Published by liz
285 East was shut down due to a shooting and ten crashes occurred that evening. I patted myself on the back for deciding to take MARTA from my Midtown office to Piedmont Park Friday afternoon. As I walked from the train, I saw a man selling bubble guns. Should I buy one? Ultimately the decision was no but it did remind me to head to the dollar store before my next camping adventure.
The first sounds I heard upon reaching Piedmont Park were Tove Lo’s “Stay High” and the eager crowd singing along. I grabbed a beer and pulled out my ID for the first of fifteen times. My original thought to bitch quickly disappeared when I realized doing this helps cut back on underage drinking and trash from extra wristbands. Kudos to you Live Nation.
Hozier captivated the audience with his messy man bun and soothing good looks. A beautiful cover of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” had the crowd immersed in their first sing-along of the weekend. “Work Song” did work on our souls and then he ended the show with the radio hit “Take Me to Church”.
My crew and I decided to listen to a bit of Alice in Chains while we scarfed down our pizza before we headed up the dreaded hill to the Belk Stage for Elton John. Sir Elton was magical as always. His black glittery coat sparkled all the way to the porta potties. The crowd was SILENT during “Tiny Dancer.” We all had chills during that transcending moment.
Drake came out strong with some of the best stage production I have ever seen. Dead trees in a forest with snow falling on their branches illuminated the back of the stage in a 360 degree motion. A magnificent owl head showed up in between shots of the trees and looked directly into everyone’s eyes. It was absolutely spectacular. The crowd was feeling the entire set even though Drake did take a brief intermission while his DJ kept us entertained. All was forgiven when the fireworks at the end of the show illuminated the sky and Music Midtown was left in awe.
On our walk out of the park we came across Chris Harris, a bucket drummer who participated in the festival during 2013 and 2015. Stragglers making their way to the exit were amazed by his unique skills. Once we exited, my crew and I opted to walk the Beltline away from the park in hopes to catch an Uber further down the trail. The newly installed art illuminated the way and made it an altogether pleasant journey back to Little 5 Points.
Six Feet Under in Grant Park is where we started Saturday afternoon with bloody marys and a plethora of fried food. After the crew fueled up we arrived at the festival around 2pm and caught the end of X Ambassadors. The show was nothing special but I’ll admit it was fun singing along to “Renegades.”
We made the trek back up the hill for New Politics. Lead singer, David Boyd, ran across the stage while we admired his boyish charm. The band delivered quite an energetic show. Boyd made a shout-out to Billy Idol who was playing on the same stage later that evening.
The Airborne Toxic Event gave a lackluster performance. Yet they redeemed themselves at the end of the show when Mikel Jollett said something to the effect of, “There are a million and a half people locked up in jail right now for minor drug offenses and we think that’s bullshit, how about you?”
Winning on so many levels.
Hall & Oates opened up with a fan favorite, “Maneater,” but soon lost the crowd due to sound issues, an ongoing problem both days if the festival. The end of their set was beautiful yet better heard from up on the hill where we could all be “Rich Girls”. About thirty minutes afterwards, we heard Icona Pop’s impressive cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” which drifted through the park and somehow at that moment all was right in the world.
Run the Jewels had everyone and their mama dancing (yup, even mine!). Atlanta native, Killer Mike, and his musical counterpart El-P brought Big Boi, TI and (my favorite) female rapper , Gangsta Boo, to the stage. No doubt, RTJ was the highlight for Saturday daytime performances.
We were not ready. Repeat; we were NOT ready. Lenny Kravtiz and his band are true rock stars. Watching the show made me feel like I crawled into a time machine and was transported back to the real days of rock and roll. Drummer, Cindy Blackman, was spot-on and delivered a hair-raising performance. We were super thankful for Lenny’s outfit choice, a see through shirt with shells that hung from the top. If you ever get a chance to see him play, don’t think about it, just go.
After Lenny Kravitz I ended up at Sam Smith which left me with mixed feelings; depression, longing for my teenage angst and the need to sing along with every heartfelt word. Sam expressed to the crowd how his songs no longer made him feel sad but dedicated his performance to those who did have emotion attached to his lyrics. The middle schoolers of Atlanta were in heaven. A group of them even coordinated the “now watch me whip, watch me nene” dance to Smith’s new track with Disclosure, “Omen.”
Honorable mention shout-outs:
- To the kid ghosting me by the breathtaking still art statue. You’re hilarious and funny, never change.
- To the bathroom attendants, thank you for all you do. The lines were short and the bathrooms were clean.
- To the artist market and Oxygen Bar, lots of gifts were purchased and oxygen was inhaled.
- To King of Pops for coming through with the Banana Pudding flavored pops at the Belk Stage. You guys must really love me.
About the Author
Liz Turcotte is a music junkie and an Atlanta native who got her start in entertainment media with RSVPAtl in college. She enjoys blogging, traveling, cooking and spending time with her dog.