Although most of the acts at The Meadows Music Festival were dominantly hip-hop artists, there were a handful of acts that continued to show the diversity of the lineup at the Queens-based festival.
GTA was one of the few representatives of the Electronic genre of day three, yet they did not hold back on throwing one of the best sets around. As with any performance from an electronic dance music set, there were well known songs sprinkled throughout that got people to sing along and dance. Unfortunately, for those with a syndrome of tapping toes, it was a daytime set meaning that it was incredibly hot to be jumping up and down. That didn’t stop many from enjoying themselves to their fullest. GTA played Calvin Harris’ hit “How Deep Is Your Love,” the trancelike pop song that was ubiquitous during the summer of 2015 brought back memories for many. Both girls and guys went crazy when it came on.
There were lots of singing and feel good moments throughout the dance party. GTA is great at talking and engaging with their crowd as well as dropping their signature bass sounds. However, the duo definitely had some range as they played Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem.” Also, despite being from Miami, the visuals on screen were very California based in imagery. They also announced a new collaboration between Yellow Claw and the DJ duo.
On the last day, the vibe felt a bit calmer than the other days while walking around. Perhaps it was the onset of exhaustion from the last two days of partying that caused everyone to want to relax, but it allowed an ease of navigating the festival to check out the installations. There was an area with Wacky Wavy Inflatable Arm Flailing men made famous from Family Guy where people could interact with them. The goal of the installation was lost upon inspection but it was a cool sight to see.
Over at the American Eagle stage, the brother sister duo from New Zealand, Broods serenaded their fans with their pop hits. The energy of their set was everything that was expected from artists in their earlier 20s. The 23-year old singer jumped and bounced around the stage to songs like “Heartlines” and “Bridges.” Many artists love to talk to their audiences as seen throughout the weekend. They either want to provide context to a song or just gauge the general excitement of the environment. In Georgia Nott’s case she talked about her song “Recovery” and said that it’s a sad song that’s masked behind a mellow pop beat.
She was arguably giving off more energy than the collective crowd. She also apologized about not being great at banter during live sets although she was definitely keeping the audience entertained. That was quickly glanced over as she began dancing across the stage to close out their set with “Couldn’t Believe.”
Up next on the schedule was Foster The People. They opened their set with “Pay the Man.” The Los Angeles band were welcome guests of New York as some felt compelled to yell out “I Love You!” to the long time band. The indie band then immediately when into “Helena Beat,” another well-known song of theirs. People had their hands up and shook their heads aggressively from left to right — the exact thing you’re supposed to do at a rock band.
Mark Foster eventually got too heated from the sun that he needed to take his shirt off. He was left with just a wife beater and who was to blame him with the amount of movement and energy he had given just 10 minutes into it. The next few songs played were “Call It What You Want” and “Lotus Eater.” Following that song, the band gave a special cover rendition of The Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop, a punk classic that made all the adults relive their childhood. After two more songs, the band finally played the song that put them on the map, “Pumped Up Kicks.” There was a controversy about that particular song due to the nature of its implied themes and content. Mark Foster insisted that the song means much more than running from a gun. They made the song to turn joy into a weapon. Then ended their night with “Loyal Like Sid and Nancy.”
As the sun was setting and the heat wasn’t pressing against festival-goers, the overall vibe of the venue began to pick up. The second and final wind of the weekend came back and they used it to party on the final day.
Although the last two acts were very indie or rock focused, the shift was made back to hip-hop as Ghost Face Killah of Wu-Tang Clan fame took the stage. His crowd drew a very strong mix of all ages. There were many Wu-Tang Clan hand signs a plenty for people to emulate. It involves touching the thumbs of your hands to one another and forming a bird-like symbol. Ghost Face Killah made references to Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, very big contributors to the music industry.
Continuing the theme of the weekend by having Queens based artists perform was Nas. The local always talks about his hometown during his career and how he represents Queens. He immediately began by performing “NY State of Mind,” to which the crowd who were also native cheered and felt a sense of pride. He performed other songs like “Halftime” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell.” He then took time to honor prodigy Mobb Deep who passed earlier this year. In honor of him, he performed “Shook Ones” a cover of Mobb Deep. He ended his performance with “Stay” off his 2013 album.
The final act of the night and headliner was the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers. As with headliners of The Meadows, they had an extended 90-minute set. They proved that as a rock band, they could still entertain the heck out of audiences. Many in the crowd were joyous at this rare opportunity to see the band who have such iconic songs. Similar to Gorillaz, they brought back much nostalgia. They played “Can’t Stop” and “Scar Tissue” before going into a cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges.
The band kept on trucking along and did not take any breaks until they played “Californication” an anthem that everyone loves. The crowd sung along as they had practiced for many years at karaoke bars or rooms. Immediately after that song, they did a cover of “What Is Soul?” by Funkadelic. The ended their set with “By The Way.”
However, as with most rock shows, none were fooled that it was the end. People stuck around because they knew an encore was coming. As expected, the band returned to play “Goodbye Angels” and “Give It Away.” With the final vocals finished, the Meadows Music Festival 2017 was complete.
It was a weekend of many guest appearances and hometown representations that made this festival one of the more unique ones held in New York. The venue itself was small but allowed the importance of these artists shine.