“We didn’t know anyone would be here,” Paul Janeway told a packed house at World Cafe Live this afternoon. “We thought, okay, we’ll do a little acoustic thing. And here you are. Hope that doesn’t deter your experience!”
For fans of Alabama rock and soul outfit, today’s scaled back presentation for Free at Noon wasn’t a deterrent in the slightest. Sure, the band can raise the roof in full drumkit / full-size amplifier configuration. But even with drummer Kevin Leon playing a single snare with brush sticks and guitarist Browan Lollar going unplugged, the ace horn trio of Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Amari Ansari (saxophone), and Chad Fisher (trombone) was in full force, and Janeway’s voice and charisma was in top form.
The band took us on a tour through their discography, with their 2014 debut Half The City and their 2014 The Alien Coast getting the most spotlight time with three songs apiece, a nice how-it-started / how-it’s-going move. Their retro-soul hit “Call Me” is still a roaring ripper, but the discofied “Last Dance” and the bright bop “Minoutar” stood tall aside it, while “Love Letter From A Red Roof Inn” was a toned-down moment of reflective reprieve. “Apollo” from 2018’s Young Sick Camellia was a standout too, and “Flow With It (You Got Me Feeling Like)” from 2016’s Sea Of Noise also got fans (and Janeway) going.
Before heading off to Fishtown to settle in for their two-night stand at Brooklyn Bowl Philly, including a New Year’s Eve party tomorrow, St. Paul and the Broken Bones had a final treat for the fans in the house. After the Free at Noon broadcast ended and Mike Vasilikos announced that next week’s Free at Noon concert is the return of Candy Volcano for Philly Bowie Week (RSVP here), Janeway brought the band back out for an off-air encore cover of “Moonage Daydream.”
Listen to the performance in full below and get more information on St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ Brooklyn Bowl Philly gigs at the WXPN Concerts and Events page.