Rocking and Rolling Down South: A recap of Atlanta’s Shaky Knees Festival

Dr. Dog | Photo by Tom Beck
Dr. Dog | Photo by Tom Beck

There’s usually a downside to festivals having stacked lineup: with so many great artists, you’re never going to be able to see them all. So when I made the trek down south to attend what is becoming the best indie-rock festival in North America – the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta – there were a lot of difficult choices to be made. Do I see The Kooks or Wavves? Kaiser Chiefs or Manchester Orchestra? Wilco or Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds? Dr. Dog or Diamond Rugs?

But even with all these conflicts (my picks: Wavves, Manchester Orchestra, Wilco and Philly’s Dr. Dog), I wasn’t disappointed. Continue reading →


A train is no match for The Avett Brothers’ set at Musikfest

The Avett Brothers / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
The Avett Brothers / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“Well my good Lord was with me tonight. Just ridin’ beside me tonight. And now were’ just talkin’, we’re hitch hiking walkin’. We’ll see you in Bethlehem tonight. And now we’re just talkin’, just hitchhiker walkin’. We’ll see you in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania tonight.”

Last night, Seth Avett enchanted the MusikFest crowd with his solo performance of “In The Curve” from The Avett Brothers‘ from 2007’s Emotionalism. It wasn’t quite what he implied while leaving The Mann Center stage in September, but Bethlehem isn’t too far off the map, and the band had the steel stacks as their backdrop as they headlined Musikfest last night. Continue reading →


Set your alarms to see The Avett Brothers at MusikFest 2014 (tickets on sale Dec. 3rd and 6th)

Photo provided courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Bummed because you missed the Avetts in September? Well take out your calendar and flip to August, because here’s your next chance to see them.

The Avett Brothers are bringing their raw rootsy Americana tunes to Bethlehem on August 7th as the headlining act of MusikFest 2014. Touring almost non-stop since their 2012 grammy-nominated release The Carpenter, the Avetts have recently been traveling the U.S. celebrating their newest album Magpie and the Dandelion, which came out in October. Tickets for the Bethlehem show will go on sale via the MusikFest website 10 a.m. December 3rd for ArtsQuest members and 10 a.m. December 6th to the public – $40-50 a piece. Reminisce about their phenomenal September performance at the Mann Center here. Prep for the show by watching their backstage performance of “Morning Song” at the Newport Folk Festival below.


“Like playing at home,” The Avett Brothers delighted the Mann Center crowd (photos, review, video, setlist)

The Avett Brothers | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.comAll photos by Michelle Montgomery |

“My love affair with Philadelphia has been in the making for about ten years now,” Seth Avett cried into the mic just before starting “The Once and Future Carpenter.” “It seems to just continue and continue and continue.”

Last night the crowd of smitten Philadelphians was remarkable in size as The Avett Brothers headlined The Mann Center.

Trombone Shorty | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |
Trombone Shorty | Photo by Michelle Montgomery |

The hootenanny began with New Orleanian dance-funk extraordinaire Trombone Shorty warming up the stage. The center crowd was already on their feet boogieing to Shorty’s jazz-swing mix, cheering for every guitar solo, trumpet trill and trombone slide. Meanwhile, the people in the wings anxiously jostled in their spots to test their sightlines for the main act.

The lights dimed low and the crowd eagerly cheered to a still stage. A couple of minutes went by before Joe Kwon (cellist) and Mike Marsh (drummer) entered. Now feverish with anticipation, the crowd almost burst with excitement with when Bob Crawford (double bassist) and Scott and Seth Avett walked out and began the set with new single “Another is Waiting.”

The Avetts put on a delightfully nostalgic show, playing crowd favorites like “Live And Die” and “Down With The Shine” from last year’s The Carpenter, and many throwbacks from older albums including “Backwards With Time” (from The Gleam EP), “Gimmeakiss” (from Four Thieves Gone), “Die Die Die” (from Emotionalism), and “Pretty Girls At The Airport” (from Mignonette).

“We’ve been overseas, to Canada,” Scott Avett said between songs. “But playing in Philadelphia is like playing at home.”

Ending the set with the whole crowd chanting the “three words that became hard to say,” the Avetts ran off the stage shaking hands of the front row and anyone else that could squeeze their way up. The crowd called out for the band to reappear for an encore, and Seth came back to the mic, guitar in hand, to ask “Are you sure y’all want this?” Playing a Doc Watson cover, “Shady Grove,” and new song, “Vanity”, The Avett Brothers ended the night with “Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise.” Implying a return in the future, Seth Avett called out, “Philly, we’ll see you soon!”

Below, check out a gallery of photos from both The Avett Brothers and Trombone Shorty’s set; after the jump, read the setlist and watch a collection of fan videos from the show.

Continue reading →


Win tickets and a meet and greet with The Avett Brothers at the Mann Center this Saturday night 9/14

avetts The Avett Brothers are playing this Saturday night, September 14th at the Mann Center with Trombone Shorty opening. We’ve got some tickets to give away to the show, and including a meet and greet with the Avetts. You want to win? Follow us on twitter @wxpnfm. Retweet the “Retweet to enter a contest to win tickets & meet & greet with @theavettbros” tweet and several random winners will be chosen by the end of the day tomorrow, Wednesday, September 11th at 6PM. Tickets to the show are available here.


Song premiere: “Another Is Waiting” by The Avett Brothers (playing the Mann Center in September)

avettbros The Avett Brothers return with a new album, Magpie And The Dandelion, out October 15. Below, listen to a premiere of the album’s first single, “Another Is Waiting,” a snappy, upbeat, banjo and guitar driven 2 minute and 8 second classic from the Avetts. The band recently played the Newport Folk Festival. You can listen to the show in its entirety here via NPR Music, and watch a video of “I And Love And You.” WXPN Welcomes the Avett Brothers to the Mann Center on Saturday, September 14 with Trombone Shorty.


Firefly Festival Day One Roundup: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avett Brothers, Public Enemy and more

Red Hot Chili Peppers | Photo by John Vettese
Red Hot Chili Peppers | Photo by John Vettese

Given the sheer volume of East Coast music fans descending upon Dover International Speedway for the Firefly Festival yesterday, it seems from chatting with other concertgoers that our experience was about par for the course. A few hours stuck in traffic along Route 1 and the DuPont Highway while the strains of Dr. Dog and Ellie Goulding piped up from the festival grounds, followed by an ultimate arrival and immediate ushering into an engrossing musical environment.

North Carolinian Brooklynites The Avett Brothers had just kicked off a stellar set at the Main Stage. This is their first local-ish appearance since The Carpenter came out last summer, and it was great to hear so much of the new album live. A set highlight was easily Chad Smith of Friday headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers joining the band on drums for “Paul Newman Vs. the Demons” (watch a video here), but it all sounded great, from “Live and Die” to “Gimmieakiss.” So excited for their Mann Center show in September.

Over at the Backyard Stage, Public Enemy delivered a raging performance of most of their 25-year-old landmark album It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back. Frontman Chuck D and hype man Flava Flav were ever charismatic, stopping the set at one point for Flav to hop behind the drumkit and play while Chuck tore up a harmonica solo. A hike across the festival grounds to the Lawn Stage and EDM kingpin Calvin Harris had a jam packed crowd swaying and dancing. Or not even dancing, so much – there wasn’t much room to move – but more of a mass of people bobbing up and down in bass-dropping musical ecstacy.

Classic Alternative headliners the Chili Peppers wrapped up the night with an impressive performance drawing mostly from the more recent end of the catalog. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who joined the group before 2011’s I’m With You, is a tremendous addition to the band, since his energy matches and compliments legendary bassist Flea’s own spastic antics. It’s like having two Fleas onstage – which is great – and singer Anthony Kiedes (who TMZ addicts will note was reportedly fresh off a rumble with security in Philly) sounded energized for most of the set, or at least until his voice started to go right around “Under the Bridge.” Still, the crowd singalong vibes were amazing on that and on “Otherside”; their iconic cover of “Higher Ground” was a rager; and an extended encore jam of “Sir Psycho Sexy” was delightfully tripped out. Check out photos after the jump, and look for more tomorrow. Continue reading →


Just Announced: The Avett Brothers are playing The Mann on 9/14

avett brothers

The Avett Brothers will be bringing their southern folk-rock croons to The Mann Center on September 14th. The band released their last full-length album, The Carpenter, in 2012 and recently announced that a follow up would be coming sometime this fall. They’ll be touring with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. Tickets go on sale on Saturday, June 29th at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, check out the music video for their song “February Seven.”


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Michaela Majoun’s five most sonically addictive songs of 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun shares her five most sonically addictive songs of 2012.

By which I mean songs you just can’t get out of your head, not necessarily because of lyrical content or musical depth, but because of a sound that hooks you.  I suspect it has something to do with repetition and viscerally-felt clapping or drum noise and the other things noted below. There are studies about why music is addictive – read more here and here. Continue reading →


Listen to songs from WXPN’s Featured Album, The Avett Brothers’ new The Carpenter

Avett Brothers photo via

The Avett Brothers recently released their new album The Carpenter, the follow-up to their 2009 album I And Love And You. The Carpenter is our Featured Album this week. Here’s a review of the album by WXPN’s Mike Vasilikos:

Their latest is an album that continues to distance the band from their early image as a rambunctious bluegrass act and settle them into a place where craftsmanship takes center stage. Perhaps that’s where the title, The Carpenter, comes from (or maybe not) – but on this latest collection it really is about the songs. It’s something that Scott & Seth have always excelled at, but was perhaps easy to overlook because of how dynamic and engaging they are (and continue to be) in performance. The Avett’s are still as engaging as ever on The Carpenter, their approach just slightly remodeled.

To say that they’ve changed their approach is probably a fair statement, but it’s hardly a surprise. With I And Love And You, the band and producer Rick Rubin found success showcasing these guys as genuine songwriters. And while that may be the case, they’re far from subdued. These songs take flight, and tunes like “Geraldine” and “Paul Newman vs. The Demons” are reminiscent of early Avetts and still hold the potential to be barn-burners in front of a live audience. Yet what we saw on I And Love And You and even more so on The Carpenter is that there is a lot of charm to these songs. They can be bouncy and fun on a song like “I Never Knew You” and reflective and thoughtful on songs like “Through My Prayers” and “Winter in My Heart.” No matter the song, this band has such a dynamic personality infused in what they do – it just naturally shines through. The core to what The Avett Brothers have always done is write compelling songs; they accentuate that on The Carpenter. This is still the same band, just a bit more focused and really honing in on their strengths.

Listen to some of our favorite songs from the album below and watch the video they did in the tour bus at WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival this past July.