The way today’s recap is going to work is that I thought of a bunch of questions yesterday. Some were preconceived, others came up as situations arose. I’m going to ask a question, and then answer it.
1. How many artists yesterday could you have confused with H&M employees?
About 3, maybe 4. San Fermin had a few members who looked like they’d know where to find something floral print in your size, Kevin Garrett has probably tried to get someone to sign up for a rewards program, and I wouldn’t be surprised if black-t-shirt-and-jeans wearer Charlie Hirsch had to get his shelf-stocking shift covered so he could play a half an hour set yesterday. Hayley Kiyoko was a maybe, and Cobi only escaped his fate by having his shirt unbuttoned, which I think is discouraged at H&M, but not outright banned.
2. Why is Saturday always the hot day?
There isn’t an answer here, I just want it on record that Saturbury is always the hottest ‘bury, except last year where it was the hottest and rainest. Speaking of which, it was supposed to rain all weekend, and instead, there’s barely been a cloud in the sky.
3. How much has the rise of online indie music distribution (free/paid streaming, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, etc.) impacted live music?
This is actually one I’ve been kicking around lately. Last Sunday, my girlfriend and I saw Broods, an electropop favorite of hers, play live. Broods are a duo on record who extend to a 4 piece live; they sounded great. But they had an opener named MICHL who was essentially just a guy playing slower, keyboard and 808-based jams, like digital singer-songwriter stuff. It was the kind of thing that made me think, “I’d rather just listen to dude’s SoundCloud,” which is how Kevin Garrett and others like him landed with me, too.
We’re at the point in music culture where it’s possible–not likely, but at least possible–for an artist to gain traction based on their online presence, and not every type of artist is well-equipped to handle the transition from studio act to live one. Particularly, it’s introverty singer-songwriter/producers who have trouble making the jump; they shoot for mysterious, but end up landing in uninspiring. Like, we had that yesterday with Garrett, who was a nice guy, but probably sounds better on SoundCloud.
4. Wait, did I just see a male romper?
The answer every time was no. Usually, it was just a guy with a matching shirt and shorts, although once I saw someone in an American flag onesie.
7. Is D.R.A.M. really that happy in person?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. He interacted with the audience a bunch of times, slow jammed, brought out “Broccoli,” “Special” from Coloring Book, and “Cha Cha,” and the crowd loved every second. His smile really is that big, too. Especially on a festival day where it felt like most acts just kind of played for the sake of playing, him and Hayley Kiyoko trying and succeeding in making that connection went a long way. Also, somewhere out there is probably video of me dancing like a Charlie Brown character to “Cha Cha.”
8. Does Hayley Kiyoko have an hour of music?
She does! Granted, it felt like a stretch (Kiyoko’s glitchy, Lorde-adjacent electro-pop works best in EP size bites), but Kiyoko broke things up by talking in between songs about what they were about and what motivated her, and it worked because she sounded sincere. The crowd fed off her enthusiasm and her sincerity, and you get the feeling she means the world to her fans–hearing an unabashedly queer women sing a song like “Girls Like Girls” has to be incredibly validating. Kiyoko still feels musically like she’s at the start of her career, and while her hour this year might have felt stretched, someday, it might not be enough.
9. Does the PA on the Sawyer Point Stage play at a softer volume than “FUCK YOU” loudness?
Apparently not. I get that late dayers like D.R.A.M. and especially EDMites Pretty Lights are going to want full volume, but even early and mid schedule acts like Cobi and San Fermin were out to destroy ear drums if you got too close.
10. What’s laundry day on a Tech N9ne tour look like?
Tour manager: “Okay, we got a load of 38-waist black Dickies, and a bunch of black long-sleeved button downs size XL.”
Tech N9ne: “Oh, that’s mine.”
Tech N9ne’s hype man: “Right here.”
Tech N9ne’s DJ: “I was looking for those.”
Hype man: “Those are definitely my clothes, though. It’s less faded than you guys’ stuff.”
DJ: “What? Fuck you, man, my clothes aren’t faded.”
Hype man: “Your clothes get more faded than half the people at the show today. Give me my damn shirts.”
Tour manager: “There’s also a ski mask in here.”
Hype man: “Oh, my bad, that’s Tech’s stuff.”
11. This question comes from Hayley Kiyoko, but “Can I swear up here?”
Yes, Hayley. The next person on the main stage after you is going to be Tech N9ne, who is going to say a lot of swear words very quickly. You can say “bitch” once.
12. Is all EDM the same?
Not at all. In fact, the parts of Pretty Lights’ set that I saw was pretty great. Granted, the closer was a remix of “All of the Lights,” which was perfect because hearing “All of the Lights” at a loud volume is a surefire success, but PL’s stuff also seemed fairly danceable, which I can’t quite say for Bassnectar, who was just loud and spazzy and overloading. Still, though, it means Bunbury’s gone 1 and 2 on EDM, which looks better than 0 and 3.
13. Why did Kevin Garrett’s drummer have a wallet on his snare drum?
-As a reminder to feed the meter after the set
-In case the ice cream truck from around outside the festival came in
-He read somewhere that Ringo Starr left his wallet on his snare while recording most of The White Album
-Have you sat on a drum throne? They don’t look wallet-friendly
-As an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of World Records
14. People who wear tails to EDM shows: Why?
No answer again, I just needed that question out in the open.
That’s all we’ve got for day 2, come back tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion!