Day 2: It's a Beautiful Day in NJ...Day 3: Final Weekend Tallies
Saturday, the weather stayed gorgeous, noon to close. We had a chance to wander a little more, and talk to a lot more folks, both artists and festivalgoers alike. Raegan is posting about The Bacon Brothers as I type this (the first step to overcoming an obsession is admitting you have a problem, Raegan...), so I figured I'd tackle some of the other personalities we met throughout the day.
As the Peace Creeps took the JerseyArts.com Marina stage with a cover of The Jackson 5's "Want You Back" (surprisingly, the only MJ tribute this weekend thus far), we met Terry, a longtime XPN listener from just outside Philadelphia. She's been coming to the festival for six or seven years ("I liked it at Penn's Landing, but I love it here"), and was super-stoked last night to see local band Hoots & Hellmouth perform. She volunteers at venues throughout Philly, and had H&H in their first gig several years ago. This is one of the coolest things about the XPoNential Music Festival: people come for the festival experience, but just about everyone has a very personal story or two about connections to one or two of the acts.
We had a chance to sit down and chat midafternoon with Katie Herzig, a Colorado native who calls Nashville home. Her late-afternoon set was summery, laid-back, and brought the "awesome bands with accordions" count for the festival to 2. Her music has been featured on Smallville, Grey's Anatomy, and on this week's premiere of Drop Dead Diva. Her set marked the first time she and her band had played New Jersey (you never forget your first Jersey set, right?), and her album, Apple Tree, is in record stores everywhere.
Later, we had a chance to have a nice long conversation with The Peace Creeps, who hail from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They've been part of the XPN extended family for over two decades, back when the majority of the band was in The As. As mentioned before, they opened their fun and lively set with the only Michael Jackson cover of the weekend thus far; I've got to give them props for that.
At the XPN Members Only Area, the Meet and Greet Tent hosted Pete Yorn, Hoots & Hellmouth, and The Low Anthem, among others (again...see Raegan's post about her Bacon Brothers experience!). The pleasant Meet and Greet surprise for us was John Gorka, who followed up his set on the Marina Stage with a warm, humble, and gracious session at the tent with his fans. He was genuinely happy to chat and so appreciative and approachable. See, world? New Jersey does, in fact, produce good folks!
My personal thrill of the night came when They Might Be Giants played a sampling of both the songs that made them famous (Particle Man, Istanbul) and more eclectic favorites (New York City). My lifelong appreciation of TMBG started at age 11 or so, when the Powers That Be of Saturday Morning Cartoons decided to set their songs to Looney Tunes music videos. I was hooked, and their goofy magic has been part of my life ever since.
Below, check out the video for East Hundred's single "Slow Burning Crimes." They drew a huge crowd at the Marina Stage, and I have a funny feeling they're THIS CLOSE to exploding into huge stardom.
As always, To Be Continued!
Day 3: Final Weekend Tallies
Beach Balls (yes, commenters, this is for you!): 7 Accordions: 4
Washboards w/Spoons: 1
NJ Tattoos: 1
MJ Tribute Covers: 2
Bruce Springsteen Covers: 1
Umbrellas in lieu of lighters: Nigh Infinite...
Theremins: 0 (maybe next year...)