XPN Fest Recap: Joseph’s sisterly harmonies mesmerize the Marina Stage crowd

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Joseph | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

In an obvious way, Joseph‘s Closner sisters are a single unit. In watching them during a Sunday afternoon set at XPoNential Festival’s Marina Stage, their bond was detectable past their similar faces. Their harmonies intertwined by more than any certain key or pitch. There was something about the connection that wasn’t necessarily visible, but felt or understood.

Yet just as they exist as one, the three sisters also shined individually. Natalie, the eldest and clear leader — she was the one to announce, “these are my sisters” — flanked the right. Only she sported an instrument beyond her human abilities, equipped with an acoustic guitar and bass drum stomping pad. With those tools, she guided the 11-song set through each twist and turn like an older sister should.

One of the two younger twins, Meegan, positioned herself in between her sisters. Her moment came about halfway through the set when she explained the meaning behind the song “I Don’t Mind.” The lyrics were born from a voice in her mind, one that wasn’t her own, that told her it was OK to be sad. The voice still loved her, and the longer she sang that voice’s words, she realized they had to be her words before they could be anyone else’s. Cheers of support met Meegan as she opened up.

The third and final piece of Joseph was Allison, who at times took the lead vocals. The responsibility was passed down the line, often several times in one song. Other times it was shared with soaring harmonies, something the band established as a staple of their sound on 2014’s debut LP Native Dreamer Kin. However, nearly the entirety of the performance came from Joseph’s sophomore album I’m Alone, No You’re Not, released last year on ATO Records. It’s an album that expanded the trio’s folk roots and ventured into vibe pop territory at times, most notably its hit single “White Flag.”

Joseph closed with that song, which was an obvious crowd pleaser. Upon completing the tune to a sizeable applause, the three sisters joined arms for one final bow. Just as they were for the past 40 minutes, now just a little more literal, they existed as one.

Setlist
Stay Awake
Hundred Ways
Canyon
Wind
SOS (Overboard)
Planets
I Don’t Mind
Moonlight Mile ( The Rolling Stones Cover)
Whirlwind
Sweet Dreams
White Flag

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