With a sold-out Union Transfer show ahead of her tonight, and a great new EP called Milk Teeth fresh in her catalog as of November, Los Angeles-via-London singer-songwriter Suki Waterhouse played an entrancing set for today’s Free at Noon concert at World Cafe Live.

As synth parts hummed, then soared, and the retro kick-snare beats echoed, Waterhouse delivered recent songs and very new ones in her distinctly emotive alto. The Lana Del Rey comparisons are so easy to make, and not necessarily inaccurate, but the key here is truly a shared affinity for stylish 20th century pop and its descendants — The Ronettes and Nancy Sinatra to Sharon Van Etten and Bat For Lashes.

Waterhouse’s 2021 outing for Sub Pop, I Can’t Let Go, was repped by the hushed and dreamy opener “Devil I Know” into the expansive “Moves,” punctuated by a pre-chorus beat drop into an epic drum pulse. “Coolest Place In The World” from Milk Teeth meditated to solitary Radiohead-esque keys, and the solo electric guitar number “Brutally” cleverly slid into a full-band entrance on a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” — a moment that was both on the nose and absolutely perfect.

The indie pop of Milk Teeth‘s  “Johanna” brought the beat up after the mid-set break with touches of Belle & Sebastian, Alvvays, and Philly faves Japanese Breakfast; the slow burning “My Mind” from Let Go wouldn’t have sounded out of place at the Twin Peaks Roadhouse. The music was all fondly reminiscent of popular touchstones, but on the set standout “To Love” — Waterhouse’s next single, which she said is releasing in March — she really stepped into her own space, moving the pensive and dreamy number into fierce and fervent territory, once again, built around a booming beat.

Listen back to the performance and check out a gallery of the set below; following tonight’s sold-out Philly show, Waterhouse’s tour continues tomorrow at Webster Hall in New York. Full tour dates can be found at her website.

Suki Waterhouse Free at Noon 1.27.2023
Suki Waterhouse
Free At Noon
  • Devil I Know
  • Moves
  • Coolest Place In the World
  • Brutally
  • Johanna
  • My Mind
  • To Love
  • Good Looking