Last weekend, checked out the Sweetlife Fest at Merriweather Post Pavilion for the Baltimore Sun… a rainy, dreary day but the kids in attendance could not be deterred… lots of smiling youths who were partying HARD. Also, some pretty great food courtesy of local vendors (I had a Toki Underground pho dog, myself… yum!) Weird to see Kid Cudi rocking a huge stage at an arena, last time I saw him was a little more intimate…
Closing out the main stage, and the last rock band of the night, the Black Keys (who I’d never seen before) had the crowd anticipation stoked high before they came on stage… and they didn’t seem to disappoint, though I was way too burnt out to really appreciate their set. I’d like to see them again someday without having to work for 11 hours before they played!
Raver culture was there in full effect at Virgin Fest this year… perhaps fitting, since we are apparently in the midst of a full-fledged rave/dubstep takeover… Deadmau5 brought out a huge throng of kids, who stayed til the very end of FreeFest, the west stage area by the ferris wheel reaching the biggest capacity it had all festival.
I never expected to see Patti Smith live, but was very pleased to be wrong about that… she put on a great, fiery show at FreeFest, and was one of the only artists I heard speak about politics and other weighty topics (which DID generate a few boos from some people in the audience). Her band was tight, she was full of energy, playful… great show. I’d love to see her again in a setting where she had time for a full set.
Way late on posting these pictures! In July, Animal Collective finally played Merriweather Post Pavilion, the venue for which they named their breakthrough album. I covered it for the Baltimore Sun and SPIN. It was a great show, with some amazing stage decoration and lighting. They played mostly new material, but the crowd seemed mostly into it.
I covered this years’ Virgin Fest for the Baltimore Sun and it was a doozy (and a lot of work). Performances by: MIA, LCD Soundsystem, Pavement, Ludacris, Sleigh Bells, Chromeo, Matt & Kim, Joan Jett, Modeselector, Thievery Corporation, Edward Sharpe, and MANY MANY more. By the end of the day I was delirious, dehydrated and had a blister on my shutter finger! But I also saw some great shows… Pavement was a big highlight, and LCD was great. MIA invited the crowd to join her on stage (a move which I could tell stressed the security guys out to no end, but they handled it well)… Ludacris was also awesome. All in all it was a great time, and much of (maybe all?) the proceeds went to charity, which is great. I think the mood in general was lifted by the fact that most tickets were free or for a good cause.
Afterwards I went to the Ottobar to catch the Death Set/Po Po/Waaves show, but I was too wiped out to shoot it. Then I somehow ended up at a punk cover band show and my car got towed… but that’s a story for another time…
Last weekend, I shot HFStival, which used to be a big deal music festival in Maryland but disappeared for half a decade or so… they are trying to bring it back. It was mostly 90s bands, with one exception… BILLY IDOL, who ruled the main stage (even though he wasn’t officially the headliner). It was awesome seeing him, he is still in great shape… eerily so, actually. Between this and seeing Joan Jett this past weekend, I am in the midst of an early 80s revival.
After seeing Double Dagger & Sick Weapons at Hampden Fest, we high-tailed it over to Merriweather Post because I got a last minute assignment to shoot the Vampire Weekend show with Beach House and the Dum Dum Girls. I’d seen all them before, but never at Merriweather, which is one of my favorite places to shoot. We had to race in due to some issues with my friends’ passes, so I only got to shoot one song of Dum Dum Girls, but I got a few good shots. It was really surreal seeing Beach House, who I first saw play on the street in front of the old talking head, playing on that stage to 10,000s of people… but they did good, and had a nice stage setup and a few new touring members to fill out their sound. Vampire Weekend… was Vampire Weekend.