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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: Allman Brothers Band plays final show at Beacon Theater, New film-doc shows how music helps dementia patients, & Watch Ingrid Michaelson’s video for “Afterlife”

Karsten Moran for The New York Times
Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Allman Brothers Band concert, this past Tuesday night at the Beacon Theater in New York City, was most likely the last in the band’s remarkable 45 year history. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Purling Hiss at Johnny Brenda’s, Orenda Fink at First Unitarian Church Side Chapel, and Shakey Graves at World Cafe Live

Purling Hiss
Purling Hiss | photo by Aaron Biscoe

Philly garage rock outfit Purling Hiss will take on Johnny Brenda’s this evening. The band’s distortion-infused sound has made the group a Philly favorite and they have continued to gain a following around the country thanks to relentless touring. Their recent album Weirdon, released by label Drag City in September, has received enthusiastic reviews, with Consequence of Sound saying that it proves frontman Mike Polizze  “to be one of Philadelphia’s best, a tough feat considering the talent bursting out of the city.” For more information on tonight’s show, head over to the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Ingrid Michaelson dazzled the River Stage

Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Two truths about singer-songwriter and XPN favorite Ingrid Michaelson: she writes ridiculously catchy, heartfelt songs. And she knows how to work an crowd. During her set before a packed, captive audience at the River Stage of the XPoNential Festival on Saturday, Michaelson exhibited both of these strengths, delivering sharp performances of songs from across her catalog – the rousing new “Home” and “Time Machine,” older numbers like “Breakable” and “Way I Am” – and having lively banter with the audience between songs.

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XPoNential Update: Schedule released, Strand of Oaks added, plus a video trip down memory lane of past festivals

Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is just one month away. And I’m sure by now you’re familiar with who’s playing this year: we have amazing artists like Beck, Ingrid Michaelson, The Hold Steady, Dawes, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, The Districts, Rodrigo y Gabriela and more on the bill.

What you don’t already know is the daily lineup schedule – and we’ve heard a lot of you asking when it would be released. This morning, we’ll answer your questions, because it’s right here.

Also, we’re happy to announce a new addition to the lineup: XPN Artist to Watch Strand Of Oaks. The Philly quartet rocked hard at this year’s Non-Comm Festival, and impressed us so much with the brand new album HEAL (released this past Tuesday on Dead Oceans), that we decided to add them to #XPNFest, upping the rock and roll quotient.  Here’s a very fun interview The Key’s Elliott Sharp did with Strand Of Oaks front man Tim Showalter the day the record came out: don’t forget to see them this Friday afternoon for a Free At Noon Performance too.

Speaking of things that are awesome, we’ve collected some videos of past XPoNential Festival performances to get you psyched for a great weekend of live music on the Camden waterfront a month from now. Check them out after the jump. Go here to XPN’s Youtube channel to watch more videos from past #XPNfest’s.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros performing “Janglin” last year:

Here’s “4 & 4″ by The Districts:

The Lumineers playing “Flowers in Your Hair” and “Hey Ho” from our 2012 event:

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Ingrid Michaelson shatters expectations at the Electric Factory

Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Ingrid Michaelson | Photo by Cameron Pollack

Still hot off the release of her newest album Lights OutIngrid Michaelson stunned a sold-out Electric Factory crowd on Friday night. I had just gone to Ingrid’s Free @ Noon concert at World Café Live that afternoon, and upon entering the Electric Factory, I expected more of the same: great songwriting and vocal talent, impassioned lyrics from her entire songwriting career, and one of the tightest backing bands in the business. Within the first hour of the show, before Ingrid herself had even taken the stage, my expectations were shattered, and by the end, I was cheering as loud as the people in the very front.

Opening up the night was self-proclaimed vintage duo Sugar & The Hi-Lows, comprised of songwriters Trent Dabbs and Amy Stroup. In an effort to bring back the feel-good sounds of the early 20th century, Dabbs and Stroup serenaded the audience with bluesy, stomp box driven harmonies, and relied on audience participation throughout the entire set. Every song echoed the sounds of the 50’s and 60’s, from the overdriven guitar to Dabbs’ own hair and outfit.

Coming up to the stage second was powerhouse Irish duo Storyman, made up of Kevin May and Mick Lynch. Echoing the songwriting style of Kodaline, Passenger and bands of the same vein, the duo transfixed the audience with vast guitar, synth and stomp box instrumentations, even calling upon the crowd to turn their cell phones and iPod’s into “digital fireflies” during a song, in an effort to recreate Kevin May’s first experience of seeing fireflies upon coming to America. By the end of the set, the audience was begging for more, but the quality of the music that night would only improve from there.

Just before 10 o’clock Ingrid finally took the stage, but it was by no means the same Ingrid that played the Free @ Noon earlier that day; this Ingrid was revitalized, charismatic, and energetic through the final chorus. This Ingrid had undeniable electricity that carried her through belters like “Time Machine” and “You Got Me” (written by and featuring Storyman), and crooners like smash-hit “The Way I Am,” “Breakable,” and “Ready To Lose” (with Trent Dabbs).

Michaelson built her relationship with the crowd from the ground up, relying on them consistently for clapping and (startlingly) excellent backing harmonies. She showcased her relationship with every member of her ever-impressive band, introducing them by making them do character walks as they were introduced, with characters including Ellen Degeneres, Marilyn Manson, Marilyn Monroe, The Incredible Hulk, and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker battling to the death (done by one person!). Other highlights from Ingrid’s set included hit single “Girls Chase Boys,” “Chain” (featuring Amy Stroup), and “You And I” (redone as a polka, complete with accordion!).

By the encore, the crowd grew to absurd volumes, and Ingrid and her band astounded the audience with anthemic renditions of “Maybe/Everybody,” and “Afterlife,” a feel-good song for the ages focused on finally becoming involved in the present moment, and every member of the crowd, myself included, was fully immersed and singing along. Post-show, Ingrid tweeted “Philly let’s get married.” to 184,000 followers. If the ever increasing volume of the crowd was any indication, the response is a resounding “Yes.”

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Just Announced: Ingrid Michaelson added to the #XPNFest lineup

IngridKicking off her sold-out Free at Noon concert today, New York singer-songwriter and XPN fave Ingrid Michaelson and XPN midday host Helen Leicht dropped a surprise bit of news on the crowd: Michaelson is joining us this July on the Wiggins Park lineup of the XPoNential Music Festival. She is currently on tour in support of her fifth album, Lights Out, and headlines a sold out Electric Factory show tonight (tickets and information can be found here). Michaelson previously performed at XPoNential in 2009 in advance of that summer’s Everybody; at the show, she collaborated with Matt Nathanson on “Loud Live” – check out a video of it below, and watch the music video for “Girls Chase Boys” after the jump. Tickets and information on XPoNential Music Festival 2014 can be found here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sharon Jones at Union Transfer, Northern Arms at Johnny Brenda’s, Red Fang at The Trocadero and more

via facebook.com/sharonjonesandthedapkings

On their latest release, Give the People What They Want, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings showcases the dynamic frontwoman’s high energy and resolve more than ever. The band returns to Philadelphia tonight to play Union Transfer and for her fans, Jones’s return to the stage is a triumph, given that the singer was diagnosed with cancer just last year. Regardless, the new album is full of great tracks like “Retreat!” and “Stranger to My Happiness.” Join Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and James Hunter for a night of classic soul. Get more info here at the XPN Concert Calender.

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Download a five song sampler from Ingrid Michaelson

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson releases her new album, Lights Out on April 15th, and plays the Electric Factory on Friday, May 30th. In advance of the release of Michaelson’s new album, she’s offering a five song sampler as a pay-what-you-wish download. You can get it for free, or if you choose to leave a tip, all proceeds go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

The collection features live versions of “The Chain,” and “Maybe,” and three songs from previous studio releases. For those unfamiliar with Michaelson’s well-crafted pop songs, it’s an excellent introduction to her work. For the fans, it’s an opportunity to add a couple of live tracks to your music collection.

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Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Girls Chase Boys” by Ingrid Michaelson

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Last week singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson announced a new album, Lights Out, (out on April 15th), released the first song from the album, “Girls Chase Boys,” and announced a tour that brings her to the Electric Factory on Friday, May 30th. The album features guest appearances from singer-songwriters Greg Laswell and Trent Dabbs, and Storyman, featuring former members of the Guggenheim Grotto, Kevin May and Mick Lynch. The video for “Girls Chase Boys” is a homage to the video Robert Palmer made for “Simply Irresistible.”

(Hear more: Listen to last week’s “Gotta Hear Song” “What’s Broken” by David Crosby)

Below, listen to “Boys Chase Girls,” Michaelson’s more than successfull attempt at increasing the more pop-leaning side of her songwriting.

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Just Announced: Ingrid Michaelson returns to the Electric Factory on 5/30

Singer-songwriter and XPN favorite Ingrid Michaelson just announced a tour in support of her new album Lights Out, due out on April 14th, and it comes to Electric Factory on May 30th. Though the album reportedly takes a darker tone than the New York singer-songwriter’s previous work, the single “Girls Chase Boys” is pure pop perfection. A music video for the song premiered earlier today on Entertainment Weekly – watch it here, and check out a video of Michaelson’s last Electric Factory appearance – from May of 2012 – below. The concert goes on sale this Saturday, February 8th, at noon via the Electric Factory website.