Monday, May 2, 2011

Sweetlife Festival

Wow. What a day. Emma, Mike and I arrive at the Merriweather Post Pavilion just as U.S. Royalty begins to perform. Hailing from DC, they have quite a stage presence. The lead singer wore some sort of fur shirt and another member wore red, white and blue striped pants. It felt very 1970's rock and roll. They have a nice style of blues rock. Their album just came out in January and they've gotten press in NPR, Spin, the Washington Post and others.

Second may very well have been the highlight of my day. Walk the Moon came out and tore it up! I am a bit partial though, I'll admit. Walk the Moon comes from Cincinnati where I am also from. I've been following these guys since summer 2008 so it's surreal to see them play a festival with the Strokes, Girl Talk, Cold War Kids, etc. A paper plate of face paint was passed throughout the audience as fans painted their faces a la the "Anna Sun" music video. Walk the Moon is a group that goes out on stage and has the best time ever. Not only is it apparent, it's contagious. Their songs are catchy and fun to sing along with. It's not long before everyone is singing, dancing and jumping. And the rest of the day, I had "my baby is a mess, my baby is a dancing queen" stuck in my head.
Ra Ra Riot was another highlight. This was the first time I saw them live and I'm afraid I've developed a band crush. As a violinist myself, I have a soft spot for any band with orchestral instruments. Lucky for Ra Ra Riot, they have both a violinist (with sparkles on the side of her violin!) and a cellist. They have a similar sound to the Arcade Fire although much more fast and upbeat. They too have catchy rhythms that I find myself singing along with.

Minus the rain, the rest of the festival was amazing. The Girl Talk set felt like a dance party with literally everyone you've ever known. Part of the theme of the festival was environmentally-friendly living. Organic samples were found at some of the tents and there were bikes for folks to test out in between songs. The only complaint we had was in regards to the venue, set up like a standard outdoor venue with a pit, the pavilion seating and the lawn. However since it was a festival, there was no assigned seating. Naturally, everyone wanted to be up front in the pit. However I suppose according to Merriweather rules, only a certain number of people were allowed in the pit at one time. So groups were getting split up, people were hopping fences and getting mad at the employees. Outdoor festivals seem to work the best in a park or a big, open field where these sorts of complications don't arise. Oh well ... perhaps the next Sweetlife Festival.

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