Kopecky Family Band headlining Union Transfer in October

Photo by Joe del Tufo
Photo by Joe del Tufo

XPN favorites Kopecky Family Band have announced a tour date at Union Transfer this fall. The Nashville six-piece, who delivered not one but TWO energetic sets at XPoNential Festival last summer, have been all-but-nonstop touring since the release of their 2012 LP, Kids Raising Kids. You can catch them return to Philadelphia on Friday, October 17th; tickets will become available here Friday at noon. You can revisit the band’s performance on the Marina Stage last summer here, and watch the video for “Change” below.


Watch Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros play “Man on Fire” and “Janglin'” from XPoNential Music Festival

Photo by Michelle Montgomery
Photo by Michelle Montgomery

A musical high point of summer 2013 was undeniably the Friday night headlining set by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at XPoNential Music Festival. Below, watch videos of the band playing “Man on Fire” and “Janglin” from the set.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – 40 Day Dream from WXPN FM on Vimeo.

Continue reading →


Watch XPoNential Fest artist DRGN King perform “Fail Big” at the Camden Aquariaum for Out of Town Films

Screen shot 2013-08-01 at 12.19.50 PMThe latest video in Out of Town Films’ series of shoots at the XPoNential Music Festival came out today: DRGN King strumming an acoustic take on their new song “Fail Big”, performed just before the downpour put the Wiggins Park side of the festivities on hold. From the filmmakers:

When we saw that our buds, DRGN King, would be playing the XPoNential Music Festival, we knew we had to meet up with them. A few months ago, they played an OOTF mini ‘pop-up’ show, with a full on electric set. This time around, they were under different circumstances.

The guys posted up outside of the Aquarium for this acoustic rendition of their new song, “Fail Big” and right as they finished, the skies opened up and drenched the festival.

Watch “Fail Big” below.


The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. XPo Fest, Moreland & Arbuckle, Moon Taxi)


Photo by Joe Del Tufo
Photo by Joe Del Tufo

The 2013 XPoNential Music Festival was a rocking success – check out reviews, photos and videos of all the performers, including Lord Huron, DRGN King and Erin McKeown [link]

Meet Kyle Noone, the 13-year-old drummer who got to play “Home” with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros at XpoNential [link]

Local bands shine at XPoNential – revisit sets by Dr. Dog, The Districts, Aaron & The Spell and more [link]

This week’s new show announcements include Fiona Apple & Blake Mills, a second Animal Collective date, Citizen Cope and more [link]

Out of Town Films recorded a few XPoNential artists over the weekend, including Kopecky Family Band and Matt Pond [link]

Folkadelphia introduced their Alan Lomax-inspired Suitcase Sessions with Skinny Lister [link]

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week comes from an Elvis Costello / The Roots collaboration called “Walk Us UPTOWN” [link]

Monday’s My Morning Download featured Moon Taxi‘s “The New Black” [link]

Listen to a new song called “Stare at the Sun” from Wesley Stace [link]

The Key premiered the video for “Modern Boys from 7 Cities” from Moreland & Arbuckle – catch them at this Friday’s Free at Noon performance [link]

Khari Mateen gives us this week’s stunning six-track Key Studio Session [link]


Watch XPoNential Fest artist The Fleeting Ends play “Little People” along the Camden waterfront for Out of Town Films

Local trio The Fleeting Ends recently gave a rousing performance at the first day of this year’s XPoNential Music Festival. After their set, they met up the Out of Town Films gang to do an unplugged cut of their tune “Little People”, off their latest full-length, Our Eyes Are Peeled. Filmed right on the waterfront, and chock full of lovely harmonies and charming mandolin, this acoustic rendition is certainly worth giving a listen. Check it out below, and revisit The Fleeting Ends set at the River Stage here.


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.


XPoNential Fest: An Americanarama grand finale with Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Ryan Bingham

Bob Dylan and his Band | Photo by John Vettese
Bob Dylan and his Band | Photo by John Vettese

Though yesterday’s record-setting torrential downpour washed out Wiggins Park headliners Dawes, the 2013 XPoNential Music Festival ended on a high note with tremendous Americanarama lineup of Ryan Bingham, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and the legendary Bob Dylan and his band.

After an earnest performance from Bingham, MMJ came on and electrified the crowd with a broad-reaching set “I’m Amazed” to “Wordless Chorus” and a special appearance by Dawes compatriots Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, who joined Jim James and company on a cover of “Waiting On A Friend” by The Rolling Stones. Next up was Wilco, whose set also drew from across their catalog; impressive moments included a breathtaking “Poor Places” (from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), a jaw-dropping “Impossible Germany” (from Sky Blue Sky) and a rousing finale of “Dreamer in my Dreams.”

Dylan and his tight band closed out the night with a set frontloaded with material from his recent LPs Time Out Of Mind, Love and Theft and last year’s Tempest. As it continued, though, Dylan worked further into his catalog for new arrangements (not immediately recognizable) of classics like “Tangled Up In Blue” and”A Hard Rain’s-A Gonna Fall”, as well as nuggets like “She Belongs To Me” from Bringing It All Back Home. Though his set did not feature any of the collaborative moments of previous tour stops, the XPoNential crowd did get an encore of “Ballad of a Thin Man.” See photos from the show in the gallery below.


From The Districts to Dr. Dog, local artists shine at XPoNential Fest

Photo by Eric Ashleigh
The Fleeting Ends | Photo by Eric Ashleigh

Despite age, genre and prominence, local acts who played the 2013 XPoNential Music Festival showcased their best for a hometown audience, both on the stage and on the air.

For Aaron Brown, front man for Philadelphia-based rock and soul band Aaron and the Spell, kicking off the festival on Friday night made for an “absolutely fantastic” experience.

“For me and my music, its helping me to find an audience,” Brown said. “It’s really hard to break out there, it’s a lot of bands doing a lot of great work. It’s hard to get out there and get people to even know about you.”

Brown said he hopes playing the festival helped him come away with a few new fans, if not for him personally, than for any members of his talented nine-piece band comprised of all Philly musicians.

“I’m blessed and thankful that new people can find something in me and my band that they appreciate and, hopefully, want to follow, whether it’s the amazing background singers or the amazing horn players or the amazing drummer or guitar player,” he said. “Even if I’m at the bottom of the list, I don’t care.”

Though his soulful voice and sound is sometimes compared favorably to Stevie Wonder, Brown said he doesn’t mind getting constructive criticism from listeners.

“If you see music and you don’t like it and it’s bad, tell the artist,” Brown said. “Don’t be mean, but tell them so artists can get better, some critical thought there that artists can continue to improve. I appreciate that. People do that to me all the time, people tell me I suck non-stop. But you know what, it’s cool and it helps me out.”

Photo by Eric Ashleigh
The Districts | Photo by Eric Ashleigh

Lancaster-based bluesy rock band The Districts have had little time between playing Philly house shows and one of its biggest festivals, but didn’t falter during their first set for such a large crowd.

The four-piece band of 18- and 19-year-old musicians agreed that, aside from playing for new people, the best part of the festival was playing alongside some of their favorite national acts on the line-up.

“It’s coolest from like a fanboy stance,” said frontman Rob Grote (even though high-pitched screams from female fans echoed during their own set).

The Districts also cite Philly favorites like Dr. Dog, Man Man and Toy Soldiers as some of their biggest influences, and enjoy playing in the city because of the huge amount of other great acts.

“There are so many people to meet, so many places to go, and the connections between [bands], you find out they’re all connected somehow,” said guitarist Mark Larson. “So once you’re in, word just kind of spreads around. It’s a very music- accepting city.” Continue reading →


Watch XPoNential Fest artist Matt Pond play “Hole In My Heart” along the Camden waterfront for Out of Town Films

MattPondThis weekend, Matt Pond and his band played a rousing set at the XPoNential Music Festival on Saturday afternoon (listen back to it here). When he got done, he caught up with our friends at Out of Town Films, who were camped out around the festival grounds capturing offstage performances by several of the bands on the lineup. Their session with Pond, released today, is the first of five videos they shot over the weekend. From OoTF’s Colin Kerrigan:

As you can imagine, electrical outlets are pretty scarce at music festivals so when Matt Pond asked to do a ‘plugged in’ session at WXPN’s XPoNential Festival presented by Subaru we were a little hesitant. So much so that we told them we’d bring an acoustic guitar for them to play. However, things were a little hectic leading up to the festival and we forgot to bring an acoustic.

Luckily, the guys were cool about our forgetfulness and were actually pretty glad we forgot the acoustic since they wanted to do a ‘plugged in’ session in the first place. We found a little space behind their trailer that had an outlet and set up with an enormous battleship in the background. There, they played us two songs. The first being this song, “Hole In My Heart”. Hope you enjoy.

Watch Pond and guitarist Chris Hansen play “Hole in my Heart” below.


Meet Kyle Noone, the Edward Sharpe fan who joined the band on drums at #xpnfest

All photos by Kate Harrold |

When Kyle Noone arrived at the XPoNential Music Festival on Friday evening, he was simply excited to see one of his favorite bands – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Little did the 13-year-old Cherry Hill drummer know, he’d be performing with them by the end of the night.

It all came about because singer / frontman Alex Ebert was losing his voice. So rather than talk between songs, he asked members of the crowd if they had any stories to tell. He got to Noone as the band began the opening vamp of “Home,” and the excited fan told Ebert “Honey is good for your voice” and “I’m your number-one fan, I bought your album the second it came out on iTunes, and I know all your songs on drums.”

“You play drums?” singer Jade Castrinos asked. “You should come and play some drums.”

Noone says he was in shock when he landed on stage.

“I was trying to look calm but on the inside I was happier than I have ever been in my life,” he tells us over email. “I was very nervous about messing up.” But he held it down, sitting behind Orpheo McCord’s drumkit and keeping the beat going on “Home,” launching into an explosive drum solo (you can see it at about the 3:11 mark of the video below) that had Ebert on his knees doing a “we’re not worthy” bow.

Continue reading →