Last Night: Major Lazer at Free Press Summer Fest
More FPSF 2012 Coverage:
Photos by Groovehouse
• Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
• Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
• Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
• FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
• FPSF: The Bands from Sunday
Free Press Summer Fest, Eleanor Tinsley Park
June 2, 2012
On Friday afternoon I was talking to fellow Rocks Off-er Neph Basedow about what acts we were most looking forward to at Free Press Summer Fest. Mine was Major Lazer.
"Ohhhhh. I saw them at Fun Fun Fun Fest," she said. "It was the nastiest concert I'd ever seen."
Nasty? Now that really piqued my interest. Apparently the FFFFest show consisted of sometime hype man Skerrit Bwoy daggering female dancers, including daggering acrobatics such as Skerrit Bwoy climbing up a ladder or onto the group's speakers in order to jump off onto his waiting female accomplice. If none of that previous sentence makes sense to you, please watch the video for ML's "Pon de Floor," because that video is exactly the kind of scene I was hoping to see on Stage 1 Saturday.
As a producer, Diplo works with some of my favorite artists: M.I.A., La Roux, Santigold. He also has a knack for bringing lesser-known genres to the forefront of dance music, such as the Jamaican dancehall in "Pon de Floor." This is what initially drew me to ML's first (and so far only) album.
I guess I kind of screwed myself early in the day by making it a priority to see Big Freedia first. Because if I wanted nasty, I certainly got it there. [Stay tuned -- ed.] And like Diplo, Freedia is an artist championing a niche subgenre, sissy bounce, and championing it with such pride (more on Big Freedia in a bit). Later I stuck around Stage 3 to see Diplo as a solo act, and that was really fun. Just Diplo, DJing and chatting up the crowd.
But Major Lazer's gone through a lot of changes in the past year.
Switch, Diplo's partner, left to pursue other projects, and Skerrit Bwoy, who provided so much of the energy of their live shows, has turned to religion. And judging from yesterday's show, Diplo and his new partners seem to be moving away from the dancehall that made me love Guns Don't Kill People so much. Their set at FPSF had a much more poppy, rave-y tone to it, and frankly, after seeing Big Freedia and Diplo solo at Stage 3, it was kind of boring.
(Side note: Stage 3 was by far my favorite stage. It's set up like a geodesic dome, with red mesh panels covering some of the triangles. People crowd into the dome on three of the stage's four sides, and the shade it provides makes for a perfect, intimate festival-going experience.)