7 Jun 2015: Randall's Island New York
In a continuation of Day 2’s array of various effective ways to perform the festival set, Day 3 had even more sets designed to keep the fickle festival goer’s mind from straying. The most successful types of sets were:
The “I Don’t Know This Song, But I Love It” Set:
Maybe it was their “average guys having a cool time playing music” presentation; maybe it was their rainbow scribbles visuals; maybe it’s just that they are a great live band. No matter the reason, Tame Impala’s afternoon set hit all the right spots. Considering the band played two new songs off a yet-to-be-released (and hotly anticipated) album, Currents, hitting those spots isn’t always easy. But Tame Impala’s songs are so free and easy and relentlessly catchy that new songs “Let It Happen” and “Eventually” already sounded like well-worn classics. And even if those hadn’t been well-received, their set had plenty of crowd pleasers, like “Mind Mischief” and “Elephant”, which repeatedly brought the house down.
The “Playing the Hits” Set:
Noel Gallagher’s set with his band, High Flying Birds, started out featuring plenty of songs from new release Chasing Yesterday. Then he started reaching into the cookie jar for Oasis classics like “Champagne Supernova”. It pleased the crowd—the barista at the Wandering Bear Coffee Company stand was basically crying during “Don’t Look Back In Anger”—but if you don’t like Oasis, you should have stayed far away. Still, Gallagher gets points for inserting the phrase “well adequate” into his banter.
The Amazing Visuals Set:
Flying Lotus, like Future Islands on Saturday, confined to the too-small Gotham Tent, had the best visuals of the festival, employing two screens, one in front and one in back, in a way that placed him in the middle of the psychedelic, trippy world of his projected animations. The enormous crowd was a bit too heavy to handle, but I’m sure they gave an appropriately hysterical response when he pulled out “Never Catch Me”, his Kendrick Lemar-guesting hit from 2014’s incredible You’re Dead!.
The Perfectly Structured Set:
Hot Chip started things off with “Huarache Lights”, from their current release Why Make Sense?, and just kept building from there, hitting the high notes of “Flutes”, “Over and Over”, “Ready For The Floor”, and “I Feel Better”. With so many synths on stage, the set shouldn’t have felt as warm and engaging as it did, but the good vibes resonated through the entire Big Apple Stage field. With the can’t-stop-won’t-stop dancing of Owen Clarke in full force and the jolly presence of Hawaiian shirt-clad percussionist Rob Smoughton, aka Grovesnor, there was never a dull moment visually, either. The set ended on the most crowd-pleasing note possible: a lovely, thrilling cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”, delivered by front man Alexis Taylor with heart to spare. It was a transcendent set where even the yuppies in the crowd were doing air splits.
The Taking Sound Gaffes In Stride Set:
Lana Del Ray took the stage to a reception worthy of a deity, but things instantly went downhill when it became apparent that there was no way to hear her if you hadn’t been camping out in the front row for hours (due to sound issues deliberate or otherwise). That didn’t sway devotees from making an early getaway for the festival ferry, which has to say something for Del Ray’s presence. Even if you couldn’t hear a word she sang, her woeful chanteuse persona was palpable even when viewed on one of the Honda Stage’s giant screens.
Review our Day 1 coverage here, our Day 2 coverage here, photos and a recap of Marina and the Diamonds GovBall set and aftershow here (pending) and our coverage of “Weird Al” on the last day, which was so awesome it merited a separate piece.
Marnie the Dog::
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds:
"PopMatters is looking for smart music writers. We're looking for talented writers with deep genre knowledge of music and its present and…READ the article