Photo Credit: Brett Padelford
TV on the Radio called Sunday’s crowd “elegant” and while they maybe were not truly elegant they were definitely passionate. The second day of Air + Style saw more rain, less clothes and even more enthusiastic performances.
Marian Hill, playing their first festival, set the bar high. The duo consisting of Samantha Gongol on vocals and Jeremy Lloyd on synth are reminiscent of Sylvan Esso with the vocal styling of Ariana Grande. They opened with the song “Down” and what started off as a slow jam Gongol revelaed her rich vocals as she sang over heavy synth-pop. Occasionally they would be joined by a saxophonist/bassist and when they covered Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” the marriage of 80s pop and electronica could not have been a better pairing.
Russ on the Summer Stage greeted the crowd and asked, “How many people know who the fuck I am?” The crowd roared in response. One guy in nothing but a yellow raincoat and harem pants danced vigorously from start to finish. The dancing increased and as he sang “Manifest” and “For the Stunt” leading up until the last song, the crowd was engaged with him the entire time.
The best shows of the night began with TV on the Radio and ended with Major Lazer. TV on the Radio played on the Winter Stage next to the slowly melting 16 story high snowboarding slope. When they took the stage it had begun to rain and lead singer Tunde Adebimpe proclaimed, “Let’s push the rain away!” By the end, the rain had subsided and the other worldly set they played finished. The energy and camaraderie of the band was apparent during the entire set. Adebimpe rushed from side to side of the stage and the rest of the band picked up that energy and translated it in their performances. When they sang “Wolf Like Me” each musician seemed completely engrossed by their own performance, but at the same time in tune with one another. The same energy occurred on “DLZ” and the last song they played “Staring at the Sun.”
YG played shortly after to an eager crowd. What DJ Vision called the “Fuck Donald Trump Tour” soon morphed into something so much greater and explicit. If someone was looking for a wholesome performance, this was not it. Throughout the set, he would say things like, “let’s turn this festival into a strip club” and “Fuck Donald Trump” where people would be simultaneously taking off all of their clothes while screaming “Fuck Donald Trump!” The songs “Left, Right” and the cover of Lil Jon’s “Get Low” were performances that prompted the most nudity, with bras and t-shirts flying throughout the crowd and half naked women being shown on the jumbotron. YG dropped the mic at 8:50 and DJ Vision played the last ten minutes while the crowd searched for the lost articles of clothing.
Zhu graced the stage next and emerged from under a thin layer of smoke and lots of strobe lights. This was one of the most passionate performances of the evening with listeners dancing and sliding around in the mud while Zhu praised Los Angeles as the “city where magic happens.” What made this set stand out from other DJs and musicians from the weekend was the originality of Zhu’s music. There is uneasiness to his music and despite its unsettling sound it continues to draw the listener in. He remixed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Daft Punk’s “Technologic” but his real skill shows when he plays his own songs. When he played “In the Morning” and “Faded” he’s not just mixing on a soundboard, one can see him really performing.
The final act for the evening was Major Lazer, the group made up of Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. The beach balls and glow sticks were ubiquitous and despite the rain, the crowd still danced harder than they had the whole day. The presentation was the best of the whole weekend with several dancers dressed all in white and all of Major Lazer wearing Dodgers jerseys. Canons shot out smoke and the pyrotechnics looked as if they would set the stage on fire. They remixed “Kenkraft 400” and covered songs from several genres ranging from house, reggae, pop and reggaeton. They played “Take Ü There” by Diplo’s supergroup Jack Ü and closed out the evening with “Lean On.”
While the first day of Air + Style saw lots of artists and musicians playing their own music, the second day had artists playing a nice mixture of original compositions and covers. The intensity, if it was a cover or not, from the performers lasted from start to finish and ended the festival on an unforgettable note.
TV on the Radio:
All Photos by Brett Padelford