XPN Fest Recap: Sweet Spirit has no shame on the River Stage

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Sweet Spirit | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Midway through Sweet Spirit‘s Sunday afternoon River Stage set Sabrina Ellis told the crowd she’s impossible to embarrass. She doesn’t mind how she comes off as a person. Then, only for a half sentence, she retracted. “The only thing that humbles me down to a slithery, slimy, pre-evolution being…I just can’t think of anything,” she joked.

The comment landed some laughs, but it was clearly true. For a good 40 minutes, in between delivered songs with a powerful and commanding voice and contributing occasional rhythm guitar alongside her three bandmates, she leapt around the stage in a hooded rainbow one-piece. She complemented the unconventional look with some cowgirl boots and orange sunglasses, which she later ditched to look more “sincere.” But really, the entire act — the outfit, the in-your-face dance moves and the sweet vocals — was sincere. It was who Ellis is, an unrelenting rock star who doesn’t need anyone’s approval.

She was the star of Austin, Texas-based band’s 11-song set, which felt like a marathon in midday festival terms. But the rest of Sweet Spirit deserves just as much credit for setting the tone. Two guitars shredded throughout, the drums smashed as smashingly as it gets, and the bass kept it all glued together. Secondary vocalist Andrew Cashen’s chops proved to be a nice pairing with Ellis’, taking a tougher, more defiant tone. Everything came together to formulate near-perfect rock ‘n roll.

The set spanned through each of Sweet Spirit’s LP’s — their 2015 debut Cokomo and this year’s St. Mojo. The current cycle’s lead single “The Power” started the train, and the mood persisted until set-closer “Take Me To A Party,” which concluded with Cashen getting some hang time in a leap into the photo pit. A party was a fun thought and a good idea, but there wasn’t much of a need to go to one. Sweet Spirit had provided their own right here in Wiggins Park.

Setlist
The Power
Pretty Baby
Salvation
Baby When Can I Close My Eyes
Rebel Rebel
Chained & Tied
The Mighty
Wanna Have You
Pamela
If You Wanna
Take Me To A Party

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