By

XPN Fest Recap: Natalie Prass grooves the afternoon away on the River Stage

Natalie Prass | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Among her blue-clad band members stood Natalie Prass, front and center wearing a bright yellow dress and big white sunglasses. If an abstract artist looked at the outfit they might envision a flower, yellow with blue petals surrounding the center. Between the look and the sweet tunes coming from the stage, the band may have attracted a few unwanted listeners in the form of bumble bees to their set. Despite the brief disruption, Prass and company shook it off and provided sweet tunes to the festival-goers at the River Stage Saturday, sharing hip-shaking grooves and trance-inducing tracks throughout the afternoon. Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: &More brings wisdom and soulful energy to the stage

&More | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

&More, the powerhouse duo of Donn T and Chill Moody, took the stage as the sun beat down on day two. As the band got the energy started, R&B singer Donn T slid in with her honeyed vocals singing the intro to their February released debut track “My Own Light.” West Philly emcee Chill Moody made his way to the stage, coming in hot and ready to spit some wisdom, as Donn T put the crowd into a daze. Shortly after, the duo brought in their dreamlike harmonies, performing “Gravity.” Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: Hurry brings indie rock charm to the River Stage

Hurry | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Many folks in the crowd at #XPNFest early this afternoon may not have been familiar with them before they took the stage, but Hurry just proved themselves as one of the best — and most charming — bands in Philadelphia. Making up for lost time after their set at last year’s festival got rained out, the local three-piece played to an audience that quickly increased in size and enthusiasm. Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: Katie Frank kicks day two into gear with a little country, a little rock

Katie Frank | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

Happy day two of XPoNential Music Festival! We’re sad that Forth Wanderers couldn’t make it, but their replacement local artist Katie Frank gave a kickass performance to start the festivities, playing a bit of country and a bit of rock and roll to the Marina Stage audience.

The show started with nice and smooth with her single “Something I Can’t Deny,” then things got a little rowdy as she preformed “Cold, Sad World.” Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: David Byrne and Sylvan Esso energize bodies and stimulate minds at BB&T

David Byrne | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

About a half hour before XPNFest’s night one headlining sets began, things did not look promising. Wiggins Park had just been evacuated due to an approaching thunderstorm, ticketholders were jammed in the lobbies keeping dry from the downpour. Where was this night going to take us?

With David Byrne and Sylvan Esso as our guides, it transcended the soggy situation. Though markedly different in look, sound and style, both performances brought innovation and inspiration to the BB&T Pavilion stage; they brought big beats and danceable rhythms, they brought maximally minimal approaches to live music, they brought songs that move your body and make you think about the world around you, feeling the gravity of life in 2018 but dancing our way towards a positive future. And as the crowd felt that energy, the air around us seemed to change, calming down midway through Sylvan Esso’s set and clearing up completely for Byrne’s extravagant headliner. Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: Bermuda Triangle packs in drifting harmonies and tender songs to beat the rain

Bermuda Triangle | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Early Friday evening concert goers lounged on picnic blankets before the Marina Stage, despite bruise-colored clouds threatening rain. The Nashville power trio Bermuda Triangle were undeterred by the whipping winds and distant thunder. They opened with “Tear Us Apart,” Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes plucking at an upright bass. On “Suzanne,” Howard’s voice took the forefront, dipping and rising with impressive range, drifting harmonies adding breathtaking tenderness. Continue reading →

By

XPNFest Recap: Lukas Nelson & the Promise of the Real command the river stage

Lukas Nelson | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

As sun swiftly turned to clouds over the #XPNFest River Stage, Lukas Nelson and his band Promise of the Real embarked on a journey of a set that turned each of his catchy country-rock songs into ten-minute-long worlds of their own. Walking onstage with his long hair and cowboy hat, Nelson seemed to follow in the vein of his famous father, Willie Nelson, but it soon became clearer and clearer that he intends on making his own unique mark on the music world. Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: M.A.K.U. Soundsystem bring unifying vibes to The Marina Stage

M.A.K.U. Soundsystem | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

From the moment Brooklyn-based M.A.K.U. Soundsystem took the stage, a feeling of unity spread throughout the festival. “If you feel this, come together,” co-vocalist Juan Ospina said to connect the crowd. In the back half of opener “Entro y Salgo,” Ospina delivered a spoken word outro, drawing deep on his Columbian roots, a common thread among the Brooklyn-based band, which Ospina described as immigrant beat and immigrant rhythm. Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: Brooklynites The National Reserve channel the spirit of southern rock and roll

The National Reserve | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

The National Reserve don’t sound like they’re from Brooklyn. The five-piece rock outfit took to the River stage donned in grass-stained denim and faded plaid. The hazy Philadelphia skyline rose up behind them, a breeze off the water providing relief from the pressing summer heat and their southern tinged, roots rock.

They opened with the upbeat, stomp-dancing “Don’t Be Unkind,” conjuring images of tipped cowboy hats and Texan ranches. The songs off their latest album, Motel La Grange, were heavily piano-driven, with blusey, electric keyboard solos that grew increasingly chaotic. They slowed it down for the ballad “Roll On Babe,” bearded vocalist Sean Walsh wielding a gorgeous fire-engine-red hollow body guitar. Continue reading →

By

XPN Fest Recap: Greg Sover Band keeps the crowd swaying on the Marina Stage

Greg Sover Band | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

For the second set of #XPNFest, Greg Sover Band kept the energy high on the Marina Stage, their short but sweet set the perfect soundtrack for the breeze beginning to pick up over the Camden Waterfront.

Kicking off with the soulful “Preacher” from his Songs of A Renegade, the Philly favorite songwriter and his band made mention of their local roots, gesturing across the river to the hazy skyline: “It’s right over there!” Continue reading →