Four Philly heavy hitters to play The Fire in one stacked September weekend

Hemming | photo by Matthew Shaver |

Praise the indie concert gods for bestowing us with a stacked weekend of music over at The Fire from September 16th to the 17th. On Friday, one of a kind Philly alt-country rockers Marah take the stage, as well as recent XPoNential Festival performer Ben Arnold. The very next night scene favorites Amanda X joins forces with Candice Martello’s solo project Hemming on a stacked bill that also features Diet Cig and The Obsessives. Tickets for Marah and Ben Arnold can be found here and tickets for Amanda X, Hemming and more can be found here. Check out music from each of the band’s below. Continue reading →


Free at Noon Flashback: Marah kicks off Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival

Marah | Photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN


This week’s Free at Noon concert was a special one: Today is the start of Lancaster’s Roots & Blues Festival, and what better way to kick it off than rocking out with Marah. Local Montgomery County brothers David and Serge Bielanko fronted the six-piece band with high energy and ready to take over the day. Well-known for their intense stage performances, Marah did not disappoint.

The Philadelphia locals traveled out to Lancaster, packing in the downstairs back room of Tellus360. The room was crowded from the stage outwards to each wood-paneled wall. As excited fans danced and stomped their feet, the band brought a little bit of Philly to central PA and played their well-known folk rock tunes like “Point Breeze” and “Walt Whitman Bridge” off of their 2000 album Kids in Philly. Marah recently reissued the album and celebrated the 15th anniversary, making it available on vinyl for the first time ever. They kicked off the anniversary tour back in October 2015 which started out in their hometown at Underground Arts. Continue reading →


Marah is celebrating the vinyl reissue of Kids in Philly with its “classic” lineup

Marah's Kids in Philly
Marah’s Kids in Philly

Legendary Philly alt-country rockers Marah are coming to Underground Arts on October 17, and they’re bringing back the lineup that recorded their breakout album, Kids in Philly.

Marah have gone through many, many lineup changes throughout the years. If you missed your chance to see this stellar lineup back in the early 2000s, you’re in luck. Frontman David Bielanko will be joined by his brother, Serge Bielanko, along with Christine Smith, Adam Garbinksi, Dave Petersen, and Mark Sosnoskie, and special guests Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner and Matt Cappy + horns. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Album Leaf at World Cafe Live at The Queen, Marah at MilkBoy, QQQ at The Fire and more…

Album Leaf
The Album Leaf | photo via Facebook

The Album Leaf brings a short tour to World Cafe Live at The Queen tonight. Jimmy LaValle began the electronic project in California in the late nineties, collaborating with Conor Oberst and touring Japan before signing with Sub Pop in 2004. His last record was 2010’s A Chorus of Storytellers, though he’s performing new tracks on this current run of dates. Pick up tickets for the show here and watch the video for “Always For You” below.

Continue reading →


XPNFest Recap: Marah showed off some serious skills on the Marina Stage

Marah | photo by Michelle Montgomery |
Marah | photo by Michelle Montgomery |

Where do you even start with a band like Marah.  The re-invented band’s set had a few XPoNential firsts, to begin with.  First bagpipe on stage (probably), youngest band-member (young fiddle prodigy Gus Tritsch) and the first time I saw a line of fans line up at the back of the stage to autographs.  From the name of their most recent record, Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, you might expect a quaint back porch folk group but that is no where near what we got this afternoon on the Marina Stage.

Continue reading →


XPoNential Artist Spotlight: Keeping mountain minstrelsy alive with Marah

Marah | Photo courtesy of the artist
Marah | Photo courtesy of the artist

The underdog set of this XPoNential Music Festival belongs to Marah – one known as a raucous Philadelphia rock band, now a raucous Central Pennsylvania folk band. Led by Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith, its project of late is the excellent 2014 offering Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, where the six-piece recorded its own rearrangements and renditions of songs collected in 1931 by folklorist Harry Shoemaker.

This is where the underdog aspect comes in: as Dave explains, the songs they drew from – while they are as striking and resonant in a modern context as I imagine they might have been three-quarters of a century ago – are nonetheless the music of the people, everyday real people, the sort that cultural critics might tend to eschew and not anthologize in favor of somebody more…I don’t know…poetic. But this is poetry nevertheless. Continue reading →


Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10 (feat. Modern Baseball, Elegant Animals, Marah and more)

TheKeyStudioSessionsVol10Summing up an entire region’s music scene in an hour-ish long compilation is pretty much impossible. But dangit, we try our best. I’m very psyched for the roster of artists we’ve lined up on The Key Studio Sessions Volume 10, out today as a free download you can grab below. Pop-punk wave makers Modern Baseball did a version of “The Weekend” from their 2012 debut LP Sports, and the mini XPN shoutout they deliver at the end of the first chorus might be my favorite moment of the set. Continue reading →


Alt-country rockers Marah, playing #XPNfest, share video for “A Melody of Rain”

Alt-country rockers Marah are one of the 30+ bands playing WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival this summer at Wiggins Park/Susquehanna Bank Center July 25-27th. The band recently released Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania. The album was inspired by a 1931 book by Henry Shoemaker, “Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania.” Marah’s Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith wrote music for the early 20th Century and Civil War-era lyrics and recorded the album in an old farmhouse in Central Pennsylvania, where they relocated after leaving Philadelphia. The album is a impassioned collection of country & folk & gospel flavored rock-and-roll, recorded with a handful of local musicians including 9 year old fiddle prodigy and singer, Gus Tritsch. Gus steals much of the show on this new video for “A Melody of Rain,” a motley, yet swinging roots rave-up. Tickets for the XPoNential Music Festival are available here.


Rodrigo y Gabriela, Hurray for the Riff Raff, The Hold Steady and more top the XPoNential Music Festival lineup

Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via
Rodrigo y Gabriela | photo via

Dueling acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, eclectic New Orleans folk-blues combo Hurray for the Riff Raff, and stalwart rock n’ rollers The Hold Steady are just some of the 25 artists announced today in the full lineup of this year’s edition of the XPoNential Music Festival.

These acts will play the two stages in Wiggins Park from July 25th to July 27th of this year, alongside the festival’s headlining concerts at Susquehanna Bank Center featuring Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes (July 26th) and Beck, Band of Horses and The Districts (July 27th).

Hurray for the Riff Raff | Photo by Kate McCann |
Photo by Kate McCann |

The Wiggins Park bill is filled with WXPN favorites, like alt-country heroes Old 97s, Jersey singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins and Diego Garcia, all of whom are return-XPNFest-ers.

There is also an assortment of up-and-coming names like countrified Nashville singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose (featured on World Cafe’s Sense of Place: Nashville series); Bear’s Den, a UK rock trio with a flair for drama (they made a splash at the March Edition of the Communion Club Night at Underground Arts), the jazzy / folky vocal combo Lake Street Dive and the art-pop powerhouse Lucius, (who knocked our socks off at Free at Noon late last year.)

Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Man Man | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

The greater Philadelphia scene is nicely represented as well. Bigger names like avant-garde rockers Man Man (who leaked their appearance last week), punk rock troubadour Dave Hause and reinvented folklorists Marah will mix with emerging artists Commonwealth Choir, Our Griffins, Marian Hill, The Lawsuits, Ginger Coyle and Viv and the Revival.

And adding an even more eclectic scope to the lineup is a taste of zydeco from C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band and some Mississippi blues care of harmonica master James Cotton.

Three days passes for new and renewing WXPN members are available now here. Tickets for the general public go on sale on May 1st; as with previous years, three-day passes will include lawn admission to the Susquehanna Bank Center shows (seated tickets to those are on sale separately, here and here).

Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of the Wiggins Park lineup, and read the complete list of artists after the jump.

Wiggins Park
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Trigger Hippy (featuring Joan Osborne, Jackie Greene & Steve Gorman)
Lake Street Dive
Old 97’s
The Hold Steady
Hurray for the Riff Raff
C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band
Man Man
Nicole Atkins
Diego Garcia
James Cotton
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Dave Hause
Jeremy Messersmith
Caitlin Rose
Bear’s Den
The Lawsuits
Marian Hill
Ginger Coyle
Our Griffins
Viv and the Revival
Commonwealth Choir

Susquehanna Bank Center
Ryan Adams
Jenny Lewis
Band of Horses
The Districts