Wesley Stace | photo by Paige Walter for XPN
Wesley Stace and his bandmates deliver a suave and sublime Free at Noon set
Boasting a muted pink pinkstripe suit and mixing breezy bossa nova melodies with witty wordplay, Wesley Stace‘s vibe was very lounge chic as he took the stage for Free at Noon today.
Whether the vibe was role-playing or an earnest reflection of where Stace is at in his three-and-a-half decade, wildly eclectic songwriting career, it made for a most chill middday performance at World Cafe Live today; like taking a lunch hour with Serge Gainsbourg, but without the lingering creepiness.
Stace performed with his five-piece band: David Nagler on keys, Patrick Berkery on drums, Stephanie Sanders on keys, and Eddie Carlson on bass. They were warming up for a benefit show the combo plays tonight in Princeton, NJ, to support the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, a LGBTQIA-affirming community activism center that lost its headquarters during the pandemic, and is trying to find a new home. Tickets and more information on that show can be found here.
The show centered around Stace’s new album Late Style, with “Come Back Yesterday” being a highlight — a harpsichord-led “protest [song] by way of The Partridge Family” that takes a whimsical look at the twisted views of far-right America. Stace also played “The Movie Of Your Life,” a throwback from his 1991 album The Name Above The Title (released under his old stage name, John Wesley Harding), and we’re pretty sure we heard lyrical updates to include YouTube nods in its postmodern take of navigating a career in the performing arts. The set closed out with the sublime “Negative Love” from 2004’s Adam’s Apple.
Listen back to the performance, watch videos, and check out a photo gallery from the show below.
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Where The Bands Are
Everything All The Time
Your Bright Future
The Movie Of Your Life
Come Back Yesterday
The Impossible She
Do Nothing If You Can