Tropicalia came in full swing for its annual festival held in Long Beach, California. Day one started strong with several artists coming out to showcase their talents.
One of the coolest bands around right now, The Garden, played a 30-minute set filled with high energy and genuine love for music. As soon as the twin brothers Wyatt and Fletcher Shears came out, they captivated the whole crowd with their energy. They opened with “U Want The Scoop?” and had the crowd riled up from the very beginning. So riled up that someone threw something on stage much to Wyatt’s annoyance, and he immediately threw it back into the crowd with great force. They went into their next two songs and by the time they got around to playing “Clay,” the crowd took on another form and everyone began to jump up and down, and the first crowd surfers emerged. They played a couple more songs before they finished off with “:(“ and “All Smiles Over Here.” Wyatt jumped off stage for the last song and sang part of it right by the barricade, feeding off the crowd’s energy. The set only lasted 30 minutes, and the crowd definitely wanted more. Fletcher and Wyatt have incredible stage presence and really brought their A game.
Devendra Banhart was also a highlight of the night. He opened with “Für Hildegard von Bingen” and went on with performances of “Baby,” “Never Seen Such Good Things” and “Mi Negrita.” The crowd really loved his dance moves and fed off it, encouraging him to keep moving.
The largest crowd of the day so far went to Toro y Moi. He performed eight songs, including “Mirage,” “Freelance” and “Girl Like You.” He played a new song, which he introduced as “a brand new funky track” and finished his set with “Newbie,” after letting the crowd know he had “time for one more song” and asking what it should be. “This guy’s saying ‘Newbie,’ so ‘Newbie’ it is!” So Newbie” it was. And what a show it was.
Frankie Cosmos packed so much energy into their 30-minute set and killed it with performances of “Apathy,” “On the Lips,” “Sinister” and “Being Alive.” The lighting director was on point too; the set was washed in purple light and was a beautiful site. As they led into their fifth song, Frankie encouraged the crowd to “vote and bring a friend.” It was an endearing and sweet moment.
Mazzy Star also knocked it out of the park with their set. If you didn’t know this was their first U.S. performance in five years, you would’ve never guessed. The crowd was fully receptive and gracious. They played a nearly hour-long set that flowed perfectly. They opened with a fan favorite with a beautiful harmonica intro and continued on with performances that included “Ride It On,” “Blue Flower” and “Disappear.” One performance had an organ intro that made you feel like you were in church, and boy did they take us to church. Towards the end of the night, most of the crowd gravitated to sitting on the floor but were still fully receptive to the show, swaying along to Hope Sandoval’s angelic voice.
Kali Uchis played the most endearing set of the night. A sweet girl with a powerful voice, she really brought it. She started her set with “Dead To Me,” and went into “Never Be Yours.” An intense light show with bouncing reds accompanied her halfway through the show. Once she began playing “Flight 22,” Uchis realized she had ripped her pants and the whole crowd erupted into laughter while she laughed about it with us. “I’m not gonna waste your time and do an outfit change. I’m just not gonna turn around anymore. Don’t make fun of me! We all have Spongebob moments!” as everyone continued laughing. She performed a couple of Spanish songs which the crowd really loved as she was so proud of her Colombian roots. She closed off her set with performances of “Tyrant,” “Loner,” “Just a Stranger” and “Your Teeth In My Neck.”
Morrissey closed out the night with a big bang. He performed to a huge crowd and had everyone up on their feet dancing along. The audience was in the presence of a legend and the atmosphere really showed that. He performed about 15 songs, opening with a Smiths classic, “William, It Was Really Nothing” and continuing into his solo stuff “Alma Matters,” “I Wish You Lonely” and “Hairdresser On Fire.” He continued on with “Is It Really So Strange?” and “The Bullfighter Dies.” Towards the end of the show, the screen flashed big white letters that read “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WEREN’T AFRAID?” It was a nice touch to the song he went into. He was very gracious and kept thanking the crowd and saying how much he loved being here, which erupted the crowd into loud cheers. He finished off with performances of “If You Don’t Like Me, Don’t Look At Me,” “Everyday Is Like Sunday” and “Jack The Ripper.” It was a great show with amazing reception from the audience. Morrissey is meant to be performing and everyone was thankful to be in his presence.