Listen To Violent Femmes' Set From The 2016 Newport Folk Festival The off-again, on-again rock band from Milwaukee, Wisc., built a careening, playful set around mainstays like "Blister In The Sun" and new songs like "I Could Be Anything."

Violent Femmes perform at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Adam Kissick for NPR

Violent Femmes perform at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival.

Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Violent Femmes, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

Violent Femmes, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

Audio for this story is unavailable.

Even though Violent Femmes played the Newport Folk Festival midway through a bright summer afternoon, the rock band's new song "I Could Be Anything" made the sunny field feel like a packed pub, where beer has made everyone friends, and revelers bellow out drinking songs with arms thrown across shoulders.

The off-again, on-again veterans from Milwaukee, who recently released their first studio album in 16 years, threaded their Newport Folk set with wildly diverse songs from their catalog of 30-plus years. Original members Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie led the band's careening, playful ride through a smattering of polka, blues and acoustic tunes, with Gano shifting from snot-nosed punk to earnest believer on folk-gospel songs like "Jesus Walking On The Water." But (obviously) it was mainstay songs like the off-the-wall hit "Blister In The Sun," crowd favorite "Add It Up" and the xylophone-driven "Gone Daddy Gone" that bonded old and new fans together like a friendly round of lagers.

Set List

  • "Blister In The Sun"
  • "Kiss Off"
  • "Good For/At Nothing"
  • "Love Love Love Love Love"
  • "Country Death Song"
  • "I Could Be Anything"
  • "American Music"
  • "Jesus Walking On The Water"
  • "You Move Me"
  • "Memory"
  • "I Held Her In My Arms"
  • "Issues"
  • "Gone Daddy Gone"
  • "Add It Up"
[+] read more[-] less

More From Newport Folk Festival

Margo Price performing at the 2018 Newport Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

​Margo Price, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

WFUV

Margo Price gave an authentically rich performance at the 2018 Newport Folk Festival.

​Margo Price, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630615997/687044810" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images

Curtis Harding, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

Harding woke up the Newport crowd with the soul-rock hybrid he calls "slop 'n' soul."

Curtis Harding, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630245957/682012943" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Tajette O'Halloran/Courtesy of the artist

Jen Cloher, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

Jen Cloher came to Newport with a fervor matched only by her volume.

Jen Cloher, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630590575/682317893" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals performs at Coachella in 2017. Katie Stratton/Getty Images for Coachella hide caption

toggle caption Katie Stratton/Getty Images for Coachella

Toots And The Maytals​, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

The oldest song Toots and The Maytals played, "I'll Never Grow Old," captured the spirit Toots Hibbert brought to the show. This will warm up your New Year's celebrations like nothing else.

Toots And The Maytals​, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630843648/680751003" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Shakey Graves at the Newport Folk Festival 2018. Adam Kissick/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick/NPR

Shakey Graves, Live In Concert: Newport 2018

Austin singer-songwriter Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves, began his Newport Folk Festival set by raising a little hell.

Shakey Graves, Live In Concert: Newport 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630621646/680533174" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Glen Hansard performs at the Newport Folk Festival 2018. Adam Kissick/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick/NPR

Glen Hansard, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

From a Swell Season favorite and traditional Irish tunes to a live collaboration with The War and Treaty, Glen Hansard's performance was enthralling.

Glen Hansard, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630481657/680300609" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jon Batiste led a star-studded cast, including Mavis Staples, through the civil rights-themed set A Change Is Gonna Come. Adam Kissick/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick/NPR

A Change Is Gonna Come, Live In Concert : Newport Folk 2018

Jon Batiste led a star-studded cast — including Mavis Staples, the Dap-Kings, Chris Thile and Brandi Carlile — through the civil rights-themed set.

A Change Is Gonna Come, Live In Concert : Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630204697/679274298" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Adam Kissick/for NPR

Courtney Barnett, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

There's electricity in the atmosphere at Newport Folk Festival as evening begins. As the penultimate performer on the main stage, Courtney Barnett's return to Newport felt like cause for celebration.

Courtney Barnett, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630244520/678382628" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Phoebe Bridgers performs at the 2018 Newport Folk Festival. Christopher Hall/Mixtape Magazine hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Hall/Mixtape Magazine

Phoebe Bridgers, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

The 2018 Slingshot artist performed songs that unspool with a sonic ease that feel refreshing, even for an overheated festival audience.

Phoebe Bridgers, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630619429/652531683" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Adam Kissick /for NPR

Bermuda Triangle, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

WFUV and Folk Alley

It's not often you find a band with three lead singers who each sound as impressive on their own as they do together.

Bermuda Triangle, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2018

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/630239295/640563794" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top