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XPN Fest Recap: Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires supply plenty of soul to close Saturday’s Wiggins Park slate

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

If you didn’t know better, you might have thought Charles Bradley was a soul pioneer, still belting out decade-old classics for an audience reliving the music of their childhood. The reactions from the crowd after every number played by Bradley and his Extraordinaires during their closing set on the River Stage Saturday evening pointed to such a notion being true. Heck, even Bradley’s age would make that seem like the logical interpretation. He’s 67 years old.

These assumptions would be incorrect. Bradley broke out just six years ago when he was finally discovered. After experiencing his live product for the first time, I can say with confidence that we were robbed of many years of heart-on-his-sleeve performances that would have been rivaled by few. Because that’s what Bradley and his band gave us in Wiggins Park Saturday. His age did not factor into his performance, except for the fact that he’s had more years than most to perfect his dance moves. I’d have a lot of fans too if I could pelvic thrust and do the robot like he does. But all jokes aside, Bradley and his Extraordinaires brought wicked amounts passion to each breath, whether that was from his howling, soulful vocals or the blasting brass courtesy of the band. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Dave Hause & The Mermaid rep Philly with a rockin’ Marina Stage set

Dave Hause | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

It’s probably pretty hard to be more Philly than Dave Hause. He was born here and became a mainstay in the Philly punk scene for years, spending time with bands such as Paint It Black and The Loved Ones. Saturday afternoon, he shouted out Strand of Oaks and WXPN’s own Bruce Warren and Helen Leicht during his rockin’ set on the Marina Stage. His current band, The Mermaid, covered The Roots’ “The Seed” in the middle of it all. And their newest album, released in February, is entitled Bury Me In Philly. Like I said, it’s pretty tough to out-Philly this guy. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Foxygen gets weird on the River Stage

Foxygen | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Throw away what you believe a rock show should look like because Foxygen probably just redefined it. The California duo, made up of Jonathan Rado and Sam France along with their backing band, got a little weird on the River Stage in Wiggins Park Saturday afternoon. France came out with his shirt tied up in the middle of his gut, his eyes covered by heartshaped sunglasses, his hair red and his face and all white — whether it was sunscreen or some sort of makeup/paint is TBD. Jackie Cohen, who supplied backing vocals, tried kicking a beach ball off the stage and sent her shoe with it. Neither she nor France kept still for just about the entire set. Their movement, sometimes spastic but often quite rehearsed, sent waves of energy into the crowd, which was the largest it had been in the park so far this weekend. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Brownout’s takes on Black Sabbath and Latin rock keep dancing at a maximum

Brownout | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

It would have been easy for everyone to just mail it in for Brownout‘s performance, which closed out Wiggins Park Friday evening. Just a few hundred yards away, Angel Olsen was wowing BB&T Pavilion. The crowd at the Marina Stage had thinned. Just don’t tell those who were smart enough to stick around. Brownout seemed to take them to another land.

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XPN Fest Recap: Arkells uplifts the Marina Stage crowd

Arkells | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

Arkells knew they were fortunate. With the adjustments made to the schedule Friday, things, of course, didn’t go as planned for everyone. So the Hamilton, Ontario-based rockers wasted no time in getting the party going. Main vocalist Max Kerman jumped into the crowd during the band’s very first song, asking them to join him on “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)” in singing the line “When the rain starts coming down / a little rain ain’t bringing me down.”

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Watch a super-serious Strand of Oaks cover Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love”

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Everybody has their own routine to get ready for work. Timothy Showalter’s just might be a little different (OK, a lot different) compared to the rest.

Before a show earlier this week in Athens, Georgia, Strand of Oaks posted a video of Showalter and some of the crew warming up their pipes with a cover of Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love.” The camera work and black-and-white editing add an entirely new level of entertainment value. Every few seconds brings a new surprise twist to this captivating and inspirational film. Watch it below for a good laugh. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: We guarantee Josh Ritter won’t get rained out at Union Transfer

Josh Ritter | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Last year’s XPoNential Festival was an overall success, but if there was one negative takeaway, it was that Josh Ritter wasn’t able to reschedule his washed-out Saturday set. If you were one of the many who was disappointed about mother nature’s intervention, here’s some news to wipe away any bad memories: Josh Ritter is coming back to Philly and there’s no chance weather gets in the way of this one. Ritter’s fall tour will include a headlining show at Union Transfer on Nov. 5. Continue reading →

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Surprise! Camp Cope needs no notice before last-minute Troc Balcony gig

Camp Cope | photo by Joe Bloss of WXPN

When I woke up yesterday, my plans for the evening were about the same as most Tuesday nights so far this summer: Go to work, leave around nine and get home in time to watch the Phillies lose. Then I saw the news that Melbourne, Australia’s best punk rockers, Camp Cope, were headlining a last-minute gig at the Trocadero Balcony — last night. If the punk rock gods were kind enough, I maybe had a chance to make it in time for Camp Cope’s set, the last of a four-band bill.

I made it. It was as great as expected. I am sorry to Kississippi, Who Loves You and Larry Nodder, the first three acts of the night. Work commitment kept me away just long enough to miss you all. I’m sure you were great, and I’m hopeful any readers in attendance can attest to such an assumption in the comments.

Considering my attendance was as impulsive as the show itself, I did not record the order of the setlist. I can recall at least five numbers from the band’s lone LP — “Done,” “Lost (Season One),” “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams,” “Trepidation” and “Stove Lighter” — two from their more recent split with Cayetana — “Keep Growing,” “Footscray Station” — and, as pointed out in this Facebook-comment fan video, one new song. Whatever order those songs were played in doesn’t matter because what they sounded like was near-perfect. Continue reading →

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Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes has a new band in Bermuda Triangle

Alabama Shakes | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Anyone who attended last year’s XPN Fest knows quite well how amazingly talented Brittany Howard is. As the vocalist for the Grammy-winning Alabama Shakes, she packs a vocal punch rivaled by no one. So the news that found its way through the interwebs this week was sure to excite: Howard has a new band and they’re debuting live in Nashville next week. Continue reading →

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Listen to Wolf Alice’s latest, catch them at The Foundry Saturday night

Wolf Alice
Wolf Alice | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

The second full-length album from Wolf Alice is on the way, due out Sept. 29, and the UK-based band shared a few more pieces of it Wednesday. Along with the artwork of Visions Of A Life, they released another single entitled “Don’t Delete The Kisses.”

This is the second single from the album, following up “Yuk Foo.” As opposed to its predecessor’s angry rant of a song, “Don’t Take The Kisses” laces Ellie Rowsell’s whispering verses with an echoey chorus, all throughout a spacey pop beat that soothes instead of scolds. The shredding from the first single is replaced with layers of synths. On Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, the four-piece explained Wednesday that the gap between the two songs won’t seem as wide once the whole album is out. We’ll hear the proof in a couple of months. Continue reading →