With most students already having to go back to school in mid-September, it can only mean the end of summer is nearing for the rest of us. And for those living in the Sacramento area means enjoying one last summer celebration of the year.
Coincidently, TBD Festival lands on the final summer weekend (September 18-20, 2015) and everyone who can make it out to West Sacramento’s Bridge District near Raley Field can partake.
Even with a shortened opening day (3:00PM today, 12:00PM rest of weekend), Friday’s lineup was still jam-packed with many artists. Unfortunately for whatever reason, many festivalgoers were delayed in arriving on time which meant first act I saw, Sacramento-bred and current Las Vegas-based rapper RASAR began to directly perform to me and one other person who also happened to be covering the event. Joe Kye (Joseph in the Well) joined him on stage with his violin for “Happy Song.” RASAR kept in good spirits as people trickled to the front of the stage, which ended in a defiant tone as he kept performing two songs well past the scheduled end time (also started late which was beyond his control) although the finale “Life of the Party” can’t be considered too downer of a note to end on.
The Anthony Ferraro-led band Astronauts, etc. was especially celebratory with the release of its debut album Mind out Wandering today though you probably couldn’t tell if there as any extra zazz in the downtempo electro-soul sound. You almost forget where you are listening to songs like “Shake it Loose” or “Up for Grabs” that you’re bummed when they end because there’s still daylight, your clothes are still on, and you are nowhere near an appropriate place to get it on with a special someone. Just save those thoughts for later.
I missed seeing Cathedrals during SXSW earlier this year so I made sure to catch them this time around. I wasn’t disappointed as the San Francisco-based electro duo rocked it at probably the hottest time of the day and sweated like everyone else. Weaving their set with “Harlem” and “In the Dark” and “OOO AAA” made for a consistent body-moving vibe especially with singer Brodie Jenkins’ sensual, yet chill frolicking on stage.
After performing his own set, Ferraro rejoined Toro y Moi (real name: Chaz Bundick) as the keyboardist. I saw Toro y Moi many years ago at Outside Lands Festival when his music was one of the focal points of the chillwave scene, but his recent works have deviated and pivoted into different directions. Performing many songs from his recent album What For? Toro y Moi’s sound has a decidedly more 70s feel with many periods of more jam and less vocals, which was a bit of relief from the many electronic acts scheduled for the day.
Of all the musical acts I saw today, Edmonton, Alberta-duo Purity Ring had the most aesthetically-pleasing stage with numerous water drop lighting hanging from the top of the stage and Corin Roddick’s custom-built rig to control both the lighting and sound of the show. Lead vocalist Megan James shined on the duo’s big hits like “Fineshrine” and “Obedear” while the light effects provided matching ethereal atmosphere.
And on the other side of the musical spectrum, experimental hip hop group Death Grips performed a set that I can only describe as something else. MC Ride provided an energy that got the crowd rowdy and security working overtime to try to control the numerous crowdsurfers. At one point, I was near the subwoofer and I thought I crapped myself because it felt like the amount of bass took control of my bowels; fortunately, I didn’t evacuate myself but I made sure to quickly get some distance from the sound system as I struggled to decipher a single lyric.
Los Angeles-born RL Grime received practically nonstop cheer from the massive crowd at the TBD Stage, as he (real name: Henry Steinway) pumped them up with some catchy and body-rocking mixes and beats. “Scylla (VIP)” was a favorite, as well as samples from Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)” and Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s “Lean On (feat. MØ).”
The Glitch Mob closed out the night with an energetic performance that rivalled Death Grips. The electronic trio started off with a bang by performing their big hit “Drive It Like You Stole It” right off the bat. With the longest scheduled set time of the day, Glitch Mob wasted no time between songs, continually making the beats flow which included a remix of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” to much enthusiasm because that original riff is so iconic now.
Even though the festival grounds aren’t that big, walking around in sand on some sections made for a tiring day during a cloudless hot day. Hopefully I can recover with some electrolytes for the rest of the weekend.
NOTE: Previously published on Blogcritics.