I haven’t been to the XPoNential Music Festival since 2009 (my first XPN festival). I remember seeing The Hold Steady, The Low Anthem, Illinois and more at Wiggins Park on the Camden Waterfront in New Jersey. I decided to venture out this year because I had to see The Lumineers and The Hold Steady (again). We were lucky this year because the cloudy weather kept the sun and heat away and there was only a misty rain for a short period of time.
Ok, I’m just going to touch on some personal highlights from Friday’s performances. If you were not at the festival I hope you got to hear it live on XPN or you can stream some of the archives. So, here I go…
XPoNential Music Festival 2012 - City Rain
I like City Rain because their rock, electro-pop, dance beats seems to bring out the inner dancer in most people and their live stage energy is infectious.
XPoNential Music Festival 2012 - The Lumineers
The Lumineers were absolutely awe-inspiring and I loved hearing songs from their self-titled debut album live. Of course the crowd went wild over “Ho Hey” but “Classy Girls” is my jam. Plus, that Sawmill Joe (a fellow Colorado native) song, “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem But My Own” sounded great. Also, I liked the use of that bass drum (kickdrum) at center stage. I must say, Wesley Schultz has a wonderful voice. Thank you, The Lumineers, for an incredible performance and for making me an even bigger fan.
The first band on the River Stage was The War On Drugs. Honestly, I was so far up on the hill and distracted by the chatter of so many conversations that I really didn’t give their music my full attention. Sorry, guys — hopefully I will see you some other time.
Then it was back to the Marina Stage for JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. Wow, those guys are amazing entertainers. JC Brooks got a bit upset when he thought about people not registering to vote and I don’t think he used “radio language” to express his anger. The Weed Dance — oh my, did I really witness that?
Dawes is Dawes and that is awesome. Aww, hearing everyone sing-along on the chorus of “When My Time Comes” was unreal and perfect. By the way, I didn’t know the drummer sings too.
This was my first time seeing Ozomatli and I enjoyed it. Ozomatli is an LA band with a Latin, rock, hip-hop style of music. The members of the band take turns on lead. I like the “trumpet scat play it back” portion of their set. The drumming tricks were interesting and it was nice to hear some rap mixed in.
XPoNential Music Festival 2012 - The Hold Steady
The concert ended at the River Stage with a set by The Hold Steady and all I was thinking (as I’m sure many others were) was I hope the weather holds off so they can finish their set this time — and it did. I love The Hold Steady’s music because it’s brilliant rock music. And it’s so much fun to watch Craig Finn on stage because he acts so hyper and acts out every song. The encore was “Stay Positive” a fantastic song and who doesn’t love those “whoa, ho, ho’s”.
Maybe next year I’ll get to see all three days of the festival.