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Foxing brings drama, high energy, and beautiful catharsis to Union Transfer

Foxing | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

You’ve got to hand it to Foxing; the St. Louis experimental rock outfit knows how to set a mood.

Before they stepped on stage at Union Transfer, all the lights venue’s lights powered off, and into the shivering pitch blackness piped the ethereal tones of Enya’s “Only Time.” Not the song I was expecting to hear at this juncture, but as the pulsing green lights faded up and the band walked out on stage — each clad in matching Foxing sports tees with corresponding surnames on the back — it totally worked. It was a bit of serious drama, a bit of ironic irreverence, and as frontperson Conor Murphy strutted to the edge of the stage, arms flailing at the front row like a conductor wearing a huge grin, he was the living embodiment of this dichotomy. Continue reading →

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Traveling photo show To The Front DIY comes to Philly to celebrate female and non-binary artists

To The Front DIY
To The Front DIY photographers in New York | photo by Nancy Dubin | courtesy of To The Front DIY

Create an artistic space for yourself: this is the central idea behind To The Front, a traveling photo show that focuses on the work of female-identifying and non-binary artists. Launched by photographers Erica Lauren Perez and Courtney Coles in Los Angeles, the show has toured cities like Boston, New York and Toronto, and comes to Philly on October 27 at Callowhill gallery Vox Populi. It is a free, all age event. All money raised through the selling of prints or snacks will be donated to local charities.  Continue reading →

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&More will perform at La Colombe’s next Hope and Fury event

&More | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

The Fishtown location of La Colombe Coffee continues its Hope and Fury concert-and-discussion series Hop and Fury tomorrow night with an appearance by &More, the Philly collaboration of R&B singer Donn T and rapper Chill Moody. The event also features a spoken word performance from André Wyze, of Humble Genius Media, and a discussion panel on de-stigmatizing mental health issues, featuring Chill Moody, Donn T, and Dr. Tim Barksdale. Continue reading →

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Revisit XPNFest 2018 with a 48-song VuHaus video playlist

Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

The annual XPoNential Music Festival is the pinnacle of summer, drawing crowds of passionate music lovers and diehard festival goers. This year’s lineup was impressively diverse, including prominent, well-known artists, from Margo Price, Mondo Cozmo and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real to newly emerging bands like Harmony Woods, Bermuda Triangle and The National Reserve. Continue reading →

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The Gaslight Anthem takes The ’59 Sound on a victory lap at The Fillmore

The Gaslight Anthem | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

I first heard “The ‘59 Sound” on an HP laptop computer, through Apple earbuds, streaming from New Jersey upstarts The Gaslight Anthem’s MySpace page in July 2008.

For any young fan, the impression that a piece of music leaves can feel like a hot iron imprinting itself into our skin. That is, if the stars are aligned, so to speak. Until this point, The Gaslight Anthem was rapidly building buzz among punk rock circles, on blogs and message boards and in bars and basements. With one full-length album and one EP behind them, the band signed with indie label SideOneDummy to release a follow-up to continually growing anticipation.

When The Gaslight Anthem released the title track to The ‘59 Sound that July, it felt like serendipity. Here is a young band absolutely bursting with potential that very well appears to be exceeding every expectation. (I vividly remember feeling very 17 years old and absolutely floored by the confidence, power, and conviction to a singular vision that “The ’59 Sound demonstrated.) One month later, The 59 Sound was released on August, 19, 2008, jettisoning The Gaslight Anthem to near-ubiquity among rock music fans of most kinds and cementing an impact in contemporary punk rock. Many regard it as a minor rock and roll masterpiece.

Which, of course, brings us to last Wednesday, August 15, 2018. A near 10 years since the release of The 59 Sound, at a sold-out FIllmore (a Philadelphia venue that did not exist in 2008), a stop on The Gaslight Anthem’s ‘59 Sound 10-year anniversary tour. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Tank and the Bangas will be joined by Big Freedia on tour this fall, with a stop at the TLA in October

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Although we may still be recovering from the unforgettable “vortex of crazy” that was Tank and the Bangas‘ XPN Fest performance, it’s never too soon to welcome them back for another show. Now that we’ve had over a week to catch our breath post-festival, the news of Tank and the Bangas’ return to Philly feels perfectly timed, and their upcoming fall tour couldn’t have a better lineup. Continue reading →

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Belly draws on comic books and pop culture for the new “Mine” video

Belly | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

At the start of the summer, Belly sat down with World Cafe host Talia Schlanger to talk about reentry into the music scene, time away from the band, and the first practices back together. Schlanger described Belly’s reentry as throwing another party, after leaving the first party 23 years ago. In addition to bringing a new album, DOVE, to the party, they’ve also brought a new music video in the form of “Mine.” Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Josh Ritter serenades the River Stage with sunset jams Sunday evening

Josh Ritter | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

To close another wonderful weekend at the XPoNential Music Festival, longtime station favorite Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band took the stage, sun setting on the Philadelphia skyline in the distance. The colors of the sky progressed through the sunset gradient, from pinks, yellows, and oranges of the early sunset to the purples and blues of nightfall – the perfect backdrop for Ritter’s festival-closing performance. Time can easily escape the crowd during moments like this, lost in the music during the famed golden hour. Ritter’s well timed 18-track set was the perfect compliment to close out the weekend at Wiggins Park. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: The Blind Boys of Alabama connect to Gospel roots on the River Stage

Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

“Sit back, relax, take your shoes off if you want to, and listen to The Blind Boys of Alabama,” founding member Jimmy Carter said to greet the crowd. Instead of noting what visually impaired people cannot do, The Blind Boys of Alabama promote what they can do, and this particular group sure can sing Gospel music.

Second track “God Knows Everything” highlighted this sentiment, and it was during this song I overheard a crowd member say “you gotta go to Church one way or another.” Sunday evening on the River Stage, the Blind Boys’ angelic riffs and choir style chorus brought the crowd to church. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Tank And The Bangas send the crowd into a vortex of chaos and joy

Tank and the Bangas | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

The New Orleans-based Tank and the Bangas can be described as a tribe of truly passionate artists with immense, generous talent and massive amounts of energy — it all showed on stage.

Everyone in the vicinity was not ready for the vortex of crazy we were about to enter. The band’s stage presence, especially frontwoman Tarriona “Tank” Ball’s, was electrifying as they performed a beautiful, chaotic explosion of genres from hip-hop to funk to hard rock, with covers from Anderson .Paak’s funky bop “Come Down” to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Continue reading →