Christine Havrilla | photo by Ellen C Miller
Christine Havrilla launches XPNFest with a bang of rootsy energy and California-toned rock
The veteran local singer-songwriter got XPNFest underway with high-octane Americana jams.
After weeks of built-up anticipation for the annual XPoNential Music Festival, the day has finally arrived. Wiggins Park in Camden, New Jersey filled up with excited music lovers as a longtime favorite of the WXPN’s Local Show, Christine Havrilla, commenced the festival, taking over the Marina Stage right at 5.
The Americana rock singer-songwriter and her band Gypsy Fuzz started off their set with the bright and warm colors of their hit “Fortune Teller,” a song with a perfect vibe for this rather cool and cloudy day. The honey-sweet harmonies of Havrilla and background vocalists Keith Giosa on bass and Gretchen Schultz on percussion fused exquisitely with twangy sprinkles of rustic electric guitar riffs. The folky sounds lured over festival goers, filing in towards the stage in time for their next song. “Said It Once” produced a pleasant acoustic sound, ending with a phenomenal guitar solo from newest band member Colleen Clark.
Christine Havrilla’s enchanting vocals resonated through the air as she jumped into “Hole in the Ground,” digging deep into a classic country soundscape of rattlesnakes and nitty gritty western rhythms. The audience couldn’t help but clap along to the beat of the music until the next song “Waiting” started. Giosa carried the band with a driving bassline as Havrilla and Gretchen Schultz’s soulful vocals blended beautifully together.
Following an incredible breakdown from drummer Rich Bellando was the opening song from the band’s newest EP “California Night.” An ode to Christine Harville’s love for the west coast, it was refreshing to hear a song drenched in the spirit of summer on a sunless day.
Havrilla and the band closed out their set on the Marina Stage with “Desire,” another song off of their new EP California Night. Weaving in some urgent cowbell to the western vibes the band exudes, the group did a fantastic job energizing XPoNential festival goers for an evening full of unforgettable music and performances.