The last couple of days of Bluesfest usually offer up some choice lineups. Day 11 of Bluesfest, the last Saturday of the festival, did not disappoint. I managed to catch the slew of headliners, consisting mostly of the “Fullflex Express Tour” members kicking off with Diplo on the Mainstage.
I was really looking forward to seeing Diplo since discovering his music a few years back with his Decent Work for Decent Pay album and continuing on with his “Major Lazer” side project. Most recently he released his Express Yourself EP and when he played the titular track from that release, the crowd went wild. He also dropped some amazing remixes of other artists tracks. Despite the intense heat, the crowd danced and sang along, getting especially crazy when he came out in the crowd in a giant inflatable ball à la Flaming Lips
Next it was time to slow things down a bit with some samplings from Beirut. I had listened to some of their latest album The Rip Tide in preparation for their set on Saturday and it’s safe to say that the album doesn’t come close to as good as they sound in person. Frontman Zach Condon and his bandmates seemed to cycle through a new instrument after every song. It is immediately evident when listening to them that their music is a product of their travels around the world, with song titles like Santa Fe, East Harlem and Port of Call paying homage to their global influences.
After that it was over to the Electro stage for YMCMB artist Tyga to bring a little hip hop to the crowds. Bringing out the classics like Rack City, The Motto and Faded the crowd became part of the experience, often filling in lines for the artist. The crowd consisted mostly of younger members, which seems to be a staple of the Electro Stage this year, although it didn’t seem to bother them too much as this years Bluesfest seems to be aiming at their generation (does that make me sound old?).
Next, it was back to the Mainstage for Pretty Lights, another part of the “Fullflex Express Tour” and his glitch-hop/electro sound. There was a large crowd at this point, which could probably have something to do with the close timing to the headliner but he maintained a solid grip on the crowd and kept dropping hard hitting beat after hard hitting beat until it was time for…
Skrillex. This is the meat and potatoes of the new direction of Bluesfest. Last year Skrillex dominated the River Stage with a late-festival performance that drew in one of the largest crowds of the festival last year. It seems that the gamble to move him to the Mainstage paid off. Easily the biggest crowd of the festival, this group could not wait till that first drop. And with a giant countdown appearing on screen just before the show, the atmosphere at Lebreton Flats was full of electricity. Once Skrillex hit the stage in his elaborate spaceship themed set, it was on. Dropping insane track after insane track, he put on an impressive visual show at the same time. At one point, the spaceship actually rose above 20 feet above the stage and opened up to allow the mob of people a good glimpse at this electronic music icon. By the end of his set, the crowd was a mass of sweat and dirt and everyone loved it.
With only one more day of Bluesfest left, it’s hard to see how they’ll top this. But i’ll let you know more when I find out.