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XPNFest Recap: Old 97’s greet old fans with new songs on the River Stage

Rhett Miller of Old 97s and XPN's Michaela Majoun | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Rhett Miller of Old 97s and XPN’s Michaela Majoun | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
It was pretty much a love fest when perennial rockers Old 97s took the River Stage at the XPoNential Music Festival on Sunday. Introducing the band with her arm draped around frontman Rhett Miller, Michaela Majoun told the crowd that she first saw the band at South By Southwest in 1994 – making the XPN love affair with the 97s two decades strong. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Nicole Atkins gets dramatic on the Marina Stage

Nicole Atkins | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Nicole Atkins | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

XPN sweetheart Nicole Atkins treated fans to a knockout performance on a sweltering Marina Stage.  Still riding high after the release of her recent Slow Phaser LP, the Atkins we saw today, clad in a floor-length white dress and colorful necklace, was the visual antithesis to the Atkins we saw at Non-COMM back in May.  Her set, though, was as strong as ever and by the end of set closer “The Tower,” she had the crowd in the palm of her hand.

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XPNFest Recap: J. Roddy Walston and the Business kick things into high gear on the River Stage

J. Roddy Walston and the Business | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
J. Roddy Walston and the Business | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

That, my friends, is a rock and roll show. Hailing from Baltimore and sounding like a 4th of July fireworks show on speed, J. Roddy Walston and the business cranked the volume at the XPoNential Music Festival river stage on Sunday. Pulling largely from their recent LP Essential Tremors, the band was loud and lively and frontman Walston alternated delivered gravely lead vocals while alternating between piano, guitar and rocking the mic solo. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Bear’s Den get sentimental on the Marina Stage

Bear's Den | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Bear’s Den | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

London’s Bear’s Den may be a British folk / rock outfit, but don’t let the banjo fool you: they are not just another Mumford & Sons.  The touring quartet weaves achingly beautiful stories that often begin deceivingly quietly before building into lush, gut-wrenching compositions.  Performing tracks from their debut Agape EP, last year’s Without/Within full-length and this year’s Elysium 10″, Bear’s Den made a wonderful debut on the Marina Stage.

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XPNFest Recap: The Lawsuits bring breezy harmonies to the River Stage

The Lawsuits | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
The Lawsuits | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
From the fertile Bucks County musical community, The Lawsuits brought a set of breezy country harmonies crossed with revved-up rock and roll to the River Stage on the third day of this year’s XPoNential Music Festival. The band released its debut LP Cool Cool Cool in October, and the set drew largely from it, from the buoyant charm of opening track “Anybody’s Girl” to the ultra-catchy honkey-tonk jammer “Onion.” Non-album single “Love is Weight” made the set as well, and singer Vanessa Winters positively slayed her vocal leads on “Long Drive Home” and “You Won’t Love Me If You Don’t.” Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Ginger Coyle gives a sultry start to the Marina Stage

Ginger Coyle | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com
Ginger Coyle | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

Ginger Coyle is one of those wildcard performers who continually exceeds expectations.  Opening day three at the XPoNential Music Festival, the New Jersey native was all smiles and put on a stellar show of uplifting, contemporary pop songs from her recent Homeward Bound LP and an upcoming release.  Joined by a band that included a saxophone / flute player, Coyle’s songs about love, happiness and overcoming obstacles were simultaneously powerful and easygoing.

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XPNFest Recap: Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Dawes capped an exuberant second day at SBC

Ryan Adams | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Ryan Adams | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

If that image of Ryan Adams in Rock God stance doesn’t give you an indication, the closing trifecta of XPoNential Music Festival day two was high-energy and memorable. A sizable crowd filled out the theater and lawn of the Susquehanna Bank Center to watch as Adams was joined by Jenny Lewis and Dawes to jam out into the breezy Saturday night. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Recap: Dave Hause closed out the Marina Stage with a rocking set

Dave Hause | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Dave Hause | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Hometown hero Dave Hause continues to own a solo career after successful punk rock ventures with bands like The Loved Ones, and he brought his old school rock ‘n’ roll to the Marina Stage tonight.  He played to a relaxed but content crowd, though the longtime Hause fans made themselves known by singing along to songs from both Resolutions (2010) and Devour (2013)

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XPNFest Recap: C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band Exploded on the River Stage

C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band | photo by Michelle Montgomery | www.michellemontgomeryphotography.com
C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band | photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.com

C.J. Chenier & The Red Hot Louisiana Band delivered a funky, zydeco set to close out the Wiggins Park portion of night two at the XPoNential Music Festival, getting the crowd on their feet and rocking out to some authentic Creole jams.  The performance helped kick-off a new year long project from WXPN called Zydeco Crossroads, bringing the music, food and culture of Creole Louisiana to Philadelphia beginning in October.   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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