Live 105 BFD Festival
June 6, 2015
It was a hot hot sunny day in Mountain View over at the Shoreline. Somehow we got there early enough that the lines werent too painful, yet still managed to take forever to get inside. Ive yet to figure out their security system (its insane!) and how possibly taking every single thing out of a woman’s purse is at all productive. Oh, its a pen, let me look at it. Oh here’s your unopened water bottle, so let me open it for you and throw away the cap. Ive heard of ridiculous things, but seriously, this was the worst.
Actually, that was not the worst. Whoever thought of this venue and setup needs to seriously re-think their day job. Having the dance tent on top of the other stages and all the music going on at the same time was awful. The bleed through was non-stop and between songs you could just hear the thumping of the dance tent. Some performers were getting upset about it (not much you can do), but it just was bad. Its also bad that the two “smaller” stages are next to each other – and while theyre not having performances at the same time (thankfully it alternates), it just means the crowd is insane in one small blocked off area and going in and out, let alone to the ‘other’ stage soon became a clusterphuck of magnificent proportions.
With that being said – lets go on. This was all about the music. Instead of discussing bands in order, I will start with my favorite shows. Of course, theres always panic at shows of not seeing who you want and at a certain point, I just gave up and didnt even care. But the hands down best set of the night belongs to a band that I don’t particularly like (nor hate) but by far they know how to put on a show. Panic! At The Disco killed it! The band by far was one of the biggest surprises of the night. Now I knew their show would probably be big and insane, but I really was not expecting their energy and the excitement for the band. It was hard to not be jumping around. Lead singer, Brendon Urie, is really charismatic and him and the band were jumping around the entire stage and it was contagious. Their light show added to the overall dance-y rock feeling. And to make it all the better, I think by far this was the band that most people were there to see. And everyone around me was out of their seats and singing and jumping along. Some kids were way serious about it too and insisted on taking video of the entire show and not even enjoying it.
Probably the most impressive part of their set was Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘. Its hard for most people even to be able to pull off some of those high notes, but Brendon has incredible vocal range and got it just perfect. The band also decided to give a 30-second clip of a hardcore metal show and really went off for a good 30 seconds with loud screeching guitars and headbanging music. After that, they closed it out with their single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies‘ and to say I barely recognized that would be an understatement. But it was impressive and the backflip in the middle of the song by Brendon was f’ing brilliant. The band was just insanely impressive and one very worth seeing again.
Of course, closers Modest Mouse put on one hell of a show. The band sounded so incredibly tight and have superior musicians. Isaac Brock, frontman and multi-talented instrumentalist, was in top form and sounded better than ever. Their song intros were quite long but when they would finally get into their song the pay-off was so worth it. It was pretty much a singles list from the band, but I couldnt have asked for a better set. They gave the crowd just what they wanted and even after performing single ‘Float On‘ and people expecting it as the last song, the band still continued on. And the song never sounded better, just filling the venue with everyone up and dancing.
And with all the many instruments, the band always manages to sound so tight. I love the varied instruments from trumpets to fiddles, banjos and the other instruments that appear. I just love the song ‘Ocean Breathes Salty‘ and on a nice cool night outside, it was almost perfect hearing it. The band were as awesome as always and I wouldnt have expected anything less.
One of my favorite bands played earlier on in the day – The Kooks. And man how I missed them. Sadly, the crowd mostly talked through their set and it was way too short but Ive always loved them and their energy. Luke Pritchard was as engaging as ever and tried to get the crowd going with sing alongs, but it didnt always work. He mentioned that he’d play an older song and it was quite sad how no one seemed to recognize “She Moves In Her Own Way“. I was just glad to hear earlier songs like ‘Ooh La’ and set-ender ‘Naive‘. While the band may not have sounded the best, they are always ones to watch for me. I never get tired of their music and its always a good time.
I was finally lucky enough to see Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men. The band who seems to play here all the time, sounded was great as I had expected them. Their set which seemed all dark and hazy due to their darkened lights totally fit the mood of the band. I didn’t realize how many band members were in the band and how many instruments were used. It seemed like a bunch of people on different drum sets, lots of different back-up vocalists and a range of brass instruments. In actuality, its probably just 7 of them, but their sound just filled the nighttime air and it was pretty beautiful. Somewhat moody and atmospheric they were quite the band. While I will always think theyre a somewhat lesser version of Stars, it still made for an engaging set. The harmonies are just beautiful and the back and forth interplay between the male and female always is just beautiful. Definitely a band I will need to see in a club at some point.
Atlas Genius sounded incredible and put on a really fun set. Sure, their music is all over the place and some of the songs got annoying, but on stage they were tight. Its a pity that their super dance-y guitar rock didn’t translate with the crowd (who were perhaps recouping from the major rays), because in any other place everyone would have been dancing. Their songs are all so very catchy and dance-y with lots of great catchy hooks and great harmonies. Songs like ‘If So‘ had people singing along and of course their first single ‘Trojans‘ had even more people singing along. This is one band who is made to play in clubs and I really need to catch them in that sort of environment.
Other bands included: WATERS – the very catchy indie-pop band from SF. I was standing with the guitarist and drummer (Marc Campbell and Etienne Bowler) of Misterwives during their set and he was super into it. Their show was just awesome fun (turns out theyre touring with Misterwives). Their songs were just pure catchy fun filled with catchy choruses. There was lots of crowd participation with sing-alongs and clapping along.
New York City’s Misterwives definitely did not let down. Im just so bummed that their next show here has been sold-out forever. They had one of the most awesome live performances of the day. The band was infectious fun with lots of solid dance performances happening on the stage as all the band members had their shots at showing off their dance moves. Their bassist just killed it and had all the moves. Lead singer, Mandy Lee, clearly took some cues from Gwen Stefani and was rocking the short shorts and half tops and really working the crowd. She had a moment too that was all about female-empowerment which was pretty awesome and rarely seen.
Their band has a definite No Doubt vibe with lots of ska infused songs complete with a brass section to really make the ska beats happening (think early No Doubt – not whats going on now). Their sax player was just genius and him and the trumpet player really add to the bands sound. It really made for a great set in which they had the crowd dancing to their very dance-y songs. It was just pure energy and it was great that the band and the crowd all could feel the same energy. Its a band that needs to be see again and will probably become huge at the rate theyre going.
Of course, Im a sucker for violinists – and Alan of Curious Quail killed it. Man could he rock out on the violin which was truly awesome. The band is from San Jose and is thankfully playing a small mini-tour on the west coast that should be awesome. Had a really great indie-rock/pop sound and had a really tight set with songs that were easy to get into and had you tapping along in no time. There were some great harmonies between the woman on bass and the lead singer. The singer had a really strong powerful voice. Was one of the best bands I saw on the local stage.
Andrew St. James was a pleasant surprise. I had crossed him off the list after not really getting into what I had heard, so it was just a fluke that I was exhausted and was looking for some grass and shade. He had with him a stand-up drummer and another guy. It was a pretty alt-folk act and he has a very Dylan-esque sound. He had such a great voice and it also helped that he was amusing as he yelled at the crowd for not applauding him on stage (bold move). He then commanded attention that was very well deserved.
K.Flay was someone that I just happened to catch in the dance tent. She is quite the talented rapper and has one hell of an awesome drummer. And with speaking of drummers – the drummer of 21 Pilots worked it and was insane. Along with a hanging mic the duo put on one hell of a set that was super high energy.
The Family Crest, another SF band, put on a really awesome set. They have so many different instruments including violin, cello, flute and piano. They were super tight with some great harmonies. A band very well worth seeing again!
Cold War Kids who I just want to like definitely put on a solid rock performance. But like always, I just find the band so boring and leave me wanting for more. Perhaps seeing them at a festival doesnt do them any justice, but its just one band that I could definitely be fine without seeing again.
Dangermaker from SF was one of the loudest bands I saw with heavy loud guitars and keys for good measure. The band just rocked out and had nice layers of guitars. And that lead singer could sure hit his high notes.