When I interviewed Ryan Miller, Guster’s lead singer and guitarist, earlier this month about the band’s new Labi Siffre cover, he told me that he might get a new suit for XPN Fest. I don’t know if it was new, but his Sunday evening suit was most definitely notable. Stepping out onto the River Stage in a head-to-toe pineapple pattern, Miller led Guster through an eventful set consisting of a balanced array of new and old songs from their 25-year-long repertoire.
Anyone who’s seen Guster live knows that the band definitely has a good sense of humor and tonight, it really kept things interesting. Before playing “Doin’ It”, Miller made a comment about the “hierarchy of lawn chairs” he observed from the stage. He proceeded to leave the stage during the song, climb over the barricade, walk out onto the lawn with microphone in hand, and bring someone’s lawn chair back to the stage. The crowd was holding the slack of the mic cord for him as everyone went wild.
Towards the end of “Overexcited”, Miller — in his faux British accent — welcomed Ed Robertson, Tyler Stewart, and Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies to the stage. Guster toured with Barenaked Ladies over a decade ago and they’re in Philly playing BB&T Pavilion tonight with Hootie & the Blowfish after the third day of XPN Fest concludes. Robertson and Stewart rapped to the end of “Overexcited” and gave Guster a few bear hugs before leaving the stage.
Having never seen Guster live before tonight, I was impressed with how well they play certain electronic-heavy songs live. They’re thoughtful with synths, bells, percussion, etc. to accurately recreate their newer, more modern records in the flesh. They killed their set — like a four-man wrecking machine.
One Man Wrecking Machine
Barrel of a Gun
Stay With Me Jesus
Come Downstairs and Say Hello
Do You Love Me
Doin’ It By Myself
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