Stella Ruze | photo by Paige Walter for WXPN
Stella Ruze greets the day with an opening River Stage set at XPNFest
There’s something special about the first-band-of-the-day slot at XPoNential Music Festival. Yours is the music that greets the audience as they make their way into Wiggins Park, stroll down the hills and claim their spots at either the River or Marina stages. The potential to make a impactful impression is massive, and Stella Ruze took full advantage with their performance opening up day two.
The Philadelphia regional seven-piece mixes up folky modern rock with reverent takes on New Orleans sounds and jam scene energy; the back-to-back punch of the opening “Open” followed by the Bourbon Street style fanfare of “The Trollop and the Tippler” got the audience’s attention in a big way.
Both those songs drew from the Stella Ruze’s excellent 2019 album The Greater Dog, while the atmospheric tones of “Dawdle” dipped back to their 2017 self-titled record for dreamy contemplations and a soaring guitar solo.
A lively new song called “Pinch of Salt” followed, along with a cover of Lake Street Dive’s “You Go Down Smooth” that allowed mandolinist and singer Katie O’Donnell to take center stage. “Travel Song” closed out the set and sent us on our way to a glorious second day of music; listen back to their performance and see photos below.
The The Trollop and the Tippler
Pinch of Salt
You Go Down Smooth (Lake Street Dive cover)