Summer Set Music Fest [Recap]

I had heard some mixed reviews of Summer Set’s first two years, from free margaritas in year one to damn near a police state in year two. Needless to say, free drinks are very tight and police peeking over your shoulder are oh so not. Well, there were no free drinks. And while the festival ticket itself was surprisingly affordable, we were charged for camping. And then we were charged for parking. And then there wasn’t anyone checking whether we actually paid for camping or not… And security wasn’t even checking wristbands to get in camping OR the festival! It seemed as though security was solely interested in checking bags and overly frisking girls who were already wearing next to nothing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the final day of the fest when ladies were being checked by ladies, and men by men – what a concept. It took 5 hours to drive through the initial security checkpoint, before arriving to a campsite with no workers/volunteers/anyone directing people where to go.  I stopped asking people questions after being on site for a couple hours because nobody had any answers. Not even the people sitting at an “Information” booth knew anything about shuttles to campsites, whether there was a media tent, or when the festival gates would open. It was the most frustrating first day of any festival I’ve ever been to. But then there was music. Good, sweet music.

Schoolboy Q lit it up before Wu – arms flailing during “Hands On The Wheel” and bucket hat boppin’ for most of Oxymoron.  And Chi town was well represented at Summer Set, clear when ProbCause set fire to the intimate saloon with a high energy thats not easy to pull off early on in the day – salute. Danny Brown didn’t get any head but was weirdly entertaining, as usual. Aside from hip hop, Manic Science, Russ Liquid, Chromeo, Cherub, Claude VonStroke, and Bassnectar all blew me away. And as far as misses go, we missed Chance. Everyone did. Chance’s Acid Rap was playing in campsites so often it almost felt like the whole fest was pre gaming for a Chance show. Tyler The Creator was put in his spot last minute, and frankly the festival may have been better off had he also not shown up. He spent more time heckling people than rapping. Luckily FlyLo followed Tyler, bringing a much needed boost of… uhh…  music to the Main Stage.

After getting past the bullshit, it became clear that Summer Set has the potential to be a destination festival. The site is golden. With a lazy river just a stones throw from the festival grounds, you can walk or take a shuttle to Apple River where you can spend the morning or afternoon just floatin.’ On site, there were four areas to catch music (the Main Stage, Saloon, Big Top, and Grove Stage) with campgrounds surrounding almost all of them (as opposed to other festivals where there is generally only one entrance, by my count there were at least three at Summer Set). This is an ideal situation in that there was rarely a line to get into the fest, and most campsites ended up being “good spots” (so lining up to get into the campgrounds the morning of isn’t necessary). I hope Summer Set continues to grow, with more music, vendors, and fans next year. With more art, vendors, and better organization and execution, Summer Set may just become the best way to end the festival season in years to come. For now, we look to North Coast.

Childish Gambino calls out Drake, Kendrick, & Schoolboy

I write the headline loosely because he’s not personally attacking them. But he definitely name-drops them in his “Control” moment in a new freestyle from Sydney this weekend.

I’m the best rapper, definitely Top 5. If these other rappers think they are, they’re fucking not alive. I cut their head off, that’s every rapper living. That’s Kendrick, that’s Drake, that’s ScHoolboy, that’s everyone. I don’t give a fuck. I’ll fucking kill you n******. I’ll fucking kill you n******.

I doubt any of these guys take it to heart. Happy to see this will just bring more of the best out of everyone though. Gambino concluded with:

This n***a think he Drake.’ Nah, I ain’t Drake. I sing better, I do better, my s**t’s wetter.

ICYMI: Some HQ live footage of Childish Gambino “3005” @ Splendour in the Grass

Pitchfork Music Festival Day Three 7.20.14

With the festival closing its doors for Summer 2014, the last day was exactly what it was hyped to be. With top hip hop acts like Isaiah Rashad, Earl Sweatshirt, Schoolboy Q, and Kendrick Lamar sandwiched into one, anyone and everyone came through to bid this festival farewell for another year. Special thanks to Pitchfork for having us this year!

Day 1 Recap f/ SZA | Day 2 Recap f/ Pusha T & Danny Brown

Isaiah Rashad:

Recently signed with Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), Isaiah Rashad leads the Blue Stage with his rapid-fire raps and jazzy beats. SZA makes an appearance (hinted on Friday during her set) and shares the first song with her TDE brother. Shout out to SZA for saying what’s up though! Though Isaiah Rashad definitely went hard in his performance, he stumbled with the smoothness of his verses. At some points he was spitting verses so fast that his words clashed with the mellowness of his songs and the random air horn noises (for real did y’all hear that?)

Backstage w/ Isaiah Rashad
Backstage w/ Isaiah Rashad

Earl Sweatshirt:

Speaking directly to the crowd, Earl starts a sing-a-long during the first half of his set. Breaking it down to its simplest form, dude plays music teacher and lets us know, “this song is so easy, all you dumbasses can get it”. As we sung along with Earl about “fucking freckled bitches” in typical hype concert mode someone had to be extra and disrupt the flow. Literally. Seen from the middle of the stage, water was sprayed directly onto Earl as he continues the second half of his set. Typical Earl though, calls this dude out and keeps it moving. Between songs, Earl muses in and out onto sideline dialog about not growing up with a father and the people he has met along the way. Either way, his musings and quality of music kept everyone listening. Also shout out to Isaiah Rashad for the photo (excuse my excited cat face)!

Schoolboy Q:

Yo did Schoolboy Q bring his whole damn family on stage? What seemed like family reunion on the stage, his crew and Schoolboy Q hypes up the crowd by making his set an all-out bounce blow out. Even for those who can’t bounce (and y’all know who you are) got it moving as he commanded the crowd to well…get up and dance. Playing verses from some of his more popular features like Work, the bounce was so real throughout his entire set. So real that my feet went from my usual shade of yellow Asian Mami to Doo doo ass brown. My bad for whoever had to see my disgraced feet but whatever though…at least I got down to Collard Greens.

Kendrick Lamar:

Delayed for about 20 minutes, the stage was packed to the brim for Mr. Lamar himself. This was expected though as Kendrick was the talk of the show since day one. Using some of the same dope visuals from the Yeezus tour, Kendrick Lamar played crowd favorites from his 2012 album, “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City”. Playing his songs in full, Kendrick just shuts it down from the live band to his strong lyricism. From mAAd City to my personal favorite track Compton, Kendrick raps over the heavy sounds of his band and even dives back to his roots, shooting a tune from “Section.80″. Kendrick has definitely come far from the smaller stage of Pitchfork a few years back to now headlining and shutting down the festival. Props to you Kendrick, so excited for this album.

kendrick-lamar-pitchfork
Kendrick Lamar shuts down Pitchfork 2014

Ab-Soul f/ Schoolboy Q “Hunnid Stax”

I should preface this by saying “Hunnid Stax” isn’t one of my faves from TDE here, but for anyone lookin’ for that party song, they bring out the red cups, the ladies, and of course the hunnid dolla bills for the video to this These Days cut above.