Super awesome bonus post! My buddy, Wolfman (no I didn't come up with the nickname--he's not a Seth Green lookalike hacker, because I've seen that episode of SeaQuest enough to only think of that) hit up the Sweetlife Festival on April 28 and since he was there, I coaxed him into a guest post about the festival! Enjoy yourself. - kt
Bright and early on the morning of April 28, my three friends and I set out to the Merriweather Post Pavilion for a day of music and fun known as the Sweetlife Festival. It was a giant event put on by the Sweetgreen Corporation. There were two stages with musical acts performing on them all day long and hoards of food and drink venders from the area sampling their goods. Since we arrived early and were first in line, we took the time to decide which acts we were going to watch and what we would have to skip. In all honesty, I had only heard of three of the groups playing and my knowledge didn’t go past a couple of songs. We all decided that the main act we wanted to see was Kid Cudi, and we wanted to be close to the excitement. So, as we got in, we decided to go to the main stage and camp out up front early. This meant we were going to miss out on all of the acts performing on the Treehouse stage; Ben Browning, Action Bronson, Haim, Yuna, LP, The Knocks, U.S. Royalty, RAC, Delta Spirit, Zola Jesus, and Twin Shadow. We were sad about missing some of these shows, but we figured the reward would be well worth it.
The first group to grace the main stage with it’s presence was Fun.. You’ve probably heard of their hit single “We Are Young”, and that’s about it. I figure the best way to describe Fun.’s sound is an alternative pop mixture. If you can imagine Flogging Molly combined with Third Eye Blind, you probably wouldn’t be too far off. The thing is, I found myself really getting in to the rhythms and swaying from side to side without even realizing it. My only real complaint about the show was that the majority of their songs sounded very similar and it was difficult to differentiate one from the other. Other than that, they got the crowd reasonably worked up and finished very strong with “Some Nights” which even got our group chanting along with the chorus.
It was about now that we realized the flaw in our plan to camp out up front. After Fun. was done playing, they cleared all of the people out of the pit area. We quickly ran around to get back to the entrance to the pit. The next show to go on was A$AP Rocky, but in between the first two sets a dj group named Bluebrain took to the stage. Originally, Bluebrain was only supposed to be on stage for a few minutes while they set up for the next show. However, for some unknown reason A$AP Rocky ended up being about 40 minutes late so Bluebrain had to perform for roughly an hour.
When A$AP Rocky finally did show up, they only had about 20 minutes left in their set, so they had to get to work fast. They immediately ran out on stage and just pumped up the crowd. Going in to the show I didn’t know a single one of their songs and I was still jumping around and getting crazy. Their raps were very high energy. This is why it was such a shame that it felt like they were getting off stage once they got started.
At this point we decided to hunt down something to eat so we didn’t see Mia and Caitlin, but we were able to hear them while walking around. This group consisted of a dj and a violinist. It was an interesting combination I had never heard before, and I would say I enjoyed it. They did a rendition of Katy Perry that was very entertaining.
When we came back, it was time for Fitz and the Tantrums. This was another group that I hadn’t heard of before they went on, but I was very pleasantly surprised by them. They classify themselves as a pop group, but I think a dance rock fusion would be a little more appropriate. The singers were constantly moving and dancing. They helped convey this energy to the audience by performing such songs as “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” and a cover of the Eurythmics classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. I don’t think I ever saw the pit stop moving, and even a good portion of the crowd in the seats were getting up and swinging. I might not have known who they were when I got there, but I left a fan.
Next up was Explosions in the Sky. This is sort of a difficult group to talk about. They are a modern day jam band, that is made up of all instrumentals and no vocals. I don’t want to say that they were bad because I do not feel like that would be accurate. That being said, I feel as if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the crowd in the pit was very bored, most of whom were either talking or texting on their cell phone. The music was just very bland and safe. Nothing they played ever grabbed me and demanded my attention.
The next band was one I was actually pretty familiar with. The Shins were big when I was in high school and college, so I at least had an idea of what I was in for. In case you’re not familiar with them, The Shins are an alternative rock group that is mostly famous for songs like “Caring is Creepy” and “New Slang”. Now I have to admit that I saw the majority of this show while waiting in line to get in to the pit for Kid Cudi, so I didn’t have the greatest view. The crowd really seemed to respond to the music. The pit was always moving and singing along to the songs. At one point, a couple even started swing dancing right next to me. The melodies were hypnotic. I found myself swaying back and forth while standing in line quite a few times.
Now was time for the even our group had been waiting for. We made our way to the pit for Kid Cudi. Before I start talking about his show, I feel I should point out exactly how crowded it was. You could not move, my left arm was pinned between my leg and some girl’s rear and I could not lift it. If one person leaned one direction, everybody was leaning that direction (which happened a few times). Before Cudi even got on stage, the crowd was erupting with noise and excitement. Kid Cudi has a unique ability to take a somber, thought provoking song and infusing it with energy. The perfect example of this is “Soundtrack 2 My Life” which he performed early on. When he performed “Up Up & Away”, I personally feel that was the most excited I’ve ever seen a crowd at a show in my entire life. Keep in mind how crowded I stated the pit was earlier, and during that song every person was jumping up and down. Needless to say, it was an amazing performance and the highlight of the evening for many in attendance.
This brings us to the final act of the evening. AVICII is a dj act that wows the audience with brilliant lighting and special effects. He had a set-up with lights surrounding monolithic screens that continued to rotate backdrops almost like a computer screen saver. This is a prime example of an act where I am amazed more by the visual presentation rather than the musical ability. In the end, the lights were bright, the bass was high, and the crowd had a good time. What more can you ask for?
So it came time for our adventure to end. We took one last walk through the festival grounds. We were cold and tired, but you would have never been able to tell by looking at us.