I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—WXPN’s Free at Noon Fridays are truly one of my favorite activities in the Philly area. Today, WXPN and host Dan Reed visited Ardmore Music Hall to welcome Rayland Baxter and his band (who are playing the same venue tonight). And oh, what a show.
After introducing the band, Baxter slid into the title track from his latest album, If I Were a Butterfly. Slightly more…transcendental…than his previous work, the band jammed as bright, colorful lights washed the stage. Bodies swayed around me, while I did my own hippie shake, the crowd forgetting their responsibilities they left in the middle of their Friday workday. As Baxter, Barney Cortez, and Todd Bolden played their fingers out on the strings, you could feel the electricity radiating into the crowd.
Soaring past the normal 30 minute length of Free at Noon shows, Baxter played a few more tracks off his new record, along with some old favorites. Olivia and Mr. Rodriguez were crowd pleasers, and the live version of Buckwheat blew the album version out of the water. Nearing the end of the set, Baxter asked the crowd who was coming to the show tonight. Myself and others yelled out, while a gentleman at the front said he wanted to come. Hearing this, Baxter asked the man to write down his name and he’d put ‘em on the guest list, as he audibly questioned if tickets were left.
Reed wrapped up the extended show, but the band had one last act up their sleeve—Yellow Eyes. We all continued our hippie shakes until the last note was played, before we headed out into the cold, bright November day.