In the midst of 2014, one of the busiest festival seasons we’ve ever had, comes the inaugural Hudson Music Project in Saugerties, New York from July 11-13th. MCP Presents seems to be filling the Camp Bisco-sized gap with this brand new experience hosted at none other than Winston Farm, the same location of the 1994 Woodstock festival. Similar to Camp Bisco, this event will feature a variety of genres ranging from electronic to hip-hop to indie rock.
Accompanying the most popular names such as Bassnectar, The Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, and Kendrick Lamar, Hudson Music Project is bringing some incredibly unique sounds. For ambient and trip-hop, be sure not to miss Tipper, a British composer and producer. He is a specialist in his genre and a master of originality. Bonobo’s live set will share Tipper’s trip-hop-esque sound while Emancipator will share both Tipper and Bonobo’s ambiance and is sure to epitomize the beauty of nature with his calming, earthy sound. On the other end of the spectrum, there is an extravagant amount of funky, glitchy, electronic music present at Hudson. Kill Paris is a talented Indiana-born producer and a must-see “future funk” act with glitch-hop undertones. Funk super-group Lettuce will surely blow the crowds away while Gramatik’s new. spacey, soulful, live electronic band under the name Exmag will give funk a new name. Included in the must-see electronic funk acts are also Griz and Big Gigantic who both incorporate their saxophone talent into their live acts. There are so many acts we are excited to see, we can’t possibly name them all (okay, we could but we’ll just post the full line-up below).
In addition to the music, there will be an “art village” filled with interactive art exhibitions, regional arts and craft vendors, and Hudson Valley-area craft beer and gourmet food vendors. Hudson Music Project has also enlisted the help of waste diversion experts Clean Vibes to ensure the cleanliness of Winston Farm during our stay. Clean Vibes is incorporating their trading post which rewards attendees for recycling and picking up trash around the venue. Cans, bottles and trash will become somewhat of a currency at the Clean Vibes Trading Post, where trash can be “cashed in” for points and points can be traded for earth-friendly health and beauty products, sunscreen and even autographed band merchandise, and food vendor vouchers.
The Hudson Music Project, although brand new, is more than likely going to be one of the best festivals to attend this summer. From the music and art installations, to the food and drink vendors, and even the cleanup crew, this festival is sure to bring an incredible amount of happiness and friendship during its three-day stay at Winston Farm.
Jam On The River returned to Philadelphia’s River Stage at Penn’s Landing over Memorial Day Weekend with a lineup featuring Lotus, Griz, Papadosio, Conspirator, Zoogma, and Grimace Federation. After a 6 year long hiatus, Jam On The River was back in grand fashion, with the stellar lineup accompanied by beautiful weather. A packed crowd, filled with hula-hoopers and tie-dyed shirt wearing 20 something year olds, filled out the venue nicely.
Conspirator and Papadosio were the first two acts we got the chance to see at Jam On The River. Both acts played to a crowd that seemed to enjoy their music but was also still slowly growing (probably due to the vast amount of kids still pre-gaming). The amphitheater within the River Stage really did not fill out until the end of Conspirator’s set as more and more people arrived at the festival.
By the time Griz came on, who was the second to last artist of the night, the amphitheater was completely packed. With his trademark Saxophone, Griz laid down a great, funkadelic set. Griz completely changed pace about midway through his set, squeezing in the track ‘Stranger’ from Skrillex’s recent album into his set, after which Griz played much more upbeat music.
The only negative thing we have to say about the event would be how quiet the music was, up until Lotus, the headliner, performed. There was even a point during Griz’s set where he tried to turn up the volume, only to be told by someone off to the side of the stage that he could not do that. Griz took to the microphone to apologize to the crowd for the music being so soft, but then also told the crowd to just “shut their eyes and imagine the music was very loud”, to which he got a loud cheer from the crowd.
There was a 30 minute intermission following Griz before the headliners of the night, Lotus, hit the stage for a two hour set that went from 8pm until 10pm. By the time Lotus came on, there was no room whatsoever in the amphitheater as everyone packed in tight to catch Lotus perform.
Lotus played an absolutely incredible set that was the perfect sendoff to what had already been a great day of music. Towards the end of their set, Lotus thanked the crowd for their part in bringing back Jam On The River after its 6 year hiatus. Lotus also reminded the crowd that Jam On The River had been absent for so long that the last time the event was held, Deadmau5 was an opening act. (Don’t believe us? Proof – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq-IrhF6fls).
We had an incredible time at Jam On The River and from the looks of it just about everyone in attendance did as well. We hope that Jam On The River makes a return to Philadelphia in 2015.
2014 marked a new era for Snowball Music Festival. Moving away from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in the city of Denver definitely stirred up some negative commotion from past attendees. However, the homegrown festival was able to impress, intrigue, and motivate both locals and out-of-state fans to give the new venue a try.
Previously held in Avon and Winter Park, Snowball’s move to Denver (April 4-6) made the festival much more accessible to the general public and drew a more diverse crowd than in its preceding years. The new venue also provided ample space for vendors, artists, food trucks, and live performers.
The first stop I made on Friday night was to catch Earl Sweatshirt, of Odd Future Records, on the Main Stage. The 20 year old rapper had an amazing stage presence and a great sense of humor which he projected onto the crowd.
Next up MiMOSA took the stage at the Groove Tent to flaunt both his new and old “future trill” beats to the audience. As always, the California native threw quite a party and closed the Groove Tent out with a bang, preparing everyone for what was to come next on the Main Stage: Knife Party. Luckily, I got to catch parts of Warpaint on the Ballroom Stage and Justin Jay in the Heat Hut before heading back to watch Knife Party.
Rob Swire, half of the notorious DJ duo, was actually the only one present, but he didn’t let that compromise the performance. The thrill of his Electro-House beats filled Sports Authority Field with a high-energy vibe and ended the final moments of the first night perfectly.
My first stop on Saturday was STRFKR on the Snowball Stage, followed by Caked Up in the Groove Tent, and Brother Ali back on the Snowball Stage. Unfortunately, Lunice, who was scheduled to play after Caked Up, did not end up performing at the festival, but Brother Ali’s set was enough to make up for it. Yeasayer graced the Snowball Stage after Brother Ali and grooved into the sunset with their soulful jams, flawlessly setting up the atmosphere for the most anticipated headliner of the weekend: Pretty Lights.
In between Yeasayer and Pretty Lights I was able to check out Kill the Noise in the Groove Tent and Trippy Turtle at the Ballroom Stage. Kill the Noise brought the bass to the Groove Tent and an immense crowd to pack it out. Trippy Turtle thoroughly impressed me with a dynamic DJ set and a powerful presence that had fans going nuts.
As I made my way to Pretty Lights, I could see the Snowball Stage begin to rapidly overflow with a sea of people waiting for their favorite headliner. Derek Vincent Smith stepped onto the stage and an incredible glow over took the entire audience as Pretty Lights’ infamous lasers lit up the Denver sky and the bass began to rattle through the venue. Accompanied by his previous drummer, Adam Deitch, and Chris Karns, former DMC DJ World Champion, the superstar trio was set to electrify the Saturday night festival goers. Their two and a half hour set was nothing short of a groundbreaking, innovative execution.
The final day of Snowball 2014 started with local favorites Proper Motion in the Groove Tent, Eminence Ensemble on the Ballroom Stage, and DJ contest winner Vibe Street, at the Heat Hut. What So Not, hailing all the way from Australia was next in the Groove Tent and ended the day portion of Snowball with his original and unique beats. Afterwards, I hit the Snowball Stage for Chali 2na of Jurassic 5. Performing with style and grace, he played a lovably, funky set with House of Vibe.
I checked out Kap Slap in the Groove Tent before heading back to the Snowball Stage for Wild Belle, an indie rock band including a brother and sister duo. Catching a bit of Clockwork after Wild Belle prepared me for the madness of Busta Rhymes that was about to happen on the Main Stage. This legendary rapper showed Denver why Busta is a timeless favorite whose talent will not fade anytime soon.
The Pretty Lights Music Party directly followed in the Groove Tent, showcasing plenty of the record label’s Colorado talent. Michael Menert, SuperVision, Paul Basic, and Eliot Lipp skillfully collaborated with Pretty Lights and completely fused their artistic styles and abilities, creating the ideal build up to the final Snowball performance: GRiZ.
Grant Kwiecinski, the saxophone player and DJ otherwise known as GRiZ ,has gained a tremendous amount of momentum within Colorado’s electronic music scene over the past three years and has proven himself time and time again with flawlessly creative performances (as well as genuine love and respect for Colorado as a state and community). MuzzY, a Detroit-based guitarist who has recorded numerous tracks with GRiZ, played alongside Grant in addition to a trumpet and trombone player.
The fresh new approach to GRiZ’s live show stunned the crowd and left us all buzzing; he truly took his DJ and saxophone skills to the next level and showed Snowball Music Festival what “electro-soul” is really all about.
Overall, Snowball 2014 was a great production filled with a plethora of amazing headliners and local favorites alike. The crowd control was great and I never experienced any lines that were out of hand during the weekend. In my opinion, the sound tent and gates around the Snowball Stage could have been pushed back to create more room because it did get pretty overpacked during Pretty Lights, however, the event was still top quality. Even though many were skeptical about the move to Denver, it was pulled off fantastically. Until next year, Snowball!
Ever since Grizmatik destroyed the 1st Bank Center’s stage on Halloween, the Boulder area has been dying to see Griz (and/or Gramatik) perform live once again. Griz’s show at the Boulder Theatre, (in Boulder Colorado), sold out almost immediately. The doors opened at 8pm on Wednesday, March 12th, with the openers hitting the stage around 9:30.
The openers were a group named ‘Exmag’ and they really did a great job of warming up the crowd and setting the stage for the headliner. Exmag consists of three members: a keyboard player, a DJ who controlled the monitor, and an electric guitar player. Their set was a great mix of different types of music.
At times the keyboard player and guitar player would switch instruments just to show the audience how talented they really were. The DJ played all different types of beats for his partners to play on top of. Exmag played more electronic and trap beats as they got a feel for the crowd and progressed through their set.
A great moment was when they actually brought Griz out during their set to play along as they performed a remix to one of Griz’s tracks, which the crowd loved. After about an hour, Exmag ended their set and received a great round of applause from the crowd, which you could tell they were very happy about. It was great to watch a group who loved playing their music as much as Exmag.
As the set crew finished preparing the stage for Griz and the lights dimmed, the crowd went nuts. As soon as the first song began, the energy level in the building went through the roof. Clearly Griz was excited to perform in front of a Boulder audience once again and Boulder was definitely excited for Griz.
His set was full of energetic remixes sampling all different types of music. Our personal favorite was when he sampled the Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog’s classic “Next Episode”. His set was backed by an amazing light show that only improved as the night went on.
Griz played until around 11:15pm, after which there was a 15 minute intermission. When Griz returned, he played many of his most popular songs such as “Hard Times” and “Smash the Funk”. He clearly planned to have two different sets because the graphics and light show for his first set was nothing compared to what he had in store for his second set.
A highlight for this show (for any electronic music fan) was when Griz brought out Dom Lalli from Big Gigantic who also was playing his saxophone along side Griz. The crowd consistently gave Griz every bit of energy they had from start to finish which just motivated him to throw down even harder.
Watching Griz go from killing solos on the saxophone, to playing raw remixes he produced himself, showed us why he is such a fan favorite. It’s no wonder his show sold out so quickly. You could tell Griz loved being in Colorado, especially Boulder, and the feeling was more than mutual.
On Saturday, January 25th, Drexel University held their annual homecoming event, featuring a musical lineup of epic proportions. The $5 show was stacked not only with talent, but musical diversity, and top-notch production value as well.
The show featured rappers Trinidad James, and School Boy Q, followed by Griz and his saxophone infused electronic music, and headliner, Carnage and his festival trap bangers. Local rap group ‘Ground Up’, as well as a Drexel university DJ, opened the show.
The show was scheduled to start at 7pm, however, come 7pm, sound-check was still taking place. A mix of Drexel students and their guests began to slowly trickle into the 33rd Street Armory, and it wasn’t until 8pm that the first artists hit the stage.
Mid-way through Trinidad James set the venue had reached a nice sized capacity, with even more people waiting in line to enter. Trinidad James did a great job getting the crowd hyped up by pulling people up onto the stage to dance alongside him.
Next up for the night was Schoolboy Q, who kept the night going strong. Schoolboy Q only performed a few songs, and it seemed that his set was cut short, as it was notably shorter than Trinidad James performance.
Griz was up next as the night switched from rap over to electronica. Rocking his trademark Saxophone, Griz put the venue into a funkadelic state as he played songs such as ‘Hard Times’, ‘Do My Thang’, and ‘Smash the Funk’. While the venue responded with a ton of energy for the beginning of Griz’s set, by the end, it seemed that some of that energy had tapered off. While loved the entire set, we could tell some in attendance really just wanted the headliner for the night, Carnage, to go on.
Come 11pm the crowd got their wish and Carnage made his way out onto the stage, ducking down behind the DJ booth. The full range of production that went into the night became immediately apparent once Carnage’s set began.
Flanking a DJ booth that had broth front and back LED panels, were two enormous, blow-up Carnage dolls that were rocking Jordan’s and sunglasses. Carnage tends to wear Jordan’s quite frequently, as well as sunglasses (yes, even inside) in case you were wondering. What was even cooler were the lasers that shot out of the eyes of the massive blow up dolls.
When you total up the impressive light rigs used on stage, the 2 massive LED panels, the 2 even gigantic Carnage balloon dolls, the confetti blasts, and the crazy amount of co2 tanks used to fuel the air cannons, it is obvious that Drexel did not skimp on anything.
If you have never seen Carnage before, put him on your ‘artists to see’ list. The guy plays massive festival trap and big house bangers, with a reckless disregard to pigeon-holing himself, as he mixes from genre to genre often and effortlessly during his sets. His performance at Drexel was no different. The crowd seemed to love him, and we did too.
We have to hand it to Drexel for their homecoming event. It was a job well done all around.