While the masses of American dance music culture flocked towards Las Vegas’ Electric Daisy Carnival, We were afforded the opportunity to take a break from the norm and enjoy the scintillating sounds from the finest Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, and yes, Electronic, bands and artists at Firefly Music Festival last weekend. In its third year, Firefly Music Festival has garnered serious recognition as one of the leading festivals on the East Coast, drawing comparisons to the storied Bonnaroo. Increasing its lineup and in turn, attendance, has allowed Firefly to blossom into the ultimate destination for alternative music. We managed to check out the first two days of the festival so here is what we thought of some of the acts we managed to catch!
Thursday 19th June
[divider]Source: Press Shot
It’s always nice to be able to fit in an extra day of music, so having Firefly open on Thursday was certainly beneficial to a lot of attendees. However, it was pretty unfortunate that two of the acts we were elated to see were playing at the same time. Both Local Natives and RAC were scheduled to close out day, quite the conundrum I know. However, we were able to float between both sets pretty seamlessly.
Few bands have received such high praise and have garnered such attention as the Local Natives. Hailing from Los Angeles, Local Natives crafts a set that features energetic displays, call and response interactions, and just a sense of overall enjoyment as the group progresses through each song. Opening with ‘Wooly Mammoth‘ as they have become accustomed to, the crowd was immediately captivated and it was evident that having Local Natives close out the night was the perfect fit. Not restricting themselves to just their own catalog, the group threw in covers of Johnny Cash‘s ‘Out Among The Stars‘ and the Talking Heads‘ ‘Warning Sign‘, before closing out their set with ‘Sun Hands‘, no doubt our favorite track from the band.
Accompanied by a full band, RAC‘s AndrÃƒ© Allen Anjos provided the crowd at the Forest stage with an extremely energetic and familiar set in a particularly intimate setting. Much smaller than both the Backyard and Lawn stages, the Forest stage definitely allows the audience to get closer to their favorite band and even interact with them. Known for crafting diverse and intricate covers and remixes, RAC kicked things off with renditions of Two Door Cinema Club‘s ‘Something Good Can Work‘, Lana Del Rey‘s ‘Blue Jeans‘, and an inspiring cover of Foster The People‘s ‘Houdini‘. Shifting between originals and remixes/covers, the set certainly came to a head with the final three songs, RAC’s ‘Sweet Disposition‘ remix, the Ãƒ¼ber popular collab with Penguin Prisons ‘Hollywood‘, and the chilling yet endearing ‘Let Go‘. Delivering a recognizable and high energy set was exactly what I expected from RAC, and it was no doubt a great start to Firefly 2014.
Friday 20th June
[divider]Source: Jericho Sav
We started off the day with an energetic set from Ghost Beach, a band that we have heard only great things about live. It was certainly apparent that these guys are the perfect day-time festival band, meaning they brought out some mellow vibes, occasional crowd engagement, and just an overall grasp of musicality that pairs extremely well with 2:30PM. While only playing for 45 minutes, Ghost Beach moved seamlessly through a number of tracks, most of which we had never heard before, but finished up the set with ‘Close Enough‘, an airy track that features chopped vocal samples, waning lead vocals, and synth pops throughout.Source: Firefly Music Festival
While most of the attention for rappers was reserved for Outkast and Childish Gambino, there was no denying that Chance The Rapper deserves some recognition. Not only does the man have one of the best lyrical minds in the rap game today, he has a flow and delivery that just tickles your spine. Whether it is rapping or just singing along for the chorus, there is just something welcoming and endearing about this Chicago native. While most of the set featured Acid Rap selections, such as the crowd favorite ‘Favorite Song‘, what stole the show was the theme song from Arthur, which Chance has been laying bars over since Bonnaroo. Again, another perfect selection for a day time set.Source: Firefly Music Festival
Arguably the most anticipated set the the entire weekend was coming from The Foo Fighters. The on again-off again relationship the band has experienced in recent years has actually only helped their popularity, as if being shrouded in uncertainty drives popularity. However it was apparent from the second the main stage came into focus exactly the magnitude of the overall attendance. Tens of thousands of people stood between myself and the stage, and the journey to the front was no doubt arduous, but well worth it once ‘Big Me‘ started. Since each and every song that was played is pretty much a classic, the crowd response was unparalleled for any other act the entire weekend, but it was with the cover-laden encore that really blew me away. With covers of ‘School’s Out‘, ‘Miss You‘, ‘Ain’t Talkin Bout Love‘, and ‘Under Pressure‘, it kind of goes without saying that this was the best set of Day 2.
It would’ve been enough ending the night with the Foo Fighters performance, but after watching Girl Talk‘s Coachella set countless times, I found it necessary to see what it was like live. Not only did it live up to my expectations, but Girl Talk really did blow me away with the intricate nature of his set. Combining hundreds of songs into what felt like one seamless mash-up, Girl Talk had a strong command on the crowd, whether it was on stage or out in the field. Any set is enhanced by The Fine Young Cannibals‘ ‘Good Thing‘, but when crowd favorites like ‘Gas Pedal‘ and the ‘Fancy‘ instrumentals are mashed up, you know shit is going down. While there were of course a number of indie mash-ups, the highlights of the set were the combination of ‘New Slaves‘ and Marilyn Manson‘s ‘Beautiful People‘. The joining of those two productions seemed like fate, destined to be experimented with. They fit so perfectly together that it’s hard to imagine no one had thought of it sooner. Girl Talk closed the night out with force, passion, and just filthy beats.