Sweetlife Festival 2016 pics (Grimes, Blondie, DIIV, Mac DeMarco, Shamir, Flume, 1975, EODM & more)
photos by Mimi Hong, words by Tatiana Tenreyro
Saturday’s seventh annual festival, which once again took over Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, will be remembered for its weather just as much as the music. As Long Beach, Calif., rapper Vince Staples performed songs from his “Summertime ‘06” album at around 3 p.m., the rain came -- and only grew stronger over two hours. The crowd of mostly teenagers and college aged-students scrambled to throw ponchos over their summertime outfits (wishful thinking, no doubt). [Baltimore Sun]
Sweetlife returned for its seventh year at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday (5/14). DIIV kicked things off on the Main stage, followed by Thundercat on the Treehouse stage. Despite playing an early set, Thundercat drew in one of the largest early crowds, making them dance with an impressive set of funky tunes. He played mostly off last year’s The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam, with a couple off 2013’s Apocalypse.
Over at the Main stage, Mac DeMarco, who already had a group of teenagers waiting around to take pictures with him before the DIIV set, drew in another large early crowd. He mixed the set with some Salad Days and Another One fan favorites like "Let Her Go" and "The Way You Love Her" that brought summer-y vibes to the rainy day. Mac kept jokingly telling the crowd to "stick around for Twisted Sister" (he meant Eagles of Death Metal).
Vince Staples, who was one of the two rappers in the lineup, played the Treehouse stage around the same time to a crowd that wouldn't be deterred by the rain.
Eagles of Death Metal took over the Main stage, with frontman Jesse Hughes sporting a Grimes shirt (who he then proclaimed his love for) and livening things up by starting off with "I Only Want You." Their high energy set included their version Duran Duran's "Save a Prayer", featured on last year's LP Zipper Down, which he dedicated to his niece, who he proudly announced had beaten cancer and was watching their set.
Meanwhile, Shamir had a dance party going on at the Treehouse stage despite the rain.
Blondie started off their hour-long Main stage set with with "One Way Or Another" followed a set full of hits such as "Heart of Glass" and "Call Me". Debbie Harry reminded the crowd that they're in the process of recording their new album and played a new song from it, sounding just as good as her classics. They covered Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)", as they have before. EODM's Jesse, who changed into a Blondie t-shirt, could be seen rocking out to her set.
Grimes followed Blondie on the Main stage, my personal favorite of the fest. Her set kicked off with a dancer dressed in a Matrix-esque getup as Grimes began singing "REALiTi" from offstage. She mostly played songs from last year's Art Angels, but also had some older tracks in the set like "Genesis" and "Oblivion." While introducing songs that were collaborations with other artists, like "Venus Fly" featuring Janelle Monáe, she apologized that she'd be playing them alone, but it didn't matter; they were so good that you forgot. She mentioned that "Go" is her favorite song to play because it's the "most controversial." Mac DeMarco could be seen crowdsurfing near the end of her set.
Flume's set coincided with Grimes', as he took over the Treehouse stage. I was able to catch about five minutes, enough to see that he’s very popular.
The 1975 were the last on the Main stage and had the most diverse crowd of the fest, with people of all ages going crazy as soon as they stepped onstage. While they may not be everybody's thing, after seeing them live it's easy to see why they're attracting so much attention lately. Frontman Matt Healy emulates INXS' late Michael Hutchence and Duran Duran, bringing '80s pop rock to a new generation and a nostalgic sound to those who grew up with it. Their stage setup was also the most intricate, featuring visually appealing 3D graphics.
Check out a ton more pictures from the fest, below...
Eagles of Death Metal