Firefly Music Festival 2012: The Killers, Lupe Fiasco, and Graffiti6
The inaugural Firefly Festival in Dover Delaware proved to be nothing short of amazing. It was everything I imagined a music festival to be. Kicking off on Friday July 20th, and continuing through Sunday night July 22nd, the festival included artists such as Cake, Modest Mouse, The Killers, Lupe Fiasco, and much more. Campgrounds were a few minutes from the site in the woods where the music took place, providing 3-day festival-goers a place to chill out in tents, toss back beers and flip burgers on the grill. I only caught the Saturday performance of the fest, but it was more than awesome to see band after band churning out stellar and crowd-pleasing performances.
Festival-goers included an eclectic group of very enthusiastic music-lovers, some of whom sported some patriotic face paint, hula hoops, and hippie-esque garlands. It was a pretty cool experience because we were all there for the same thing- our love of music. That created a nonverbal comradery amongst the thousands of people who attended Firefly. What better way to unite people than through music?
Polica is a band from Minneapolis, whose sound falls in the domain of electro/R&B with little hints of funk at times. They sounded pretty good in an outdoor venue- all instruments were coming through fairly clearly, and any synthesized accoutrements sounded very clear. The thumping bass supporting Channy Leaneagh’s streamy, smokey vocals was really gelling- they even got a few people in the 2:30 pm audience to dance.
The beer was flowing, the pot was wafting, and grey clouds blanketed the sky, with some light rain, but nothing too serious. The crowd seemed to be having a blast, especially with Cults and New York-based synth/house/hip-hop group The Knocks. The former, fronted by the very lovely Madeline Follin, played some of their most-loved tunes, including the ‘60s pop-sounding “You Know What I Mean”, and the plinky and very singalong-able “Go Outside”. A few people were being hoisted above the crowd, and a couple hippie-looking gals were swinging hula hoops around their hips.
Shortly after some techno-infused beats from The Knocks, London-based Graffiti6 took another stage, imparting their pristine harmonies unto the crowd. Front man Jamie Scott wore shades and an army cap, spouting his soulful falsetto and making girls swoon. They played tunes including “Foxes”, “Stay Under the Sun”, the title track from their newly released album, Colors, and of course, “Annie You Save Me”, which the five guys started by just singing in harmony. They also did a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”.
Cake, with the eccentric and speak-singing John McCrea at its center, sounded almost like their recordings when they performed, but perhaps a little better; they even had their synth keys and trumpet in the mix. “Frank Sinatra” from Fashion Nugget was a great way to start off the set. It was followed by “Sheep Go to Heaven”, with audience members pointedly singing the chorus, especially the “Go to hell” line. The band shared a couple songs from their new, self-released album, including “Mustache Man” and “Sick of You” (typical of McCrea’s cynicism). He encouraged some audience participation by dividing the crowd into two sections to sing two different background vocals. One section of the crowd was composed of “…the people who are losing themselves in the fortuitous freak-out of hostility”. They capped the set with their most famous “Never There” and “Short Skirt Long Jacket”.
The best way to describe Lupe’s performance was that it was off the f**kin’ hook. The dude can spit 16 like nobody’s business, and he had the audience going wild because of it. The songs were loud and bumping, with synth keyboards and a lot of percussion leading the way, providing musical backbone to Lupe’s fairly poignant and at times poetic lyrics. He played the well-appreciated “State Run Radio”, “Superstar” and “Kick Push”. The sun had recently set and the droves of people were busting moves under a newly dark sky, lit up by the brilliant lights on the stage.
The piece de resistance of Saturday’s festival was The Killers. They were amazing, outstanding, phenomenal, and then some. It was obvious that the whole crowd eagerly awaited their performance. People hung out right up in front of the stage for over an hour before the show started, just to get a good view. Some pre-show illuminated hula hoops were swinging, beach balls being tossed in the air- everything you would imagine to happen at a music festival. From the intricate and electric red and blue stage lights, to The Killer’s almost immaculate sound, to the fireworks shooting up over the stage toward the end of the performance- it was one of the most enchanting and entrancing shows I had seen from a major band.
They kicked off with “Somebody Told Me”, and continued with some new stuff, including “From Here On Out”. They were overall very percussion and energy-driven, and the crowd was eating it up. When they played “All These Things I’ve Done” toward the end of the set, the audience was providing some background singing by chanting the “I got soul but I’m not a soldier” line while the guitar player strummed one transitional chord.
Toward the end of the night confetti was showered from the stage over the crowd. From afar it resembled thousands of butterflies, or more appropriately, fireflies.
Cake – Sick of You