Ali Awan | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

As if Ali Awan hadn’t already proved his worth as WXPN’s Artist to Watch for the month of January with his fantastic Free at Noon set and Key Studio Session, he proved it tonight with a thunderous performance on the PRX stage. Awan and his six-person band opened with the bombastic “Be a Light.” The track, which Awan just released a surreal video for, highlights the band’s ability to make a lot of noise. The Philly artist’s whole set was drenched in sound, and yet the crowd always seemed eager for even more.

Three guitars, one played by Awan himself, didn’t feel like enough for “Pick Me Up”, a bright cut off Awan’s new EP. The combined power of the rest of the ensemble, including a bassist, drummer, keyboardist, and tambourinist added even more of the energy that the crowd craved. Everything Awan and co. did sounded like a lot, but purposefully so, making every once of noise feel valuable. If you’re not careful, their booming playing could lead you to thrash your head off. It would be worth it though.

The 26-year-old’s unique psych rock stylings enraptured everyone in attendance. There seemed to be as much jumping and dancing on stage as there was off stage, especially during the gripping “Citadel Blues” and “Beyond The Valley”. The energy was infectious. You could also feel the deep sense of hometown pride that everyone at WXPN has for Awan.

Awan closed out the set with “Rubble and the Memories”, which was the mellowest of all the songs played. Well, mellow in comparison; for any other band, “Rubble” would be a full-blown banger. Even with the enormous volume of sound present throughout, everyone wanted to soak up as much as they could, and for as long as they could.

Check out photos from the Ali Awan set, and listen to an audio archive below. Awan will play XPoNentional Fest this July. Find tickets and more information at

Ali Awan – NonComm 2019

Be a Light
Pick Me Up
Citadel Blues
Beyond The Valley
Rubble and the Memories