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The Week Ahead: Childish Gambino, David Byrne, Thin Lips, The McCrary Sisters and more

Childish Gambino’s This Is America | still from video

We hope you’ve got your schedule cleared, because the next seven days are seriously busy on the live music front. Kicking off tonight with Childish Gambino’s long-awaited headliner at Wells Fargo Center, and running through the return of punk legends The Vibrators on Monday, here are 23 concerts you can see in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: David Byrne brings American Utopia back for a Mann Center encore

David Byrne | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

You just saw him at #XPNFest, but who can really get enough of David Byrne? If you’re still awestruck by his Friday night headlining set, then this is the news for you — Byrne will bring his American Utopia tour back our way sooner than expected, this time with a show at The Mann Center on September 20. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: David Byrne and Sylvan Esso energize bodies and stimulate minds at BB&T

David Byrne | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

About a half hour before XPNFest’s night one headlining sets began, things did not look promising. Wiggins Park had just been evacuated due to an approaching thunderstorm, ticketholders were jammed in the lobbies keeping dry from the downpour. Where was this night going to take us?

With David Byrne and Sylvan Esso as our guides, it transcended the soggy situation. Though markedly different in look, sound and style, both performances brought innovation and inspiration to the BB&T Pavilion stage; they brought big beats and danceable rhythms, they brought maximally minimal approaches to live music, they brought songs that move your body and make you think about the world around you, feeling the gravity of life in 2018 but dancing our way towards a positive future. And as the crowd felt that energy, the air around us seemed to change, calming down midway through Sylvan Esso’s set and clearing up completely for Byrne’s extravagant headliner. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest headliner David Byrne has a lot up his sleeve for 2018

David Byrne | Photo by Jody Rogac

2018 is going to be a great year for music icon David Byrne. The former Talking Heads frontman released American Utopia, his first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, and announced an expansive world tour, with various shows already sold out. Part of that tour involves Byrne will also be stopping by the BB&T Pavilion in Camden to headline the XPoNential Music Festival with other amazing artists such as The War on Drugs, Sturgill Simpson, Sylvan Esso, and more. (For more updates and information, head over to the XPN Fest website.)

The visual approach to the tour is captivating; Byrne has referred to the staging as a blank canvas, where he and his backup singers use headset mics, his band plays their instruments wirelessly, there are no boom stands or instrument cables or drum risers in the way. Essentially it opens up the entire stage for movement and expression; watch a roundup of fan videos from recent shows below.  Continue reading →

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Listen to David Byrne’s American Utopia via NPR Music

David Byrne | Photo by Jody Rogac

At the beginning of 2018, it was announced that Talking Heads founding member and prolific artist David Byrne was gearing up for a new release. American Utopia, the title of Byrne’s first solo outing since 2004’s Grown Backwards, was announced alongside lead single “Everybody’s Coming to My House,” a catchy, upbeat jam and XPN favorite track. Slated to release March 9th on Todo Mundo and Nonesuch Records, American Utopia is available to stream in full now, a week early, over on NPR Music. Continue reading →

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David Byrne shares American Utopia track “This Is That”

David Byrne | photo by Jody Rogac | courtesy of the artist
David Byrne | photo by Jody Rogac | courtesy of the artist

Listening to music from this year’s upcoming XPN Fest headliners is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues on a dreary February day — especially when that headliner is David Byrne and he’s just released a new song. Byrne’s forthcoming album American Utopia is due out March 9, and the iconic artist has just shared a second single, “This Is That.” Continue reading →

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XPN Fest headliner David Byrne collabs with Oneohtrix Point Never on new track, “This Is That”

David Byrne | Photo by Jody Rogac

Before David Byrne burns down the house this summer at this year’s XPN Fest — haa bet he never gets that one — the music icon will release a new album titled American Utopia on March 9th via Todomundo/Nonesuch. And before then, you can listen to one of the new tracks right now as he’s just shared “This Is That” with BBC Radio. Continue reading →

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David Byrne will bring his “most ambitious show since Stop Making Sense” to Hershey and Wilkes-Barre

David Byrne | photo by Eric Ashleigh for WXPN

When David Byrne last played Philadelphia, it was at the Tower Theater during his collaboration with St. Vincent, Love This Giant — where the stage was wide open and filled up with horn players, various guitarists and a keyboard station up on risers. Byrne found the setup freeing and inspiring, and is patterning his 2018 run off of it.

As he posted in an announcement on his Facebook page earlier today, Bryne developed an even more open design for his current run of shows, which will include material from a new album he’s releasing in 2018. Working with Clair Brothers in Lancaster County, Byrne developed a setup that made the stage a completely blank canvas, free of risers and drum platforms, free of monitor wedges and hovering stage-hands.

“I’d experienced a taste of this on the tour I did with St. Vincent, where all the brass players were mobile,” Byrne wrote. “With everyone mobile, I realized the stage could be completely clear. If we could have the monitors in our ears, the amps off-stage and the lights up high, then we had the possibility of a completely empty space.” Continue reading →