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In about 15 minutes, Sean Danger Smith took listeners through a whole alcohol-addled night under the haze of Ortlieb’s red lights. Celebrating the release of his new album, Sad Disco, Smith played a live set from the iconic bar for this week’s Free at Noon. 

Beginning with his breakout single from this winter, Smith paid homage to the smoking section love affairs that occur on North 3rd Street with “City Wide / We Met At Ortlieb’s.” Breaking out the acoustic guitar while the rest of the band played electric, he recalled someone drawing his face on a napkin the night they met. Insisting “I love you like an open mic,” it brings to mind all the strangers you swore were the one a few $4 Tecate’s in. Even virtually, Smith encapsulated the unpredictable fun of bar-room banter and random encounters. 

Still, the fun can’t last forever, as everyone knows after a night of binge drinking, there’s the inevitable hangover. Sobering up on “Parliament Blues,” Smith’s somber guitar playing carried a heavy sadness. Wondering what he said wrong, offering to change, and finally asking for the other person’s name, it feels like the knot in your stomach that even a few drinks can’t undo. Ending with “Scared,” it’s the gritty late-night bleary-eyed rock n’ roll you’d expect to hear at last call. Attempting to hold his liquor back to no avail, the track builds into a gorgeous crescendo and tipsy confessional. 

You can stream Smith’s whole set here and stream Sad Disco below, and check out the Free at Noon archives here

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Setlist
City Wide / We Met At Ortlieb’s
Svedka / Bloodshot Eyes
Tchoupitoulas
Parliament Blues
Scared
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