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Review: Cheers Elephant’s “farewell for now” and Kopecky Family Band’s return to town is a winning ticket

Kopecky Family Band | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Kopecky Family Band | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Last night, Philadelphia’s packed TLA became THE place to be. Period. Combine Cheers Elephant’s quirky upbeat pop sounds with the Kopecky Family Band’s beautiful orchestration and incredibly well-written songs, and you’ve got yourself a winning ticket. It would not be hyperbole to say that these two groups truly have it all: charm, stage presence and most importantly, killer music.

While they hail from Nashville, the Kopecky Family Band feels at home in Philly, frontman Gabe Simon making small talk with crowd members as he and the rest of the band prepared the stage. Opening their set with “The Glow” and moving into “Howlin’ at the Moon,” drummer David Krohn kept things driving and locked in, making for an energetic and strong start. They then played one of my personal favorites, “Birds,” which starts with a delightfully airy and ebullient melody on the glockenspiel and, as guitars, bass, vocals and drums are added, only gets edgier. Bassist Corey Oxendine along with the groups bespectacled frontman took up their trombones towards the end of “My Way,” the gradually intensifying tune that concludes with a passionate delivery of lyrics and the crowd’s shouting of “na-na-nas”.

Roughly a third of the way into their set, the group performed their most popular tune, “Heartbeat,” a song to which nearly every person in the room knew the lyrics, or at the very least was dancing. Midway through the performance, the volume and tempo were brought down with “Change,” whose heartwarming harmonies shared by Simon and front-woman Kelsey Kopecky and delicate guitar strumming made emotion accumulate in the audience as a whole. Not two songs later, however, did they elevate the energy once more with “Wandering Eyes,”,a song appropriately prefaced by Simon, “We’re going to take you down south”.

Though Cheers Elephant was billed as the opening band, it’s hard to say that they truly were one. This was their last show as Philadelphia residents, and they plan to move to California this winter. While I can’t say they stole the show, I can say they were deserving of being a headliner, and I’ve never witnessed a band having more fun onstage than Cheers Elephant. They opened their hour-long set with “Peoples,” during the chorus of which the already-packed audience sung along, “I wanna groove when I wanna wanna groove, yeah!” And groove they did. They then paid homage to their hometown with “6th and Girard.” (I’ll admit that I got emotional when frontman Derek Krzywicki sang the lyric, “Under a Philadelphia sun.”)

Despite some guitar trouble, the group pushed through “Doin’ It Right,” and if anything, the technical difficulties added to the grit of it all. I’m a sucker for “Party On Darwin,” and to my surprise, the audience in its entirety was on cue with the opening lyric, “Hey yo! Let me wash your windshield!”. Of course, “Leaves” was a highlight of the set, and proved that a group that writes some of the best indie-pop out there can perform just about as well as anyone. Between Kryzwicki bouncing around and doing the running-man and drummer Robert Kingsly, who had gotten engaged in the green room just before the show, putting on his best Dave Grohl, I don’t think there’s a group that performs with more cheerfully quirky flare than this one. Cheers Elephant, Philly is going to miss you.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kopecky Family Band at TLA, Jose James at World Cafe Live, Luscious Jackson at Union Transfer, and more

Kopecky Family Band | via Facebook

The Nashville natives of Kopecky Family Band will be headlining the TLA tonight, just one stop on a tour that is taking them around North America for the remainder of the year. Their full indie sound is created with the use of keyboards, horns, and cello in addition to the basic band set up. Their somewhat recent releaseKids Raising Kids, opens with the spunky lyrics “Oh! my wandering eyes / nothing’s gonna take me by surprise!” that are delivered in harmony over bluesy riffs and slowly marching drums. Sure to be an upbeat performance, get out to see Kopecky Family band, especially since they’ll be supported by California-bound locals Cheers Elephant. Find tickets to the show here, and pick up their album here.

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Watch Kopecky Family Band perform “Heartbeat” in a hotel pool for Out of Town Films (playing The TLA 11/23)

When the rain hammered down at this summer’s XPoNential Music Festival, Nashville’s Kopecky Family Band retreated to their hotel pool with the Out of Town Films crew. This summer we saw their reverberant performance of “Are You Listening.” Today, the Out of Town gang released a “b-side” performance of the band’s single “Heartbeat.” Watch it below. XPN Welcomes Kopecky Family Band to The TLA on Saturday with Cheers Elephant; tickets and info here.

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My Morning Download: “Tusk” by the Kopecky Family Band (XPN Welcomes to the TLA on 11/23)

Photo via http://www.facebook.com/kopeckyfamilyband
Photo via http://www.facebook.com/kopeckyfamilyband
The Kopecky Family Band is returning back to Philly. XPN Welcomes the band to the TLA on Saturday, November 23rd with Cheers Elephant opening the show. This summer when the Kopecky’s played two sets at the XPoNential Music Festival, one of the highlights was their incredible cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk.” Below, in exchange for your e-mail address, you can download two cover songs by the Kopeckys including “All You Do Is Talk” (originally recorded by Black Music Motorcycle Club) and the band’s cover of “Tusk.”

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Today in Kopecky Family Band audiovisual news: watch a live performance of “Little Baby Sister” at Main Street Music

Photo by Eric Ashleigh
Photo by Eric Ashleigh

If you’re anything like the Sunday afternoon XPoNential Music Fest crowd, you can’t enough of Nashville’s Kopecky Family Band.  In the days since the festival Out of Town Films released a video of the best-friend-group performing “Are You Listening” next to a hotel pool and now (thanks to XPN DJ Eric Schuman) we have video of band members Gabe Simon and Kelsey Kopecky singing “Little Baby Sister” on the sales counter of Manayunk’s Main Street Music during an in-store appearance.  Watch the video below and sing along on the “oooh”s with the audience.

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Watch XPoNential Fest artist Kopecky Family Band perform at a hotel pool for Out of Town Films

The latest installment of video roundups from XPN Fest by the Out of Town Films gang features festival show-stealers Kopecky Family Band. When the rain started to fall mid-afternoon, the band and the OoTF video crew retreated to their hotel in South Jersey to record a beautiful, reverberant session on the perimeter of the hotel pool. From the crew:

With a twenty foot high mural of a beach as a backdrop, and the glimmer of the hotel pool surrounding us, it made for an interesting session, both visually and acoustically, to say the least. It’s far different from the other sessions, yet the story leading up to this one proved to spur a bit of creativity.

Watch the band perform “Are You Listening” below.

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XPoNential Fest: Kopecky Family Band fills in on the River Stage

photo by Joe del Tufo joedeltufo.com
photo by Joe del Tufo joedeltufo.com

Lianne La Havas unfortunately couldn’t make her XPoNential Music Festival due to sickness, but the Kopecky Family Band filled in on the River Stage for their second set of the day – and did so successfully. The Nashville outfit played some of the same songs as their previous set, including tunes from their latest album, April’s Kids Raising Kids. Despite having played the Marina Stage a few hours back, the “family” amped up their energy and were visibly excited to be performing again. Switching instruments and vocals like they were playing real musical chairs, the band got the audience moving and participating in claps and choruses of na-na-na’s. They’re set to make their first, appearance on late-night television Wednesday, performing on Jay Leno. See photos of the performance in the gallery below and listen to the set in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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