? Lizzo offered all of that and more to her fans during her Saturday night performance at the TLA.

As fans, covered in glitter, sequins, and pastel wigs filtered into the South St. venue they were flanked by multiple signs stating that the Lizzo show was “100% sold out,” the sentiment mirroring Lizzo’s song “Truth Hurts” where she decrees that is “100% that bitch.” According to Lizzo, this was a far cry from her first show in Philly where only about 100 people who showed up. Continue reading →


Tacocat sticks it to the man (both literally and figuratively) at Boot and Saddle

Tacocat | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |
Tacocat | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

It was fitting that Tacocat’s 2019 tour marched through Philly when it did. Just last week, the governor of Alabama signed into law a near-total ban on abortion, which has the power to put doctors who perform such medical procedures behind bars for 99 years. In case you’re wondering, that’s a harsher punishment than some rapists receive in Alabama. The passing of the law will likely set up an eventual showdown between women’s rights advocates and the United States Supreme Court, and some believe that recently-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh has the potential to be a deciding vote on overturning Roe v Wade.

Reasons like these are why bands like feminst punk bands like Tacocat exist. Don’t let the whimsy palindromical name fool you; when it comes to women’s rights and sticking it to the man (literally and figuratively), Tacocat doesn’t mess around. Seattle’s favorite riot grrrl resurrectors did their part to help dismantle the patriarchy at South Philly’s Boot & Saddle Saturday night while touring their most recent release, This Mess is a Place. While the Alabama law, to my surprise, didn’t specifically come up in discussion by the band at all during the night, the rage was implicit in the music. When a band writes songs with titles such as “Men Explain Things to Me,” “Hey Girl,” and “Crimson Wave,” the music sort of does the talking for you. Continue reading →


NON-COMM Recap: Lizzo pops by for a surprise acoustic set

Lizzo | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

NonCOMM’s final day stated with a blast as a surprise guest took to the stage. That guest was none other than pop superstar Lizzo, who hung around for a two-song acoustic session.

Currently on her “Cuz I Love You Too” Tour, Lizzo graciously took time out of her busy schedule to acoustically perform two songs from her most recent album, Cuz I Love You. She began with the title track, bursting out at the top of her lungs as each chorus came. She then hit the audience with her biggest hit at the moment, “Juice.” Clapping, shouting and rejoicing ensued as Lizzo belted out the lyrics to the feel-good anthem. Continue reading →


NON-COMM Recap: Rodrigo y Gabriela show us what two guitars can do

Rodrigo Y Gabriela | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Rodrigo y Gabriela may have started off their set with a soft, lullaby-ish tune, illuminated only by a single spotlight. But don’t get too comfortable with that mellow sound, beautiful as it is, because what followed after was a loud, jarring song that gave us a taste of what heavy metal might sound like if it could only be played with two guitars. Nearly 20 years into their career, the duo is continuing to push the boundaries of guitar music, showing off the full range of what the instrument is capable of — and what they as songwriters can imagine into existence. Continue reading →


NON-COMM Recap: Amanda Palmer reflects on personal freedom in a powerful set

Amanda Palmer | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Amanda Palmer walked onstage tonight with a big glass of red wine and a lot to say. That’s nothing unusual for the artist, who is known for her unabashed embrace of writing political issues into her evocative songs. The major difference between this set and any of her others, though, had to do with time. Palmer is used to playing a set that lasts at least four hours, especially on her current tour behind her new album There Will Be No Intermission. Tonight she had 20 minutes. Continue reading →


NON-COMM Recap: Lula Wiles’ roots music is honest, original and brilliant

Lula Wiles | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Contemporary roots trio Lula Wiles shined brilliantly on Thursday night. The young band, consisting of Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke and Mali Obomsawin — joined by Eli Cohen on drums — brought a passionate mix of bluegrass, country rock and folk music to the PRX Stage in front of a full house.

Obomsawin, Buckland and Burke studied at Berklee College of Music together, (Cohen was at New England Conservatory) and the band is currently based in Boston. All four members of the group grew up in Maine, and they met while taking lessons at Maine Fiddle Camp, “which I know is, like, disgustingly adorable,” Buckland remarked during the show. All three singers are also songwriters and instrumentalists, and they displayed impressive group chemistry in several different instrumentations throughout their performance. The trio has always sounded stellar in a traditional bluegrass format — like fiddle, guitar and upright bass — but they added new dimensions to their set when they chose to break out of that format and explore other sounds. Continue reading →