By Allison Lantero, Contributor, DC Music Live
I have a confession to make: although I hail from the land of Lollapalooza, not far from Pitchfork or Country Fest, I had never been to an all day music festival before Saturday. It was one of those, I didn’t know what I was missing type deals. But now I’ve heard the music, and I cannot get enough.
– A$AP Rocky
– Fitz and the Tantrums
– Explosions in the Sky
– The Shins
– Kid Cudi
(In the spirit of full disclosure: There was a second stage, but we only heard one of the bands on it because we didn’t want to lose our awesome seats. And it was raining.)
So after weeks of listening to our shared Spotify playlist and counting down the days, Saturday finally arrived, cloudy and cold, but heavy with the promise of great music.
Merriweather is located out in the woods of Maryland. Luckily my one friend with access to a car was willing to drive the 40 minutes from Silver Spring to the venue. However, its out of the way location means that it has a wide sprawl, with multiple food stands, a huge mainstage area and vast lawn as well.
Before the concert, Sweetlife sent out “tips” for preparing including a link to these fashion ideas. The only problem was this wasn’t coachella, and although the romper in the picture is adorable, its not exactly practical for 50 degrees Farenheit with off and on rain. But there were definitely a number of tweens and teens who took the fashion advice as gospel. Which made for some pretty amusing people watching… And then there were those who made their own fashion statements. (I’ll add a picture of the guy in the pepsi suit and his male friend in tights once my friend sends it to me.)
Oh, and one more fashion note before I get to the good stuff. When the heck did wearing fake mustaches, painting your face with strange messy designs, and casually carrying around hair dye become the thing to do at concerts? Must admit, I felt a little old.
FUN.– Nick Ruess, formerly of The Format, who looks very much like a skinny Mark Wahlberg totally rocked it out as the lead singer of the opening band. His singing was flawless, and when he wasn’t at the microphone it was as if his limbs were being controlled by the drums. He pumped his fists, bobbed his head, and even fell to his knees at the end of the songs. The whole band exuded both talent and energy, a difficult thing to pull off at 12:30pm. Their female back up singer was also amazingly talented, playing the saxophone, guitar and singing for various songs. Every single song sang right to my soul, and as I heard it said many times, “They sound like a mixture of queen and (Insert band here).” Everyone should stop reading this blog right now and listen to their single “Carry On.” It has officially been placed on my top five. I am also a sucker for songs that start with awesome piano.
A$AP Rocky– My least favorite part of the show, including waiting in the rain to get back to our seats. A$AP, in what I’m told is typical rapper fashion (I don’t really frequent rap shows), arrived 45 minutes late, and thus only played/sang/shouted three pieces/songs filled with excessive profanity, ordering the audience to put their hands up and repeating over and over that in fact A$AP Rocky was in the house. Don’t worry A$AP. We got it. You showed up. You’ll be paid.
Fitz and the Tantrums– So. Awesome. The lead singer, Michael Fitzpatrick, has a white stripe at the front of his hair, wore cherry-tomato-colored skinny jeans and a black and white striped shirt under a denim-looking blazer. It was a strange combination of things I wouldn’t necessarily pick on their own, but like a reuben sandwich, the individual pieces fit perfectly together for an awesome unified look. And that was even before he or Noelle Scaggs started singing. Tambourine ever in hand, Scaggs had a way of flipping from background singer to duet-ist seamlessly. She and “Fitz” had palpable chemistry and their energetic stage presence never faltered while their voices melded in interesting harmonies. Also, their saxophonist/flautist has to be noted. He just plain killed it. Their last song, “Moneygrabber” (or was it “Rich Girls“?) left us all wishing there was an encore.
The Shins – They really rocked it out of the park. Simple Song, my personal favorite, was incredible. They are just overall talented musicians. That’s all there is to it.
Kid Cudi – I ventured out of my seats to get food in the rain, thus did not really see much of Kid Cudi. My friend Dan said he did a really good job though. And he was on time. Bonus!
Avicii – I honestly had no idea what to expect. People were painting their faces and dying their hair, and before he came out, a group came on the stage and threw light up sticks to the people crammed in the pit. I was not crammed in the pit, and thus did not receive a light saber, but I am pretty ok with that. When the curtain went up, and the lights went down, I suddenly got it. Between the graphics on the front of his turntable and behind his head, and the electronic beats mixed with popular songs, you couldn’t help but dance!
It was a great way to end an awesome day of music. As we left, we began to notice the ringing in our ears, our scratchy voices and heavy eyelids, we realized that music festivals are a little draining. But COMPLETELY WORTH IT!