The second day of the Adult Swim festival posed an interesting conundrum. With the inclusion of more popular acts like Vince Staples, Freddie Gibbs and 2Chainz, this clearly was aimed to be the more well attended day. This proved true, but the crowd, in general, was less predictable and tended not to hang around as long for each individual set. Still, the night ended up being a well attended thoroughly enjoyable display for all who attended.
clipping. played a decent mix of new and old songs. Their slot, while seeming a bit too early in the day, was clearly aimed to gather a crowd before most of the bigger acts hit the stage. Daveed Diggs did nearly all of the crowd engagement, but his charm quickly won over everyone, even those who may not have been clipping. fans prior to the show. Despite it being so early in the day the crowd was eager to participate in nearly every song. All of this made for one of the most entertaining shows of the night, and certainly the most sonically challenging and rewarding for those who could put up with the noise.
Cupcakke being an extremely acquired taste seemed to have no impact on her crowd size. Because of the festival set-up, there was typically only one musician on stage at any given time, which went a long way toward keeping crowd sizes large. Those that took the time to watch Cupcakke were treated to the same sexually explicit show and lyrics that helped propel her to such great popularity. The crowd ultimately grew to about the same size as clipping., with new attendees arriving through the front gates every second, eager to check out what was happening on stage.
Helado Negro amassed a decent crowd but the chilled out nature of their set welcomed people to roam about the area rather than gathering in front of the stage. This led to a middling crowd but one that was being exposed to new music entirely. Luckily for Helado Negro, their relaxing vibes served as a welcome palate cleanser between Cupcakke and Freddie Gibbs, who was destined to be one of the most popular performers of the evening.
As the crowd from Helado Negro shifted away to the next stage, it seemingly quadrupled in size, at one point we turned around and saw nothing but a sea of people stretching all the way back past the merchandise tent in the center of the arena. Freddie Gibbs walked out to the stage to the screaming crowd carrying his daughter – who seemed reluctant to let him go. Compared to most hip-hop sets, this was head and shoulders above, Madlib had a tendency to mix upbeats on the spot and randomly change whole portions of songs, which often led to Gibbs delivering verses from songs like “Thuggin” and “Harolds” a capella. Between each song, Gibbs had the crowd shout “Fuck Police” which was generally comical given the largely white makeup of the crowd, but that they did it was fun nonetheless. Throughout the night no musical performer would match the energy of Gibbs and Madlib, who cooly propelled the California crowd into the evening.
Rapsody and Tierra Whack’s sets performed a similar function to Helado Negro. While both artists are talented and made compelling cases for themselves onstage, Rapsody through her potent onstage energy, and Whack through her wild outfits, incredible musicianship and hilarious antics. Both artists never reached the same level of crowd size or engagement that Freddie Gibbs did. That aside, Whack in particular impressed, despite a long DJ intro and a somewhat early exit – the time that she did spend onstage held an impressive crowd, who was thoroughly engaged for the duration of the show. She even performed her skit with a talking potato, an adult swim staple.
2Chainz (following a lengthy DJ intro) surprised the audience by bringing out live musicians, something that many, us included, would not typically think of a 2Chainz set. He quickly got to the heart of the matter by playing hits like “No Lie” and “Birthday Song” on top of popular features that he had done with artists like Drake. While he was one of the less inspired artist choices for the lineup, he proved himself admirably, providing a hype atmosphere with a bit of a twist that helped to propel the set above its typical limitations. That he did all of this just moments before getting on a plane to go play in Las Vegas made it all the more impressive.
We won’t spend much time on the Eric Andre Show Live! But just know that it was phenomenally strange. Hannibal wore sequins and a skull mask, Eric threw a bunch of shit into the crowd, including milk and Seth Green appeared. Arin Hansen of Game Grumps made a quick appearance as the Bird Up guy. Rapper Ninja Warrior was played with Vic Mensa, people chugged ranch and one deeply unlucky audience member was chosen to come onstage and call his ex-girlfriend so that Eric Andre could talk to them. It was one of the strangest things one could ever possibly put in front of a festival crowd, and strangely enough it was easily the most well-attended event of the evening.
Vince Staples came in as a close second after Freddie Gibbs and Madlib in terms of crowd engagement and overall performance. He went all across his discography, including songs from his first EP and spent more time kicking off mosh pits than even Dethklok did. During his performance, he nailed all of his vocals and had the crowd practically eating out of the palm of his hand. The minor sound issues that had plagued some of the artists up until this set were nowhere to be found and all of his beats, even the extremely strange ones, felt crisp and potent as he flawlessly spit over them. His onstage visuals focused on the rollout of his new album, showing clips from the “Vince Staples Show” which really boiled down to clips of him inserted into other sitcoms, which added a bit of comedy to his intense set. As his set drew to a close a number of people began to head toward the exit, marking what would be the end of the massive crowds for the night.
Jaime XX got a bit of a raw deal closing out the show after Staples, but his long past solo album still clearly interested enough people that he was able to hold onto a decent crowd and was a very deserving headliner. His excellent turntable setup and crushing bass brought a ton of energy and ensured that the crowd stayed dancing until the close of the night. The best part of his set was that he used actual records to compose his set live, a rare and impressive treat. All of this was backed up by a disco ball and the best light show of the evening – even as crowd members left for their cars.
Now in its second year, it’s plain to see that Adult Swim is onto something here. By crafting a list of artists and performers that exist at the intersections of interest for an Adult Swim watcher, they have developed a potent identity for what could have easily been a blatant, unresearched cash grab. Lucky for us, it seems that Adult Swim cares about their audience and what they think (within reason) and has created a one of a kind experience just for them. If the leap from year two to year three is as big as the jump from year one, expect this to become one of the best, most relaxed festivals in the Los Angeles area.