No Name Pops celebrate The Sound of Philadelphia and beyond at Free At Noon - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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No Name Pops Free at Noon - 09.15.2023

After the iconic Philly POPS orchestra disbanded at the end of their 2022-2023 season, former musicians of the group refused to call it quits.

In November of 2022, Philly POPS musicians, who were in the middle of negotiating a new contract, were given somber news by management and the Board of Encore Series Inc. that the orchestra was disbanding. This came after a steady string of cancellations and late payments to the musicians, resulting in an on-going lawsuit against management. The disbandment of the orchestra has left countless musicians without work.

Former Philly POPS musicians and staff decided to take matters into their own hands. In the beginning of Spring 2023, the musicians formed their own group called The No Name Pops. They’ve been spending their summer volunteering to perform free shows across the Philadelphia area, raising funds and awareness for the musicians who were affected by this cancellation, and one of their stops was a  Free at Noon show today at World Cafe Live.

Performing a “salute to classic soul and R&B with a Philly Twist,” The No Name Pops uplifted the spirits of of this Philly audience by playing legendary tunes from the Motown and Philadelphia International catalogs and beyond. And what better way to start a Philly tribute show than with “The Sounds of Philadelphia” by MFSB? With a lively and colorful orchestration, The No Name Pops set the tone for an invigorating show.

Soul Singer Paula Holloway joined the No Names onstage for the remaining performance, jumping into a vibrant cover of The O’Jays “Love Train.” Following the classic cover, the group slowed things down with “Natural Women” by Aretha Franklin. Holloway’s voice was packed with power, mingling sensationally with the sweet harmonies coming from the Pops’ string section. After a lurid performance of “Betcha By Golly, Wow” from The Stylistics, Paula Holloway invited the audience to dance away to the disco classic “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead. Brightening the room with notable funky rhythms, there was nothing stopping the listeners from moving and grooving with the musicians.

The No Name Pops ended their set with the spirit of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and the powerhouse essence of Patti Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” but the audience was not ready for the show to end. After beckoning the band for an encore, the crowd was so exhilarated to hear “Love Train” by The O’Jays again that they broke out into a love train of their own: marching around in a conga line while pulling in surrounding people. Despite the hardships The No Name Pops have been facing, nothing can damper the pure energy and love of music that they bring to the stage.

The No Name Pops are coming to the Kimmel center on October 28th, 2023 at 3pm and 8pm to perform their showcase Let’s Groove Tonight: Motown and The Philly Sound. Follow along on their journey and share your support by following their website, NoNamePops.org.

Setlist
Sep
15
No Name Pops
Free At Noon
  • The Sound of Philadelphia - MFSB
  • Love Train - The O’Jays
  • Natural Woman - Aretha Franklin
  • Betcha By Golly Wow - The Stylistics
  • Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now - McFadden and Whitehead
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder
  • Lady Marmalade - Patti Labelle
  • Get Down, Get Funky - Teddy Pendergrass
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