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Free At Noon Flashback: Quilt creates a groovin’ dreamscape of sound

Quilt | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
Quilt | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

After a dreamy psychedelic performance at Johnny Brenda’s in March and as one of the must hear new acts at Firefly Music Festival last month, we were more than excited to welcome back the New England indie rockers Quilt for a Free At Noon show before their headlining gig at The Foundry later this evening. Riding a wave opportunities following the February release of their third LP Plaza, the band is back and ready to inspire with a fresh batch of airy tracks that exude their mellow rock influences.

More than half of the band’s set was dedicated to the new material, including the Plaza standout “Roller” near the end of the set, where vocalist and guitarist Anna Fox Rochinski floats through this impossibly light song. Throughout the set, Rochiniski and vocalist and guitarist Shane Butler would swap vocal duties, even having drummer John Andrews join in on the fun for his own verses. But the band was its strongest when it came together for group vocals, a perfectly synced listening delight. Continue reading →

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Duran Duran balances the new and the classic at BB&T Pavillion

Duran Duran | Photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN
Duran Duran | Photo by Doug Interrante for WXPN

Generation X was out in full force on Thursday night for Duran Duran‘s gig at BB&T Pavilion. Though the band is now 35 years into its recording career, most fans came to hear the old hits — and the band did a masterful job of mixing things up a bit with both old and new rooted in their signature synthpop sound. The female-voiced roar that went up as they hit the stage was deafening, and the dance party that would ensue was even more epic as thousands re-lived memories from the 80’s and 90’s. The 18-song set only included five tracks from Paper Gods, their latest release and first in five years, filling the rest of the list with a majority of their hits from over the years. Continue reading →

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Let Them Roll: Brandi Carlile, Old Crow Medicine Show wrap up XPNFest with maximum energy

Brandi Carlile | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
Brandi Carlile | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Okay, Brandi Carlile, I promise to never again pigeonhole the wonderful thing you do as “singer-songwriter” or “roots / Americana.” Just keep slaying like you did from the BB&T Pavilion stage on the closing night of XPN Fest.

The Seattle-rooted musician and longtime XPN favorite took the stage last night not only with Tim and Phil Hanseroth – aka “The Twins,” her longtime collaborators on guitar, bass and vocals – but with a rousing full band that elevated her songs to arena rock proportions befitting the huge amphitheater they were performing in. On drums, Brian Griffin propelled the music forth; on cello and keys, Josh Neumann added nuanced, atmospheric accents; on guitar, Gibb Droll rumbled and roared. Carlile is gripping as a solo performer, no doubt — she made all of NonCOMM cry back in 2015, after all — but seeing her with this lineup is next-level.

Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Low Cut Connie shimmy and shake up the Marina Stage

Low Cut Connie | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com
Low Cut Connie | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

At his beloved piano Shondra, Adam Weiner hopped onto his piano bench, and with one leg extended in the air parallel with the ground, he continued to bang the keys during Low Cut Connie‘s rousing set on the Jerseyarts.com Marina Stage. Weiner isn’t about conventional playing, standing on his bench has become so ingrained in the band’s shows that his microphone extends to compensate for the added height. At one point he even stomped the keys with his feet before shimming in circles and grooving his hips to the music. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Mavis Staples takes us there with a powerful River Stage performance

Mavis Staples | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Mavis Staples | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

After singing “Freedom Highway,” Mavis Staples shared the story behind the song written by her father in 1962. “Pops Staples wrote that song for the big march,” she told us of the iconic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. “I was there, and I’m still here…I’m a living witness, a soldier!” she said. Staples went on to say that she’s part of an army of love, fighting for hope and peace.

It was a well-timed moment from a timeless musician. In a weekend where one performer told the festival faithful that the evils of the world were the reasoning behind him cutting his performance short, Staples took the opposite approach. She provided the antidote to the evils of the world, a performance full of heart and happiness. The 77-year-old used every ounce of soul in her to put together a show even better than what her household reputation called for. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: David Wax Museum stay the night to play day three

David Wax Museum | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
David Wax Museum | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

David Wax Museum was just as excited as fans were to be rescheduled to day three of XPoNential Festival after having their set cancelled due to torrential downpours yesterday afternoon. Not only did they stay the night to perform, but if fans just couldn’t get enough, the band announced during their set that they will be returning to Philly for New Year’s Eve 2017 with a celebration performance at Johnny Brenda’s. The band counts the venue as one of their favorite in all of the country. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Oliver-John Rodgers welcomes us to his rock and roll roadshow

Oliver-John Rodgers | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Oliver-John Rodgers | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Come one, come all to the rock and roll spectacle. Nashville musician Oliver-John Rodgers and his band delivered song after song of heavy shredding during their Jerseyarts.com Marina Stage performance at XPoNential Festival. Rodgers shared the stage with Diane Coffee an hour prior to his own set, fanning Diane as he reappeared from behind stage draped in a new outfit, fabulous getup. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: The Marcus King Band was lit

Marcus King Band | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Marcus King Band | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

A man with a braided goatee was howling his brains out. He had no shirt, no shoes, and thanks to The Marcus King Band, the man had not a care in the world. For more than half an hour, he played air guitar left-handed (How skilled). He screamed, jumped and bounced around to the wildly entertaining jam session put on by the South Carolina native and his band. As the gentleman next to me perfectly pointed out, “He [was] the happiest guy here.” Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Diane Coffee dazzles with gripping theatrics

Diane Coffee | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Diane Coffee | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Diane Coffee is from another era. The intoxicatingly theatrical performance was filled with the essence of the greats that came before them, who would parade around the stage and truly give the audience a show. Getting fully into each song with a wide range of exaggerated facial expressions and mannerisms of the great frontmen and women of the ’60s and ’70s was a modern blast from the past to when rockstar sets would dazzle with a life and energy that couldn’t be contained. With the full band dressed as sailors, Diane (also known as Shaun Fleming, the drummer of Foxygen) entered the Jerseyarts.com Marina Stage in metallic eye makeup. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Eliza Hardy Jones takes center stage

Eliza Hardy Jones | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com
Eliza Hardy Jones | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

Eliza Hardy Jones has been here before. She played keys in sang in both Grace Potter’s band and Strand of Oaks, two acts that have graced XPoNential Fest in years past. This time around though, all eyes were on Hardy as her solo project took to the River Stage. And in the pressure of the main stage, she made the most of her big moment. Continue reading →