XPN Fest Recap: The Marcus King Band Was Lit

A man with a braided goatee was howling his brains out. He had no shirt, no shoes, and thanks to The Marcus King Band, the man had not a care in the world. For more than half an hour, he played air guitar left-handed (How skilled). He screamed, jumped and bounced around to the wildly entertaining jam session put on by the South Carolina native and his band. As the gentleman next to me perfectly pointed out, “He [was] the happiest guy here.”

The man’s fascination with Marcus King’s music was warranted. At only 20 years old, King isn’t the seasoned vet you’d expect to emit the kind of sounds he did. He’s a young gun but still packs quite the punch. King shredded a few gnarly solos, an act the rest of his band has perfected as well. Whether it was on the keys, sax, trumpet or drum kit, darn near every member of the band cranked out a wicked solo at one point.

Today’s ear-rattling performance was especially a treat because it exposed Wiggins Park to unreleased material. Kicking off the set was “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong,” coming from the band’s self-titled album due out September 23rd on Fantasy Records. After going back to last year’s debut album Soul Insight for “Keep Movin’,” King and the guys went with another new track, “Rita.” It was a bit smoother than the big band bangers that preceded it, but was just as jamtastic. King then flexed his soulful chops to start of “Virginia” before bringing in the band for a full-throttle finish.

As The Marcus King Band finished up, the festival goers in front of the River Stage really started to let it all go. They were shaking. They were smiling. They were dancing. They might not have been losing their mind like our one shirtless friend, but deep down it seemed like everyone wanted to. Because as the kids say, the atmosphere out there was “lit.”

View the photo gallery at TheKey.XPN.org