Rivers Cuomo of Weezer proves his band still has it (Photo courtesy of Firefly Music Festival)
Four days is a long time to commit to a festival, but it actually buzzes right by when you follow your festival roadmap of bands to see.
The final day of the Firefly Music Festival, Sunday, June 22, was a short day for me as my compatriots and I determined to return to DC from Dover at a reasonable time (say, around 9pm instead of midnight or later).
I’ll wrap my festival diary then with a short nod to the three bands I caught on my last day, starting with Misterwives, who performed on the festival’s small forest stage.
The New-York based quintet is a young band that’s been around for not quite a year and a half. But they got a record deal pretty quickly, even if they don’t yet have a Wikipedia page. Vocalist Mandy Lee is total sweetheart, chatting with the audience from stage and then breaking into equally sweet, fast-paced song, such as with the band’s single “Reflections,” also the title track of their only EP so far. “Reflections” lyrically reflects Ms. Lee’s sunny attitude — maybe there’s some possibilities still ahead? And it’s neo-psychedelic rythms speak to a band that likes to whip up a good dance number — a band that includes guitarist Marc Campbell, drummer Etienne Bowler, bassist William Hehi and keyboardist Jesse Blum.
Misterwives performed a bright, upbeat cover of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” which the forest stage audience embraced quite quickly. There was much dancing. Misterwives have an upcoming show where they support Bleachers at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, Sept. 3, if you’re interested in checking them out.
A booming sad voice fills the air from the very first song.
“Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you.”
Melancholy yet so very strong, the voice of Hannah Reid of London Grammar is so powerful an instrument that you are forced to wonder if she could simply tour as an a cappella act and be tremendously successful solo.
But no. Given a bit of time at Monday night’s sold-out performance by London Grammar at the 9:30 Club, the gentle guitar of Dan Rothman and playful keyboards and drums from Dot Major swell under the vocals and provide each song with a full sound, as with the opener, “Hey Now.”
Phoenix headlined the festival (Photo courtesy Sweetlife Festival)
The Sweetlife Festival very much fulfilled the promise implied by its name Saturday, May 11, delivering la dolce vita in a well organized celebration of music and food at the Merriweather Post Pavilion.
I’m not traditionally the biggest fan of going to concerts at the DC-area outdoor pavilions — much less festivals after the chaos that accompanies the Virgin FreeFest annually at Merriweather. But Sweetlife made excellent use of the place, offering a mainstage, a “treehouse stage,” and a dance floor in the small 9:30 Clubhouse (officially, the 9:32 Club) on the grounds — all of which dissolved into an energetic performance by headliner Phoenix at the end of the night.
Food vendors, trucks and restaurants set themselves up in neat rows in various portions of the grounds and concertgoers queued up to patronize them around the clock. My companion and I parked and shuffled into the pavilion without difficulty and make our way toward lunch, pausing to check out Solange Knowles, performing an early set on the main stage. To our surprise, she struck up a cover of “I Could Fall in Love” by late Tejano singer Selena. While we didn’t really hang around to check her out, her soulful voice was crowdpleasing and the main stage attracted a sizable gathering for the time.