Sunday, September 28, 2014

REVIEW: Music Midtown Atlanta 2014: Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Jack White, Eminem and Drunk 15 Year Olds

Lana Del Rey: photo by Perry Julien 

Jack White: photo by David James Swanson

MUSIC MID-TOWN @ Piedmont Park Sept. 19th and 20th
Colorful Commentary by Alyssa Holland

I just moved to North Georgia from Southern California, and if Music Midtown was happening in LA I wouldn’t have gone to it. LA has FYF, numerous street festivals such as Echo Park Rising, Make Music Pasadena and tons more. Not to say that Atlanta doesn’t have the same variety, but I just don’t know about it yet. So in order to get my fix of live music I went to Music Midtown festival in Piedmont Park of midtown Atlanta. It included acts such as (the ones I watched) Mayer Hawthorne, Run DMC, Banks, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Jack White, Lana Del Rey, Gregg Allman, and Eminem.

The two day festival cost 125 dollars. For about 60 dollars a day, that’s a bargain considering I would have paid that much just to see Lorde or Jack White. The line-up didn’t include very many artists, but the incredibly long set times made up for that. They all played for at least an hour, and the headliners played for 2 hours. That’s CRAZY. Since Jack White’s newest project only includes his current release Lazaretto, he filled up that time by playing White Stripes and Raconteurs songs which was amazing. I basically got to see three of his acts in one set, and it was well worth all of the bullshit that comes along with attending any festival.

Said bullshit includes overpriced food and drinks, drunk people, annoying people, crazy people, crowds full of those people and all the nonsense that entails. Since the festival began at 4pm on Friday September 19th and 1pm on Saturday the 20th, I only found myself purchasing the expensive small portioned food once. I went for 6 dollar waffle fries and 3 dollar mint lemonade. I usually go for fries at a festival, because it’s a cheap option that will fill you up until you’re able to hit up a 24 hour fast food restaurant after the event. Next to the small Ferris wheel by the food area, people were playing games of cornhole; only in Georgia. The drinks ran from 9 to 32 dollar carafes of a beverage of your choosing. I got vodka lemonades the entire weekend, and enjoyed them only during my favorite acts to enhance the experience and to help myself become less annoyed at the drunk 15 year olds around me. Oh my god, so many drunk 15 year olds. I tend to help people who are crying, puking, injured, or all 3. I came across a puking ginger boy during Lana’s set. I told him to drink water slowly, eat something carby, and go to the First Aid tent just around the corner. He said he didn’t want to because he was 15 and was afraid of getting in trouble. 15. And all of his many friends with rich daddies who pay for their tickets and encourage them to go in big groups were 15 and drunk as well. This is a problem. Midtown doesn’t check bags, and they clearly should.

The festival had giant crowds at all 3 stages because of how cheap it was, the star studded line up, and the huge focus on a VIP experience. The VIP’s had the option of standing in a separate boxed off area in front of each stage, similar to a press pit. But for drunk old people. This was a problem, because it blocked the view for normal middle class people. Like, these VIP pits were unnecessarily huge. Not to mention the many VIP areas throughout the park that were always conveniently placed in inconvenient areas that blocked walkways and what not. I wasn’t ever able to squeeze my way to the front, but I was able to stand fairly close to the stages and hear some of my favorite bands. I must say, the sound systems were amazing and Midtown had top notch engineers. I enjoyed every act I watched, and I still find myself wishing Lorde’s set lasted forever.

Lorde: photo by Perry Julien

Here’s a quick run-down of what I experienced since I could write about these performances for a very long time.

Mayer Hawthorne: I appreciate the ode to Motown and Stax acts, but their songs sound way too similar to the actual songs that they’re homaging. It was fun to see, but they just didn't stand out that much.

Run DMC: Always have been amazing and always will be. That was awesome. Please play shows forever.

Banks: Beautiful music. I’d rather experience her performance in a small venue than a festival though because it is intimate, emotional and slowly paced.

Lorde: I almost cried during the entire set. Partly because the tall idiot in front of me kept hitting me with his elbow while he grinded on his girlfriend, and partly because Lorde is incomprehensibly talented. I truly wish that she played for two hours like the headliners did. She doesn’t have that much material but I wouldn’t mind hearing covers, the same songs over and over again, or just her talking or singing happy birthday to people. What ever, she’s the best.

Iggy Azalea: Her crowd was HUGE. The stage she played at was far away from the two other stages, on a giant hill, in the corner of the park, and blocked on one side by those pesky VIP pits I mentioned. I could only see her on the jumbotron, but she sounded really cool. I was bummed that I wasn’t close enough to geometrically figure out her butt.

Jack White: As I mentioned before, he played for the full 2 hours and included songs that spanned his entire career. He sounded on top of it the entire time, and I commend him for all of that.

LDR: Lana sounded hauntingly beautiful. I hated her at first because I thought she was nothing special, but she is. Her die hard fans can attest to that. I liked how she smoked on stage at a festival that didn’t even allow smoking period at a park that doesn’t allow smoking period. What a punk. She also took the time to sign autographs and take pictures during her set. What a sweetheart.

Gregg Allman: He played at the stupid stage a mile away on a hill in a corner, so the people who went to see him were all the older folks. And then me. He performed perfectly and he’s still as charming as ever. He’s really not as old as his hair and beard make him look, so the crisp voice that he carries is surprising.

Eminem: As far as I could hear, he didn’t play for the full 2 hours. Which is fucking stupid, considering that he definitely has enough material. He played for an hour, stopped for about 30 minutes and then he may or may not have played again after I left. But compared to Jack White who played songs from bands that he no longer is involved with in order to play for the 2 full hours, Eminem is kind of a dick. That being said, he did play some of his older songs and that was pretty cool.

Bastille played a recording of the Twin Peaks theme song, and that was the best part of their set.

Oh yeah, Zac Brown Band covered “Enter Sandman” by Metallica and that was badass. They should stop playing country music and play better stuff like that.

Alyssa Holland

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