Raymond Baxter | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN
XPN Fest Recap: Rayland Baxter does way more than set a mood
When watching an outdoor show it’s easy to fall in the trap of registering the music as just a soundtrack to the environment. Rayland Baxter made sure that his crowd at the Marina Stage didn’t do that. With a mountain of instruments on stage and a commanding voice, Baxter maintained a tight grip on his audience’s attention, and they were better off for it.
Before the set even began, there was a sense that Baxter might lose control of it. He had to start a few minutes late due to technical difficulties and feedback occurred throughout the first song. In addition to that, he didn’t present himself in a way that suggested any sense of seriousness. His left pant leg was cut right above his knee. Since mullet-pants have yet to really catch on, he looked a little off. Yet, despite all that, Baxter’s performance was nothing if not tight and put together.
“Strange American Dream” and “Yellow Eyes” soared with sophisticated janglyness, while “Everything To Me” showed off Baxter’s more contemplative and subdued side. During the latter, the normally rowdy and enthusiastic crowd was practically silent. They let Baxter emote fully, and soaked in every word he sang. With six instrumentalists behind him, including a backward-facing drummer, every song Baxter played felt expansive and grand. The slowly setting sun didn’t hurt in making the set feel widescreen.
Towards the end of the set, Baxter played a track off his new Mac Miller tribute EP, Good Mmornin. “Come Back To Earth” showed off both Baxter’s ability to make another artist’s song his own and the lasting impact of Miller’s music.
Baxter closed out his set with “Amelia Baker”, which could have easily stretched out into the rest of the evening. After playing the conventional portion of the song, Baxter’s band unraveled the piece, giving it a drawn out and nearly psychedelic ending. Right before the final strum, Baxter popped back in to sing the chorus on last time. From the set’s rocky start to that very last chorus, Baxter had his audience hooked. Never once, did his set fade into the background; It was the main event.
Listen back to Rayland Baxter’s gripping performance below and check out a gallery from the set.
[xpnplayer action=”audio” category=”Concerts” artist=”Rayland Baxter – 2019 XPoNential fest” date=”2019″ button=”yes”][/xpnplayer]
Strange American Dream
Everything To Me
Come Back To Earth