Ok, so you can’t go to every music festival in the world. It’s impossible, impractical and illogical. I don’t care what any entry-level bohemian wannabe dressed in neon (or Aztec prints, or whatever the fad was at Coachella) says or tells me, I googled it, it’s not on the internet, it hasn’t happened, and it won’t. But fuck me if our stupid modern lives aren’t ruled social media and new disorders like Fear of Missing Out, or, “Fomo,” as anyone who seriously listens to Drake might call it, doesn’t actually exist.
Well, excuse my double-negatives, but it does. And I’ll admit it, I’m not immune. Every time a SXSW or Lollapalooza rolls around that I am not attending, a sadness comes over me, and I need I need to experience something. I have found that I can soothe the craving by popping my laptop, hooking up the speakers; pouring a glass of the good stuff and watching the livestream of one of these things—like a reasonable fucking person. Reason seems to matter more at a certain age; it’s why I don’t break beer bottles (as much) anymore, it’s why I have to stay away from spicy and acidic foods now and it’s why no one goes to every music festival.
But I thoroughly enjoy watching those livestreams. I love watching live music, I love watching the performers from an angle that I usually don’t get to see when I’m in attendance and I love watching the people in the crowd suffering. I do. A lot. Whether it’s the heat or the rain or the mud or the overwhelming weight of humanity, I love the feeling of superiority the sight of suffering festival-goers gives me as I drink and dine in comfort.
“Why do I even go to these things?” I think. “Idiots,” I think.
Then something happens; the perfect explosion of artist, crowd and sound that creates a sensation, a feeling that is far greater than just the sum of all the parts. And even from my fucking nice-ass leather couch, I can’t help but getting just a fraction of that same little rush of adrenaline and emotion that overcomes my entire being when I’ve been one of those idiots, at that moment.
It has happened three times now so it’s undeniable and it’s real. And although I know I will always have a good time, this is why I go.
Run the Jewels
Individually, El-P and Killer Mike have each earned a page or two in the second year, Hip Hop 201 text book, as Run the Jewels, these dudes are so much more than the sum of the parts who know that beat-be-damned, their words are their greatest weapon.
Opening with the title track off their self-title debut, it was clear that the two MC’s have mad chemistry and on that, “1-2-3 Mos Def & Talib Kweli” shit.
El-P was engaging, acknowledging the ridiculousness of his group name, which was admittedly decided on because they thought it just sounded badass. Which it is. And Killer Mike matched every ounce of lyricism with charisma and dance-moves that would seem to juxtapose the moods and themes in Mike’s solo ish. It’s infectiously clear these guys are having fun, and when you can bring out, “The Godfather of Turntablism,” DJ QBert; it’s a beautiful day for hip hop in the Bay Area.
I need more out of a live performance than for you just to play the record that I like. I need to dance, I need to be engaged, I need to be a part of something. Unless this is a reactionary performance to the shockingly paltry amount of money they’ve received from Spotify while somehow attaining a certain level of fame and recognition on the festival circiut, then I am disappointed.
Holy Ghost! would do good to double down on the funk and the attitude; and what the hell, try to be goddamn rockstar, will ya?
Funk Lordz from Montreal never disappoint. Dave 1 and P-Thugg have been doing this festival shit for quite some time now, and it seems as though they have rocking a party down to a science. Festivals are a bit different from headlining a local venue, and Chromeo was surgical. So for anyone who had been down since day one, as the saying goes, the set may have lacked a little personality or panache. But Chromeo knows its audience, kicked the jams and dedicated “Needy Girl” to all the fuckin geezers.