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Day for Night Sunday review: Jesus Lizard, Justice, En Vogue, Godspeed, more

After Saturday’s messy close with Nine Inch Nails, Houston festival Day for Night finally caught a break with some incredible weather, good positive crowds, and next level performances in between art installation visits. Starting with some sunny pop from Aussie sensation Kimbra, the stage was set for the rest of the day: no ominous dark clouds, just a mild 60-degree day — perfect for a day spent walking around outdoors without fatigue. The gentle sounds of The Album Leaf’s post-rock gets credited with the assist of “easy and relaxing,” headlining the Green Stage in the lead-up slot to ’90s R&B favorites En Vogue.

It’s usually a fair amount of kitsch/nostalgia that goes with booking something like En Vogue, your token throwback artist on a Big Bang festival such as this. Yet the remaining three members of En Vogue have barely lost a step despite the departure of one of their founding members, and their soul-drenched set was wall to wall radio smash hits updated with a live band. If kitsch was intended, the actual affect was more of a schooling to the young artists. Surprisingly, one of the highlights of the weekend.

After watching a technically plagued Phantogram set, it was back to Green for Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The Canadian team sounds best in churches and other reverb-friendly spaces, but nevertheless, they conveyed all of the depth of emotion contained in their catalog — swelling and contracting with a bombast only met by the Jesus Lizard later on. GY!BE is a visceral live experience, and despite the outdoor handicap, the band transcended their surroundings to regain the reputation that they’ve come from.

Solange and The Jesus Lizard unfortunately overlapped, and since I saw Solange at two other festivals this year and The Jesus Lizard were on a rare reunion tour, I head to their set after 15 minutes of Solange.

From the moment that The Jesus Lizard hit the stage, it felt like war. David Yow grabbed the mic and proceeded to stage dive as the opening notes of “Puss” growled from the PA. From there, he spent the next three songs either airborne and snarling into someone’s face. The band has not played in 9+ years, but seemed as energetic as they were back then. Fun live gig, and possibly their last appearance of all time.

After the bombast and punk fury that was the Jesus Lizard, Justice’s light-show extravaganza was the ideal follow-up, combining throbbing sawtooth bass lines with all of the subtlety of a Michael Bay film. Justice is a very good band, and their live show is totally idiot-proof; the lighting combined with the rhythm is readymade for arenas and perfect for a festival setting.

The comedown is always the hardest part, but Corbin (fka Spooky Black) was an ideal performer to ease us back to reality after a Justice/Jesus Lizard double hit. Following Corbin on the Blue Stage was Tim Hecker and Thom Yorke, who perfectly capped off the evening with some amazing appearances.

Review of Saturday HERE. Stay tuned for pictures.

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