CHVRCHES, Melanie Martinez Headline DC’s All Things Go Fall Classic

Washington D.C.’s All Things Go Fall Classic is back and better than ever with a mixed-genre lineup. The two-day festival on October 12th and 13th calls D.C.’s trendy Union Market home.

Saturday’s headliner includes the likes of Glasgow-based band Chvrches, known for their anthemic indie-electronic sounds. Led by Lauren Mayberry, the band released their third album Love is Dead in 2018. Also in Saturday’s lineup is LANY, Paul Klein’s project that features sad yet undeniably catchy synth-melodies dripping in hearthrob. In addition to a slew of upstart undercards, indie-pop band COIN completes a stacked lineup on Saturday.

In Sunday’s set, there’s a solid lineup of undercards. Expect to hear from Swedish-born singer Léon, who has a vintage sound with contemporary infusions. After breaking onto the scene with her hit Tired of Talking, she released an eponymous album in 2019. Additionally, Betty Who looks to awe the All Things Go crowd once again with her synthpop tracks. Headlining Sunday’s festivities is Melanie Martinez. Following an appearance on The Voice, Martinez gained national acclaim with her 2015 album Cry Baby.

Full Lineup:

SATURDAY

CHVRCHES ~ LANY ~ COIN ~ MUNA ~ MXMTOON ~ NASTY CHERRY ~ ARKELLS ~ SNEAKS

SUNDAY

MELANIE MARTINEZ ~ BETTY WHO ~ LEON ~ OLIVIA O’BRIEN ~ ALLIE X ~ CARLIE HANSON ~ TEAMARR ~ SHENNA

These sets can be seen at affordable early bird rates.

2 Day GA – $99

2 DAY VIP – $229

1 DAY GA $65

1 DAY VIP $139

Additional ticketing information can be found here.

Hangout 2019: In Review

This weekend marked the end of the Hangout Festival, Gulf Shore’s annual beach music festival. For many, it was weekend that ended in sunburn, a hangover and the catchy hooks from some of the weekend’s meany stellar sets.

There was a lot to love. After surviving the strangely intense frisking by on-site Alabama Police officers, we were granted entry into the surreal grounds of Hangout. There were five stages, ranging from the massive Hangout and Pandora Stage, to the intimate BMI Mermaid stage all within a walking distance. Swimsuit clad festival-goers were as far as the eye could see.

Best Undercard Sets

For the performing bands in the undercard spot, Hangout offers an incredible opportunity to solidify your spot in the musical lexicon of 35,000 of today’s youth. Succeed, and you may very well end up with a sub-headlining spot a year or two down the road. Fail, and this will likely be your last appearance at the festival.

Some bands that stepped up to the plate this weekend were:

Bryce Vine – With hits like “Drew Barrymore,” “Sunflower Seeds” and “Guilty Pleasures,” Bryce Vine (Bryce Ross-Johnson) had deep array of known tracks to draw from in his set. He did not disappoint. With a 1:15pm set time at the smaller Boom Boom Tent, fans spilled out into the street to see his electric energy and electro-pop choruses. Lyrically, Bryce speaks of youthful transgressions, such as in “Guilty Pleasures”:

I can’t give a f***, I’m just living like so what // I live a life of leisure, full of guilty pleasure

With one of the most vibrant sets of the weekend, it’s clear Bryce Vine’s star is on the rise.

Superorganism – The seven folks that composed Superorganism had a double edged sword in their placement on Pandora stage. On the positive side, they were playing at the second largest stage, beachside at Hangout. That said, their set time was in the scorching 82 degree sun, in the middle of the afternoon. Led by vocalist Orono Noguchi, Superorganism was distinctly different, in an authentic way. By sticking to their originality, the group maintained a friendly, quirky vibe that complemented their electronically-centric tracks. Superorganism plays with the structure of songs, aptly infusing cash sounds, and camera flashes in their track “Everybody Wants To Be Famous.” One of the background vocalists B, took center stage and demolished the quirky, yet surprisingly catchy tracks “Hello Me & You,” featured on the soundtrack of the Lego Movie 2.

Shaed – Composed of twin brother Max and Spencer Ernst and vocalist Chelsea Lee, Shaed took the intimate BMI Mermaid stage. Whether it was stage providing a much needed reprieve in the shade or Shaed’s enrapturing stage presence, the set progressed so quickly that we were left double checking our watch to see that 45 minutes indeed had passed. Chelsea Lee has a strong voice, that is left to the forefront, with the building beats left rightfully in a secondary role. The set was reminiscent of a vocally-focused Sylvan Esso or Phantogram.

Best Headlining Sets

Travis Scott – Travis Scott lived up to expectations by performing another energetic performance. He delivered fan favorites off his discography, and he included hits off of Astroworld that included “Stargazing,”No Bystanders,” “Sicko Mode,” and “Astroworld.” Although he moved through songs at a rapid pace, the performance feel short as it failed to include “Yosemite,” “Upper Echelon,” and “Skeleton” which had been staples of his Astroworld tour.

Despite this performance coming at the culmination of his grueling Astroworld tour, he kept up the energy and satisfied the frenzied swimsuit-wearing audience.

Khalid

Khalid’s title as the most popular artist on Spotify silenced those who doubted his headliner status, but there were still concerns regarding his ability to engage the fans who longed an up-tempo finish to the day on the beaches of Gulf Shores.

His strategic interspersing of hit songs and the incorporation of visual effects and background dancers kept the male crowd that might have been skeptical. By the end of the evening the crowd was singing to his hits of “Location” and “Talk.”

Lumineers

A perfect Sunday headliner, the Lumineers offered the breadth of discography and hits to appease casual followers and loyal fans alike. Lead vocalist Wesley Shultz started off the show with the surprising announcement that he intended to play half of the unreleased album during the show. With singles like “Gloria” and “Life In The City” out, it was fascinating to hear their new discography. Staying true to their roots, kick drums and strong raspy vocals by Wesley still pervaded these tracks. Vivid lyricism and an emphasis on story seemed to resonate through these new tracks. A particularly catchy song was “Life In The City,” in which he had the crowd oooh ooh oh along with him during the melodies.

Four songs in, Wesley announced they were going to do something a bit different. Out of nowhere, a stage in the middle of the crowd lifted up, revealing six mics. The audience went nuts. The band members made their way over and proceeded to sing “Flowers In Your Hair,” “Ho Hey” before an intimate rendition of “Slow it Down”. For “Slow It Down,” just Wesley and the Jeremiah were left on the stage. For five minutes of bliss, the two went mic to mic belting the tunes. Once the chorus hit:

Slow it down, Angie come back to be bed // Rest your arms, and rest your legs

There was an unforgettable moment where 30,000 people were immersed in song to the backdrop of an oceanside breeze. The sense of community and togetherness during these intimate songs is a hallmark of the Lumineers’ stage presence.

 

Key Moments

 

Jimmy Buffett’s Surprise Appearance

During Kygo’s set on Saturday evening, fans were shocked when the rock legend Jimmy Buffett rose atop the DJ set to perform “Margaritaville” alongside a steel drum accompaniment. His announcement of Buffet’s name came as a shock because he had been introducing vocal features of some of his songs throughout the evening, but it came as a great surprise when the crowd spotted Buffet’s familiar jovial face.

Quinn XCII’s Absence

Another great surprise at the festival was Quinn XCII’S last minute pull-out of the festival. While the details of his removal from the lineup aren’t entirely clear, it is suspected that illness prevented him from performing.

He was expected to be a standout undercard performer and the team at FestivalPulse is wishing Quinn a speedy recovery.

Beyond the Music

Outside of the great sets, Hangout offered a constant stream of dopamine-inducing diversions. Though inside the realm of a sponsor area, the Monster Energy Beach Club offered a caffeine-laden, foam-covered, snapchat-worthy experience for inebriated millennial who just couldn’t get enough DJ time.

Swimming and relaxing by the crashing waves was another great benefit of the festival if you were willing to arrive early or wait in the seemingly endless line. For those not willing to bear the line, many people chose to collapse in the hammocks strewn about the rustling palm trees.

The Fruit of the Loom Air-Powered expedition provided a free sailboat ride in the crashing waves of the Gulf, but due to wave conditions this promotion only ran on Friday.

The PlayStation experience provided an area to receive some much needed air conditioning, an opportunity to play some favorite video games, and a secure compartment to charge cell phones.

This year’s Hangout fest left festival-goers with a satiated feeling as the diverse lineup and varied assortment of food and activities made for an exhilarating weekend.

The weekend began with the upbeat tone with Bryce Vine and those caught up in the emotions of the festival were entertained until the final strum on Wesley Schultz’s acoustic guitar on Sunday evening. The festival did an excellent job of fusing multiple genres and allowing folk and indie bands to be featured alongside their more mainstream pop and EDM counterparts.

Until next year, Hangout! 🤙

Atlanta’s 2019 Shaky Knees Amasses Modern Rock Heavyweights

Shaky Knees, the three day festival taking over Atlanta’s Central Park May 3rd-5th, has teed up a stacked group of indie heavyweights for it’s 2019 iteration. With arguably one of the best lineups of the year and priced at an extraordinarily affordable rate of $179 for 3 days, the festival is sure to draw large numbers again this year.

Headliners to Watch

Tame Impala – The Australian rock band is hitting the festival circuit in full force this spring. Led by frontman Kevin Parker, the band recalls the psychedelic pop of the 60s in a distinctly layered format. Following their 2015 smash hit album Currents, with the likes of “Let It Happen” and “The Less I Know the Better,” they’re set to a release a new album in 2019.

Cage the Elephant – The mainstream rock band from Kentucky is expected to follow up their widely lauded 2015 album Tell Me I’m Pretty with a new release in 2019. The band even tweeted in November that the album is finished, leaving festival-goers and fans alike hoping new tracks will be debuted at the Atlanta fest. Longtime followers of the band have watched their sound evolve, though they’ve maintained a lodestar in the up-tempo rock genre. Indie-rock fans will find it hard to resist the contagious energy found within tracks such as “Trouble” and “Cigarette Daydreams.”

Beck – A veteran on the festival circuit and with an extensive discography harking back to the mid-90s, Beck recently has developed a more polished-feel to his rock tracks. His 2017 album Colors was widely acclaimed and included a hit single in Dreams, which was featured on the 2016 FIFA soundtrack. Known as an enthralling performer and with a great stage presence, Beck will be sure to please longtime fans and new listeners alike.

 

Undercards Worth Waking Up For

Grouplove – Well known for their idiosyncratic yet catchy high tempo tracks, the L.A. based indie rock band is a solid addition to an indie-rock centric group of sub-headliners. They made waves with their hit 2011 album Never Trust A Happy Song, and followed it up with the 2017 studio album Big Mess. More Grouplove music is on the docket for 2019 as reports circle that they have a new fourth album in the works.

Phosphorescent – Known for homespun, folk songs, singer songwriter Mathew Houck is set to add to the diverse array of indie artists composing the 2019 fest. Listeners may recognize “Song for Zula,” often featured in television commercials and sentimental film scenes, yet Houck has recently added to an enjoyable catalog of polished songwriting hooks in his 2018 album C’est La Vie.

Rayland Baxter – The lacrosse player turned singer songwriter is known for his poignant lyricism pervaded with witty, self-reflective qualities. His 2018 album Wide Awake was released after three months of dedicated production in a Nashville factor referred to as “Thunder Sound.” Rather than what he is, it’s what he’s not that make Rayland Baxter a must-see artist. He’s not commercial, he’s not perfect, and he’s not going to avoid taboo topics. His guitar-twinged, somber, sway-inducing tunes will add a much needed folk thread to the Shaky Knees lineup.

In addition to the stellar lineup, there is a curated selection of eateries as well as photo booths and games. Interested in going? Tickets are a steal at $179 (without fees) for a 3 day pass. Prices are set to increase to $189 on 1/24. They can be found here.

Hangout 2019: Beach Music Fest Returns to Gulf Shores

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With 2018 in the books, FestivalPulse dives deeper into the spring festival lineup. Up first, Hangout Music Festival taking place May 17th – 19th in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

The Lineup – Three Must See Headliners

Travis Scott – He is concluding his Astroworld Tour Circuit with a few stops at prominent festivals. His highly acclaimed album Astroworld continues his unique blend of pleasing pop-rap. “Sicko Mode” is an unforgettable track. It’s chaotic combination with Drake features multiple time changes and is widely lauded as one of the albums biggest hits. Stargazing” feature Scott’s memorable lyrics alongside trap beats, recalling his 2016 album Birds on the Track Sing McKnight.

The crowd is bound to be rocking as Scott is sure to hype up the crowd to follow his lyric “and it ain’t a mosh pit if ain’t no injuries.”

Khalid – Khalid has continued his rise to the top with the release of his newest album Suncity. “Saturday” and “Better” feature Khalid’s powerful vocals alongside melodic synths. Although Khalid is no longer a teen, his lyrics resonate with the young generation, which are sure to be out in full force at Hangout. Other fan favorites like “Young Dumb and Broke” and “American Teen” are groves that will sway the festival goers as they soak up the sun.

Kygo – The Norwegian Deep House producer has plenty of smooth dance hits to quench the dance needs of the Hangout festival goers. His most recent single “Happy Now” has quickly taken to the Top 40 charts and boasts lively keyboard beats that have become a staple of his work. Fans can expect a deep lineup of hits as he has 9 songs with over 90,000,000 plays according to spotify.

The Lineup – Three Undercards to Watch

Superorganism – This indie-electronic group has risen to prominence over the last two years. The band is a seemingly eclectic collection of members: eight different countries are represented each with different musical backgrounds. This results in a splendidly idiosyncratic blend of eccentric pop grooves. “Something for your M.I.N.D” and “Everybody Wants to be Famous” are their biggest hits that feature seemingly unrelated audio samples that blend into a cacophony of electronic chaos that leaves you with an unyielding desire to hear it again. Given their recent surge into the spotlight, they will be an act you do not want to miss.

Mura Musa – This is another Indie-Electronic performer that features a wide array of electro-pop tracks. His most popular track “Love$ick” featuring A$AP Rocky has amassed nearly 200,000,000 plays on spotify. Other fan favorites are “Firefly” and “Complicated” that include upbeat synth riffs paired with thumping bass beats.

Bazzi – A Michigan native who has been making his name in the pop industry. Getting his start on youtube singing covers, he has thrived in newfound spotlight with his hit single “Mind.” His soulful voice effortlessly blends R&B, pop, and rap. He will surely be a must watch as he enters the prime of the festival season.

The Festival – Three Must Try Events

Roller Disco – Unleash your inner 80s and do a few laps on the old roller skating rink. Nothing exemplifies relaxation more than roller skating with the ocean breeze through your hair.

Beach Volleyball – Find some new friends on the volleyball court. This classic beach sport is a great way to spend the time between sets, and maybe you can climb the ladder to be the king of the court!

Wedding Chapel – During the weekend check out the wedding tent and you might be able to see newlyweds taking their vows! Real weddings will be performed and you can witness it all from the beach!

Interested in attending?  3 Day passes start from $279 and can be purchased here.

 

Ring in the New Year with Sydney’s Lost Paradise Festival

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Lost Paradise returns to Sydney for another unimaginable New Year’s celebration! Find your vibe from December 28th– January 1st with impressive headliners like The Kooks, M.I.A, Joey Bada$$, and Oz native, Tash Sultana. The fifth edition of Lost Paradise promises “a mind-blowing four day and night celebration of life, love, and fun” where you can “feed your soul with music, art, revelry, connection, and discovery.”

Tickets

3 day pass – $369 including camping

4 day pass – Sold Out

Breakdown

The festival boasts three fantastic venues. With so many great bands, it’s tough to decide which concert to attend, but don’t worry – we have you covered!

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Arcadia Stage

The biggest venue of the three, Arcadia stage, gets the most popular artists like British indie-pop legends, the Kooks.  You also have woke American rapper, Joey Bada$$, who’s politically charged lyrics will convince you to fly back to America to fight injustice. A little piece of advice for our American readers, don’t overlook Aussie stars like Ball Park Music and Tash Sultana. You may not know of them (yet), but they will surprise you with a similar sound to Boy & Bear and Tame Impala, respectively.

Lost City

Arguably our favorite stage, Lost City, hosts the electric and house sounds that we crave. Our recommendation is that you listen to Biceps, Young Franco, and Yotto. Don’t forget to see Foals, the legendary math rock band that made the genre accessible to the public

Paradise Club

This venue is for the soul searcher who love underground music. It features UK Artist, Flava D who is coming off a stellar UK tour. Other notable artists include Elijah Something & Nate S.U, Side Boob, and SOHM.

The Bigger Picture

 Lost Paradise is more than a music festival. Hosted in a scenic forest with a beckoning stream, the venue is designed to remind us of our roots. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, art, and spirituality, Lost Paradise attracts a conscious crowd. This isn’t just a publicity stunt, the festival has gone ‘the extra kilometer’ to ensure their actions are in parallel with their marketing. Whether it’s their “remove your tent” competition or filtering recycling from trash bins by hand, you can rest assured that Lost Paradise has the well-being of the world in mind.

Lost Festival is a fantastic event to support. For our American readers, it’s time to take that trip you have been dreaming about. Life is short, live it up while you can!

 

 

Star-Studded Folk Lineup at Charleston’s High Water Music Fest

In its third year, Charleston’s High Water Fest comes back bigger and better than ever with an all-star lineup of indie folk favorites. The two day fest takes place in North Charleston’s scenic Riverfront Park on the weekend of April 13th and 14th.

The festival includes crowd pleasing favorites in the headliner spot, including the curators of the festival, Charleston-based folk duo Shovels & Rope.  Hot R&B artist Leon Bridges fills one of the headlining spots, coming off his recent record Good Thing.  Folk heavyweights The Head & The Heart fill out the last headlining spot with their indie-folk  sounds, sure to please die hard fans and casual listeners alike.

In addition to a solid lineup of headliners, well-known folk icons line the undercard lineup. Famed midwesterner folk group Lord Huron, 60’s infused indie band Dr. Dog, rising indie-rocker Mitski (hot off her recent sold-out North America tour) and Mathew Houck’s Phosphorescent are notable highlights from a high quality undercard lineup.

The festival also includes a number of quintessentially southern experiences to augment the stellar music lineup.  Recharge with some old fashioned southern libations and regionally-themed eats at the The Refuge retreat.  Learn all things shellfish at oyster education classes.  Enjoy a low-country boil, southern deserts and a bucolic environment at the low tide social on Friday April 12th.

Weekend passes start at $159.50 + fees.  Experience passes can be purchased for $55 + fees.  Both can be found at the High Water ticketing page here.

 

With Politics, Emotion & Empowerment, D.C.’s All Things Go Fest Rocked Union Market

As the weekend comes to a close, D.C.’s All Things Go wraps up another excellent festival featuring some of the music industry’s current breakout artists. This year’s rendition, curated by Maggie Rogers and Lizzy Plapinger (LPX), focused on the empowerment of women and spread awareness for inequalities in the music industry. Near the end of Maggie Rogers’ performance on Saturday night, the two spoke of their desire to create the perfect music festival that enabled promising young artists to share their thoughts regarding the importance of a positive body image and foster an attitude of empowerment among both the artists and their fans. Billie Eilish, Maggie Rogers, Betty Who, and Carly Rae Jepsen openly expressed their desire for women to not limit their goals because of their gender.

Maggie Rogers expressed frustration that women are often referred to as “Women Songwriters” or “Women Musicians.” She insisted that women should be thought of as “Artists” and “Musicians” instead to foster an attitude of equality among artists. Additionally, Billie Eilish commented on the great potential of young girls and reinforced the idea that nothing should restrain them from setting ambitious goals. Eilish has herself defied many boundaries by making a name for herself in the Indie Pop industry at the young age of 16. During her set she reinforced to her fans the idea that each individual should have complete autonomy over their actions, regardless of their age, race, or gender.

Billie Eilish Performing “Ocean Eyes”

Not only did the theme of women’s empowerment remain strong throughout the weekend, but the current political situation also inspired some showcases of discontent regarding the recent decision made in the appointing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Maggie Rogers mentioned that she had a “difficult day” because of the decision to confirm Kavanaugh as a justice. During her final song, Rogers displayed a picture of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to signal her stance of standing with those who have been impacted by sexual misconduct. The crowd immediately reacted to the image with cheers as it impassioned the audience for Rogers’ final song. Billie Eilish commented on the situation by declaring that the senate were a “bunch of b******” and that the senators displayed “some of the smallest d*** energy I have ever seen.” Near the beginning of her set, Eilish led the audience in a chant of “F*** Brett Cavanaugh” while giving the finger. Most of the audience joined into the rallying call, which served to inspire additional passion among the crowd.

Other artists responded to this situation with disdain and attempted to not focus on the difficult decisions that were made in the past, but rather focus on the potential positive possibilities for the future. Emotions were certainly running high throughout the festival, but the artists were able to lead the festival goers to use their emotions to create an electric atmosphere as the artists rocked Union Market.

Best of the Sets

Saturday featured a stunning set by Billie Eilish, with fans packed to the gills to see the 16 year old phenom come to the District. In the middle of the set, she played a surprisingly charming cover of Drake’s smash hit “Hotline Bling” that gradually morphed into her charming ballad “party favor.” Additionally, she performed her hit new single “you should see me in a crown,” to an enraptured audience. The set ended with a bang with the unique pop undertones of “COPYCAT.”

The great music kept on coming with a powerful set by Maggie Rogers. As the curator, she exuded an umistakable joy not only in performing, but also in the realization the festival came together this year. She also spoke about her unique background, where a viral video two years ago propelled her on the spotlight she now enjoys today. In the spirit of the moment, Maggie Rogers played the entirety of her unreleased album to a crowd of swaying onlookers feeling the spirit of the music absorb into their willing veins.

Maggie Rogers

Betty Who played a stunning set on Sunday, electrifying a packed audience at the venue. Seamless transitions combined with a seemingly unceasing energy led to an electric show that caused many onlookers, including the FestivalPulse staff, to forget the time.

Betty Who

The beauty of the All Things Go festival was the diversity and class of the lineup. As Maggie Rogers insightfully noted at her set, there lacked a competitive aspect to the weekend, and instead she noted the environment was more of a celebration. Each artist also maintained their unique style. Eilish’s unconventional indie pop resonated with the crowd, as did the genre-melding, joy-infusing Maggie Rogers. Betty Who put on a performance alongside her backup dancers. MisterWives played a set to remember with their strong stage presence and distinctive vocals. Last but certainly not least, Carly Rae Jepsen owned the stage as a seasoned performer belting global hits such as “Call Me Maybe” to more intimate yet undeniably catchy tracks like “Emotion.”

In addition to scintillating sets, All Things Go featured a diverse array of tents to appease both the taste buds and the prefrontal cortex. An excellent array of food vendors, including Deep Eddy Vodka, Shake Shack, Vice Cream, Buredo, Rocklands BBQ, Timber Pizza Co. & Sweetgreen provided some excellent food options (and they lacked the upcharge common at other internal venues (cough cough National Park)). There was also interactive art exhibits. Festival-goers could write & draw on an inflatable ball or watch artists paint.

 

 

Despite some lineup tumult, All Things Go continued to please music-lovers in the greater D.C. area. We can only hope it’s back and better than ever next year!

Misterwives Replaces Børns at All Things Go Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

In light of recent allegations of sexual misconduct, the D.C. based All Things Go Festival recently announced that BØRNS will no longer be performing at the 2018 edition of the fest.

In addition to announcing BØRNS’s removal, they released a statement noting that: “We hope, in all years and especially this one, that the Fall Classic continues to be part of making the music world a better, more equal place.”

Garret Borns (Børns) has been accused of “grooming behavior” and manipulation of underage fans for sexual means. Two women have come forward on twitter to share their stories. @alyssaadaniele notes that he used manipulative techniques to gain her trust in a repeated series of interactions starting when she was 16. Furthermore, @kaliforxnia provided detailed documentation of her interactions with the singer as noted in this google doc.

This could not have been more topical as this year’s festival is showing a special focus on women, with the new initiative “Classic Conversations” set to showcase Women’s role in music and entrepreneurship with appearances from local entrepreneurs and artists with the likes of Maggie Rogers among others.

It was recently announced that NYC based indie pop band Misterwives will replace Børns in the sub headlining spot.  Despite the late addition, Misterwives is set to continue the indie pop theme of the festival with their unique combination of synth pop and folk. Their most prominent hits include “Reflections,” “Our Own House,” and their most recent album “Connect the Dots” has been well received with its smooth indie groves.

The new set times are as follows:

The D.C. All Things Go Festival is set to take place this weekend, Saturday October 6th and Sunday October 7th. Grab your tickets here.

The National Prove That Homecomings Can Be Spectacular

The National’s Homecoming festival was designed with grownups in mind. Not a “see and be seen” festival like Coachella, Homecoming focused firmly on music. Organizers did things that are unheard of at other festivals which cater to a younger demographic, like serving beer and energy drinks in cans. There was no fear that cans would be hurled at the musicians at Homecoming!

Saturday started strong, with Brooklyn’s Lanz Projects. They treated attendees to an interesting mix of electronic and indie tunes.

Over on the West stage, Lord Huron brought the rock, and began their set with their new single “Ancient Names (Part One).” They gathered an increasingly large audience as they played their captivating indie tunes.

Multi-instrumentalist Sam Amidon’s set of haunting and beautiful songs was perfectly timed for the largely sunny weather.

The Breeders looked to be having a great time, and it was a family affair. Not only were the two Deal twin sisters on stage and beaming, but their brother was in the audience. Their set included songs from their new album, which was recorded in nearby Dayton, Kentucky. The sisters pointed toward the studio where they recorded, and said they could see it from the stage.

Unlike his 2015 Lollapalooza appearance, Father John Misty lead singer Josh Tillman was mostly quip-free during his performance. At that Lollapalooza Tillman said, “you guys ready for a …. ballad? That’s what gets you the 2:30 PM slot.” He played many of those same ballads, but at his Homecoming 7:00 p.m. slot. Happily, the band also played two just-released new songs, including the hilarious “Mr. Tillman.”

 

It was dark by the time The National hit the stage for their headlining set. And, like the Breeders, it was a family affair for the National too, with Matt Berninger’s mother at the show. Matt must be getting prepared for Mother’s Day, since he played what he said was his mother’s favorite song. In one notable moment, Matt jumped into the audience and ran to the bar and poured himself a drink. Our photographer managed to grab an image of Matt as he sprinted by.

Non-music activities were successful as well. Some food lines were long around dinner time, but most moved quickly. The ability to pay with a credit card was a plus. The only hiccup were the long lines to get into the festival Saturday afternoon.

The sun made frequent appearances. It was refreshing to occasionally be chilly rather than overheated at an ostensibly summer music festival.

Sunday afternoon performers included Lisa Hannigan, who sang beautiful songs, some acapella, and others with a strummed guitar. The bright sunlight and warmer weather on Sunday were a perfect fit for Lisa’s songs.

Big Thief played a captivating set of indie rock, sometimes sounding like a traditional rock band and other times sounding like a noise-rock band. Lead singer Adrianne Lenker’s voice held the songs together and brought a plaintive beauty to many of the tunes.

Future Islands lead singer Samuel T. Herring was on fire. After not playing a show for 4 months, they lept back into performing, turning in a blistering set with Herring’s signature (and meme-friendly) dance moves. At first glance, Herring looks like an average suburban father, but when the music starts, he transforms into something akin to a physically thicker Iggy Pop. His passion and energy were in no way diminished by the extra pounds he said that he put on during their hiatus from live performance.

Given her bright orange outfit, Feist could be seen across the expanse of the stage. She mixed older and newer songs into a captivating set that drew a large crowd.

Alvvays, the fresh-faced band from Canada, capped Sunday’s music on the East stage. They played to a rapt audience who clearly came to hear the songs from their recent album, as well as some old favorites from their debut. Many in the crowd sang along. Lead singer Molly Rankin greeted a fan who brought a home-made sign, to his obvious delight.

The members of the National were clearly not stressed about performing “The Boxer” in its entirety during night two. Unscripted and uninhibited, Matt Berringer’s anecdote about his father’s lone dance move was both funny and charming. I wasn’t sure if the hometown heroes could carry headlining two nights in a row. It was shown unequivocally to all in attendance that not only could they pull it off, but they also ruled the stage with fantastic songs and a sense of humor. The National’s Homecoming was a festival to remember!

National Homecoming Fest Releases Schedule & Set Times

Those of us that are festival veterans know what is in store when the list of bands for a festival is announced. You end up getting very excited to see all the bands, but then realize there is the inevitable horrible conflict when the festival organizers schedule your favorite bands to play at exactly the same time three quarters of a mile away from each other.

Happily, this is not the case with the Homecoming festival hosted by the National in Cincinnati the last weekend in April.  See the Information and Schedule.

In fact, Homecoming has done the opposite, making sure that bands don’t overlap. For example, if you want to see Feist and Alvvays on Sunday, no problem! Feist plays at 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on the West Stage. Alvvays plays from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. on the East Stage. (Homecoming hasn’t released the map of the park yet, but the stages shouldn’t be too far away.)

Avoiding bands playing at the same time is a huge bonus. Even if you have to sprint from one stage to another, you won’t miss much of a band’s set. It is much better than, say, Lollapalooza where for years my favorite bands would be playing at exactly the same time in what seemed like an entire state away. Getting across the vast expanse of the festival grounds entailed running a gauntlet of port-o-pot lines, napping-on-the-grass attendees and over-priced food vendors.

Homecoming should be cheered for not only scheduling a great line-up, but also for ensuring that all bands in the line-up have the opportunity to be seen by attendees!

Don’t forget about the great non-music activities at Homecoming also. Other events include an installation by ‘A Lot of Sorrow’ collaborator and Icelandic multimedia artist Ragnar Kjartansson at the Cincinnati Art Museum; a premiere of the Cincinnati Ballet with Eighth Blackbird, New York star Justin Peck, and Bryce Dessner; and a special photography exhibition featuring The National, to name a few.

We are really looking forward to this festival, and will provide a full recap of what looks to be a fantastic event!