Pep Rally Free at Noon - 07.05.2024

“I think it’s important for everybody to figure out what their personality is and dress like that era,” Tommy Joyner told today’s Free At Noon crowd. With his long salmon-colored trenchcoat and Joe Strummer haircut, he explained further that “I’ve chosen 1978 to 1983. I like old stuff, I have trouble breaking up with stuff.”

Joyner’s band Pep Rally, which also features high-octane drummer and vocalist Emily Roane, brought that throwback energy to today’s Free At Noon concert for a warmly receptive crowd revved up for their holiday weekend. The two-piece channeled the rough-round-the-edges meat-and-potatoes rock and roll of the late 20th Century — Cheap Trick, The Replacements, Foghat, Kiss, et cetera — as they sang songs about partying, doing drugs outside the club, and the plight of dreamers trying to get out of their small town. It was punchy, but also rather spacey at points (credit the vocoder effect employed for the single “Clubbing On The Moon” but present throughout), making the vibe a retrofuturistic one, like the Dazed And Confused soundtrack launched into the cosmos.

In addition to rocking with this duo, Joyner is the longtime proprietor of Philly’s MilkBoy Studios and its two venue offshoots — the band’s next gig is at MilkBoy on 11th and Chestnut with Spelling Reform on August 1st, details at the WXPN Concert Calendar — and he spoke warmly of WXPN’s support of “original artists.” He didn’t let the set go by without some familiar covers, though, with the Bee Gees hit “Stayin’ Alive” opening the set, and then after explaining that he got divorced this year and that “the people you love the most can hurt you the most easily,” a raw rendition of Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time.”

Listen to Pep Rally’s Free At Noon performance below, and check out photos from the set below.

Pep Rally
Free At Noon
  • Stayin' Alive
  • Roll Around
  • Clubbing On The Moon
  • Turn The Radio Up
  • This Life
  • Always Messed Up
  • South St.
  • ...Baby One More Time