The first day of our favorite festival is already over—and whoa what a day it was! The crowds are already beginning to show up, there seems to seriously be way more fans in attendance this year. We are not sure yet since it’s just the first day and could be due to the scheduled appearance of Run-DMC.
We didn’t quite stick exactly to our pre-planned schedule. Then again, it’s a festival and who cares?! We also lucked out and set up some interviews as well. Highlights of the day included Tomahawk, Icona Pop, Minus The Bear, Astronautalis, and Santigold. Sad to say it, but we missed Yellow Ostrich, FIDLAR, Cursive, Municipal Waste, and only witnessed one song from Dum Dum Girls (who sounded great as always) while walking by on the way to catch another.
The very first performance we watched was Swedish indie electropop act Icona Pop. Wisely building on the momentum started from CMJ Music Marathon in New York last month, the duo were an amazingly hellacious start to our day. We were able to experience nearly their entire exceptional set. You may know their most popular song, “I Love It”, which is a collab with another FFF7 artist, Charli XCX. Icona Pop proved to be both one of the best, and most popular, blue stage shows all day. I was both surprised and impressed with the sizable gathering who showed up so early for this.
We took a quick break to interview some artists that performed both earlier and later that day, like Yellow Ostrich, FIDLAR, and Diamond Rings. We have been following Toronto artist Diamond Rings (aka John O) for over a year now. On the verge of breaking out of Canada and becoming an international star, he just made his national television debut on David Letterman, and also has an upcoming Jay Leno appearance scheduled. Mark got to chat with John about the new record, his music videos, stage appearance, and Lady Gaga comparisons. You can listen to it here. We actually just saw Diamond Rings live just a few weeks ago in Dallas, with California Wives, and as the opening tour support for another popular Canadian group, Stars. Personally, I was skeptical how his live performance would go over, as it was outside during the day. Safe to say I was wrong! The band removed any and all doubts we had.
Next up for us was Sharon Van Etten. One of the most buzzed about up and coming new artists at SXSW in Austin earlier this year, we wanted to see for ourselves if her talent and live show could live up to the hype. Currently on tour with Yellow Ostrich as the opening support, the singer/songwriter was most definitely worth our time and attention. Not sure why, but before seeing her perform I wasn’t expecting her to have a live backing band. This only added to her already outstanding excellence, a fact not lost on this audience.
Originally we were wanting to head over and check out the hard rockers Municipal Waste, but it just didn’t work out logistically. Regrettably for us, Omar Rodriguez Lopez and crew had transportation issues and couldn’t make his slotted time. Instead we caught New York’s Penguin Prison, who performed a DJ set instead of having his usual band setup. I was again surprised by the large size gathering, who wouldn’t stop dancing as he kept playing throughout the set. This was another artist whose act I was skeptical of since it was scheduled outside during the day, and once again I was very, very wrong. Changing plans last minute like this is a great example of how diverse this fest is.This was only half of our first day, you can read part one here, and we will have the other half of day one in part three.