“Somebody stole my car radio and now I just sit in silence.” -Twenty-One Pilots
The highway to Atlanta was marked with an almost tragic experience where the gas light radiated ominously for 15 solid minutes while sitting in traffic. Sweet relief flowed in the form of inner city fuel that was frantically achieved with an illegal U-turn in the middle of an unyielding sea of SUVs. Success. We had made it to Music Midtown.
Repping Urban Outfitters and flash-tats, our crew excitedly strolled the streets of the ATL on our way to Piedmont Park, home of our weekend stomping grounds and all our musical hopes and expectations. I should probably preface this article with the fact that I have never been to a music festival before and my little heart was flying high in preparation for back-to-back spiritual (a.k.a. musical) experiences in the middle of an expanse of fellow fans and dreamers. At least that was my take on what a music festival would be like.
New York post-punk meets soft indie-beat group Bear Hands kicked off my festival experience on Friday afternoon with some mellow takes that were far from energetic but carried a depth of inward emotion that hit harder than some bands of the weekend. “Giants” was definitely the stand out song of the show, the only track that really resonated with the crowd. However, lead singer Dylan Rau had his ginger curls pulled back in a trendy mun (man bun) with a tribal headband. *Swoon*
Set List: Unavailable
Who dat? Who dat? I-G-G-Y. Iggy Azalea was definitely a prime showstopper of the weekend. The Australian rapper and powerful performer owned the stage alongside her crew of twerktastic dancers. And they brought it, from most-famed “Fancy” to bass-heavy “Black Widow” to summer anthem “Problem” minus Ariana Grande and Nikki Minaj (though we all were hoping they would show up for a surprise appearance). Another guest did show up unannounced, though. T.I. arrived for a performance of “No Mediocre,” sending a craze through the hyped up crowd. Way too much grinding at this show.
During Lorde, we had exclusive access to the Coca-Cola Zero viewing space (my roommate randomly won tickets on Twitter). This gave us an elevated view that was far away but much nicer than my 5’2 self fighting the crowd of giants beneath. We drank free Coke Zero while watching an alien green glow exude from Lorde and the stage below. I’ve known every single word to “Royals” since my friend Chance introduced me the summer before she was ever radio famous, so this was the perfect opportunity to finally utilize those skills and oh, I did.
Glory and Gore
White Teeth Teens
Flashing Lights (Kanye West cover)
Heavenly Father (Bon Iver cover)
A World Alone
When it came to the toss up between John Mayer and Jack White, I went with half of my heart. A wildfire ignited in my soul, which lead to slow dancing in a burning room while waiting on the world to change. Why Georgia, why, did you let gravity bring me back down to earth at the end of this set? If you didn’t get any of those puns, we can’t be friends.
I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
Waiting on the Day
Speak for Me
Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith cover)
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
XO (Beyonce cover)
Neon (John solo acoustic)
Queen of California
Waiting on the World to Change
Half of My Heart
All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)
I only made it to the end of Irish rockers The Strypes on Day 2 of the fest, mainly because I was waiting at a different stage with some friends for AER, who showed up 30 minutes late. I bailed on them last minute and went on a solo journey to find two of my other friends over at The Strypes. That was the best decision I made the whole festival. Not only because I easily squeezed into the third or fourth row and caught the last part of a high energy, bluesy set that oozed the feeling of something between The Beatles and Johnny Cash, but also because I had the prime location for the show I had been waiting see the whole weekend (which was up next).
What the People Don’t See
I Don’t Want to Know
I Can Tell (Bo Diddley cover)
Still Gonna Drive You Home
Hard to Say No
What a Shame
Got Love if You Want It (Slim Harpo cover)
Blue Collar Jane
You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover (Bo Diddley cover)
AHHH! Most insane moments of the weekend: 1. Hip-hop lyric master and vocalist Tyler Joseph scaled the stage scaffolding during “Car Radio” in a black ski mask and sang the last verse from the top. 2. Josh Dun played drums on a makeshift board platform right above me while I and other audience members held him up. Need I go on? There was crowd surfing. There was head-banging. There was moshing. There was screaming. During “Holding On to You,” Joseph asked everyone to climb onto someone’s shoulders. Epic times and awkward situations? Yes, please. I can’t even put into words how incredible the Twenty-One Pilots show was. With a depth to their music that far surpasses any of their contemporaries, Twenty-One Pilots not only have an unmatchable message but an energy that amps up the hype of the crowd like nothing I’ve ever seen before. These artists lay it all out during their shows. This single performance was honestly the best concert I have ever been to, beating out Coldplay, Train, Fun. (some of my all-time favorite bands) and all the rest of the acts this weekend.
Guns for Hands
Ode to Sleep//Ukulele/Drum Solo Cover Medley:Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley)Bugatti (Ace Hood)All I Do is Win (DJ Khaled)Drunk in Love (Beyonce)
House of Gold
Holding on to You
The Run and Go
Fake You Out
Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey cover)
Car Radio (Tyler scaled the stage here)
Though we weren’t in the crowd for B.o.B., we took his performance as an opportunity to sit on the hill in the distance and watch sad, pathetic white girls come on stage and attempt to twerk/booty dance. I’m glad we were far away for this one, because that was a painful experience. There were a lot of throwback songs that got my hip-hop meets pop follicles tingling like “Nothin’ on You” and “Magic.” Of course “Airplanes” was the crowd favorite, although a certain red-headed girl from Paramore was missing from the stage.
Nothin’ on You
I’ll Be in the Sky
Lean on Me
Out of My Mind
F**k dat b**ch (Young Dro)
Both of Us
Memories Back Then
Swing My Way
F**k the Money
We still in this b**ch
Lana Del Rey
The goddess is real. I saw her in real life, and she was smoking cigarettes on stage. Between shaky puffs and sultry drags, Lana Del Rey smirked and ventured from Born to Die to Ultraviolence in that effervescent style that has defined her as an artist. Though some people can’t stand Lana’s music, I have been one to embrace it as the slow, strange, sensual collection that it is. Lana’s motions on stage conveyed her musical style — from wearing a red dress to highlight the lyrics in one of her songs to donning a flower crown while taking polaroids with audience members during long instrumental solos.
Born to Die
Money Power Glory
There was so much hype leading up to Eminem, and I was right in the middle of the crowd. We were literally squished together so tightly that some dude had to come out on stage and ask everyone to take a step back multiple times for “safety reasons.” It didn’t matter. It was f**king EMINEM. He didn’t just walk out on stage either. He had this whole video leading up to his appearance that just made the moment that much more profound. When he started rapping, everyone went insane. It was like a giant sea of people moving back and forth to the same crazy, empowering rhythm that was rushing through us all. The kid I was next to knew every lyric to every song, which made the experience that much better. “Lose Yourself” was the perfect song to end an insanely musically fulfilling weekend.
Won’t Back Down
Just Don’t Give a F**k
Still Don’t Give a F**k
The Way I Am
Fast Lane (Bad Meets Evil song w/ Royce da 5’9”)
Airplanes Part II (B.o.B. cover w/ B.o.B.)
Sing for the Moment
Like Toy Soldiers
Love the Way You Lie
‘Till I Collapse
May Name Is
The Real Slim Shady