Lukas Nelson | photo by Natalie Piserchio |

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.

“We’re gonna have some fun, I can tell,” Nelson greeted the crowd, before explaining how he wrote his opening song with the extraterrestrial in mind. “Sometimes I feel like the captain of a starship, you know?” he asked. XPNFest may not be a starship, but Lukas Nelson sure seemed like the captain of something as he commanded the stage with his magnetic presence and wild air kicks.

Highlights of the set included the rocker “Fool Me Once,” a single off his album also titled Promise of the Real, and the sweetly drawn-out “Forget About Georgia,” which has a story behind it that’s almost as great as the song itself. As beach balls were tossed through the increasingly windy air, Nelson & company launched into a rendition of their show stopping song, “Find Yourself,” which features Lady Gaga on the recording but was just about as dynamic on the waterfront today. The band closed with a new and timely song, “Turn Off The News,” a prescient reminder to appreciate the good things in life.

Entirely Different Stars
Die Alone
Fool Me Once
Four Letter Word
Something Real
(Forget About) Georgia
Find Yourself
Turn Off the News