Mayfest was nuts. On a moderately overcast April afternoon, massive amounts of students flocked to Walnut Park for obvious reasons: free food, free beer, and great music. The anticipation of Block Party later that evening added to the commotion even more. Shortly after everyone got something in their stomach, the Chainsmokers took the stage. Even though the day was young, they were able to draw a decent crowd and set the scene right from the start. The EDM duo by no means eased into their set. Once they took the stage the speakers were immediately cranked to eleven. They played a powerful set, generating a lot of hype and some pretty aggressive dancing.
By the time they finished, the slightly tipsy crowd was anxious for the next act. Sound Remedy took the stage. His presence was solid and the crowd loved it. He blended a very unique mix of EDM with some old time rock and alternative influences. His sound was clear; he was entertaining, and most importantly, his breakdowns and bass drops were DIRTY. By the end of his show heads were pounding, ears were ringing, and the ground was vibrating…just the way we like it.
In between Sound Remedy and the headliner, Earl Sweatshirt, fans once again stuffed themselves generously with free food, Red Bull, and for some, possibly some other indigenous substances. However, their hunger wasn’t satisfied yet. After waiting patiently (assisted by grub and grimy dub-step), the crowd got what they had all been waiting for.
Earl took the stage and Walnut erupted. He greeted them, as anybody would expect, with his goon-ish personality, accompanied by his fluent sarcasm. Nonetheless, Earl was a wizard of keeping the crowd interested. He told jokes, he made fun, rambled and yelled about nothing, and livened an already ecstatic audience. After about thirty minutes, being the trickster he is, Earl left the stage and the audience in shock. Was that it? Of course not, he was just messing with you. He came back with a many more songs, some new material and old fan favorites, along with some epic monologue. The show ended, but the night was just getting started. Mayfest pleased the masses and got everyone fired up for the grand finale, Block Party.
Photo Credit: Drop City Yacht Club
As the Dome filled quickly, Drop City Yacht Club took the stage. The hip-hop group wooed the crowd with the perfect mixture of mainstream hooks and beats with solid lyrics. They were unique because they were able to get the mainstream audience to vibe with their old school lyrics. They took the essence of underground hip-hop and revived it in an arena setting. Trey Songz took over and there was a sudden shift in attitude…
Simultaneously, thousands of girls between the ages of 18 and 22 shrieked uncontrollably. Unfortunately, the piercing noise was inescapable. Needless to say, before Trey even opened his mouth, the male attendees were practically deafened. As you could probably imagine, this carried on for the majority of his set. Trey was definitely a crowd pleaser, playing radio hits like “Successful” and “Bottoms Up”, along with some content from his newest album “Chapter Five” and great singles like “Heart Attack”. His R&B voice soothed the fans as they sang along, danced, swayed, and shrieked again as he tore his tank top off.
Finally, it was time for the headliner, and Ke$ha took the stage. As always, she was sassy, surrounded by men, scantily clad, and yes, there was glitter everywhere. It was on the stage, it was fired from cannons, and it was painted on the vast majority of those in attendance. Her set was filled with racy humor, seductive dancing, questionable language, four outfit changes, fake blood, five set changes, flashing lights, a Playschool Hummer, and a Jackson Electric Guitar; everything you could ask for in a performance. It was definitely not a show for the faint of heart though. The Dome was filled with the roar of the crowd and little sparkles everywhere. Ke$ha play a full set of her fan favorites, exclusives from the new album, and a never before heard song. The finale was epic to say the least. A fat man took the stage and everybody grew incredibly confused. That all soon changed when he began to play “Fight for Your Right to Party” by the Beastie Boys, as Ke$ha and her crew destroyed the stage in the background. They smashed drums, threw things, collided with each other, and she sprayed Budweiser everywhere. The production was fantastic and there was not a hand in the crowd that wasn’t raised. Friday was quite the success and definitely made for a solemn Saturday morning, as the recovery began.
After releasing their sophomore album, Days, in 2011, the boys of Real Estate have been busy working on a variety of projects. Guitarist Matt Mondanile put out his third record as Ducktails and bassist Alex Bleeker reformed Alex Bleeker and the Freaks for a second album via Woodsist Records. The Freaks, which includes Mondanile on drums and Real Estate frontman, Martin Courtney, on bass have previewed two tracks from their upcoming How Far Away. The two tracks, “Don’t Look Down” and “Leave on the Light “ deviate only slightly from Real Estate’s signature mellowed-out indie rock. Drawing similarities from “Wonder Years,” the one Real Estate track with Bleeker featured on vocals, “Don’t Look Down” and “Leave on the Light” demonstrate a style that would be hard to disappoint Real Estate fans. While the two tracks are obviously the work of Real Estate minds, “Leave on the Light” is perhaps influenced by a young Jeff Tweedy, as it provides alt-country sounds reminiscent of early Wilco recordings. Take a listen to “Leave on the Light below.
Kara Della Valle and Grace Doty, two of Youtube’s finest, killed it in the Jabberwocky café Friday night. With a full crowd, the two singer-songwriters were more than welcome. To kick off the night, Kara debuted her new video for her single “South Dakota”. This set the stage for the rest of the show, as the video immediately connected the crowd with Kara and what she is all about.
Grace Doty (Westchester, NY) was first to perform. She began with some original songs from her album “Stuff From My Brain”. She played her hit single “Let Go of Me”, as well as a crowd pleasing cover, “Stay” by Rihanna. Grace’s edgy sound and peppy attitude were uplifting to say the least. The Room was filled with energy. Finally, Grace played a new song never heard before. She said we could expect to hear it on the next album. As her set ended, Kara came on stage and the two performed a duet. They caught everyone off guard with a throwback from the early 2000’s… “Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney.
Kara, a Niagara Falls native, took the stage. She drew some laughs with her quirky humor and words of advice. Like Grace, she played a few original songs, including “North Dakota” which was featured in her video, and fan favorite “Tonight”. The folk/country inspired Grace went on to cover “wanted” by Hunter Hayes, which riled the crowd. In the end the audience was close to tears. Kara performed her song “Jake” written about a recent death of a friend. The emotional appeal was heartwarming and pushed crowd interaction even further.
Grace came on stage once more to play a few more songs with Kara, ending with “Twenty Two” by Taylor Swift. Following the duo was Otto Tunes, an all male acapella group at Syracuse University. They sang a variety of songs by artists ranging from Mumford and Sons to One Direction. For the grand finale, Grace and Kara took the stage once more with Otto Tunes to perform the cup song from the movie Pitch Perfect.
Overall it was a great night. The crowd was alive, the music was great, and everyone went home happy. Definitely check out the performers Youtube channels, it will be well worth your while.
Indie rock band The Strokes is one of the few artists today that enjoy the level of appeal where practically anyone can dig their tunes, thanks to fan favorite albums Is This It and Room on Fire. The Strokes’ latest release, Comedown Machine, features the best of the older sound while expanding on new territory explored on their last album, 2011’s Angles. The band incorporates more keyboards and synthesizers on their latest effort, giving a more radio-friendly approach to some tracks; however, the record does a good job at keeping The Strokes’ street cred. Album opener “Tap Out” is simultaneously uplifting, groovy, relaxing and danceable, containing a quality guitar solo that rips through the background keyboards quite impressively. Other key tracks include “All The Time” – featuring some of the band’s finest chord progressions; also check out “50/50” – Nick Valensi’s fantastic leads are only outdone by Julian Casablanca’s voice, which sounds much different than prior albums, but in a very welcome way. If you’re looking for Angles part two, then sadly this album will not suffice. But if you wish to dance like a maniac, rock out, and sing along until your voice is hoarse, then add Comedown Machine to your list of 2013 albums to buy.
Check out the tracks mentioned above:
The 2013 Mayhem Festival was announced on Monday March 18th and tickets went on sale Friday the 22nd. The lineup is obviously not as good as last year’s which included legendary bands such as Slayer, Anthrax, Slipknot, etc. However, there are some very good bands on the lineup that we have not seen much of in the United States as seen in this flyer. It is being shown here that the Death Metal scene is more on the rise at this festival because of bands like Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, and Behemoth, all of which are European and they are all very respected in their countries. Amon Amarth haild from Sweden, while Children of Bodom are Finnish and Behomoth is Polish. The headliner, Rob Zombie, is going to be nothing short of amazing. However, I think many metalheads wanted different artists on the main stage. The band Lamb Of God was rumored to be a part of this festival and unfortunately they are not on the bill and people were looking forward to see them, including myself, especially after their absence from everything that had happened with the lead singer’s fiasco in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, I am excited to attend this festival yet again because it is always a good time. So if you are not utterly disappointed in the lineup get your tickets fast! Also, there will be more bands to be announced on the Sumerian Stage so look out for that too!