This sunday marked the 20th incarnation of the Live 105 BFD Music Festival at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View CA. With two main festival stages alternating artists such as Cherub, Kongos, Ms Mr, and Walk the Moon, festival goers didn't have to move much to get blasted with hours of sun banked musical bliss. Additionally, BFD housed a DJ tent (because what is a music festival, without a tent full of half naked partiers bouncing to the latest EDM?), as well as a "Locals Only" stage, which most people probably missed out on because of all the already established awesomeness on the other stages.
If you managed to arrive early, you would have been lucky enough to catch Big Data with the addition to the group in the form of brunette. She had great energy although some of her "moves" were a bit robotic and rehearsed-looking, everything from fist-bumping to a coordinated freeze with Alan. Overall The band sounded amazing, with that bass thudding just as loudly as you'd hope from them!
Cherub came on immediately after Bleachers, and the immediately after they set foot on stage they were blowing the crowd away. Not only does the singer have a crazily unique, high pitched wail but they all had a fun, almost goofy style about them that makes you instantly want to be BFFs. When their single "Doses and Mimosas" finally came on, the entire crowd joined in singing. Nothing quite like getting to shout, at the top of your lungs, about "bitch-ass" haters to ridiculously poppy beats.
Having been around a year since I saw Ms Mr last, it is amazing how much they have grown as a band. They had great stage presence before but now they are rock stars. Vocalist Lizzy Plapinger came out with her sexy pink hair and blingy metallic bra with parachute pants, and the bad ass attitude you'd need to pull off a look like that. That woman is a powerhouse of a singer and is now a dancing machine to boot. They sounded album perfect as usual and played all the hits you would hope to hear.
Opening up the main stage was the Danish trio New Politics. Having just played mid day slots on the festival stages at last years Uproar Festival, it is refreshing to see them now on a bigger stage. Never one to shy away from stage acrobatics, frontman and resident tumbler David Boyd, immediately threw down the first of two back flips for the night. Pandering to a larger audience up in the "lawn" David proceeded to take his mic, and climbing abilities up the stairs to the railing of the "cheap seats". The combination of David's energetic stage performance, Louis pummeling the skins, and Søren's penchant for electric uke, made for a great opening band.
Next up was Phantogram and the lovely Sarah Barthal. Dressed down in a cut up "Kill" tank, paired with gold and black striped leggings, Sarah's edgy appearance was stark contrast to the angelic tones of her voice. Starting out with "Nothing but Trouble" in perfect album fashion, Phantogram then took a right turn out of the gate and broke it down into something truly unique. Bouncing back and forth between her keyboard and tambourine, Sarah surely stole the stage. Josh Carter even took over the vocals for some of the songs, and in any other band it would have sounded great but Sarah just kills it so hard that it put him to shame. If you missed Phantogram this weekend, they will be back to play an even longer set at this years First City Festival in August.
Fitz and The Tantrums put on a typically energetic show, and called out to the audience an awful lot. Dedicating "Out of My League" to the legions of fans that request their music on Live 105 each and every day, and requiring audience participation for "Tell Me What Ya Here For". The most interesting part of their set was the "Sweet Dreams" cover, but only because that is now the second "Sweet Dreams" cover I have heard live in less than 2 weeks.
After Fitz, there was a mass migration of festival goers into the Subsonic Dance tent. All of whom wanted to check out RAC, before cruising back to the seats for M.I.A. Many expecting a DJ and a turntable and what they got was a three person band that covered/remixed/improved all the freshest songs of the year and even several from bands that had performed that earlier that day. Even though we had to run back to the main stage for the last parts of M.I.A. it was worth checking out RAC live.
M.I.A definitely won the award for the best superfluous backup dancers. Bringing out fresh moves that would make the 80s and 90s proud, paired with hot neons and geometrical patterns. Most of the crowd didn't know what they were experiencing, but they knew they liked it. And when M.I.A. started up with "Paper Planes" (aka the song in the Pineapple Express trailer) the audience went nuts.
At the end of the night, radio darlings Foster The People, closed out the show. Armed with a colorful set of rocks that shot lights out from the bottom, singer Mark Foster, gradually pumped up the audience. Ringing in the night with favorites like "Miss You", "Coming of Age" and of course "Pumped up Kicks" Foster managed to do what I have never seen a band do before, forego the lame "encore break" that everyone does, and nobody believes anymore. Stating "Lets not do that thing. Lets just play some more music and we can all go home together" Bravo, Mark Foster, Bravo.
All in all, BFD was a raging success, and although there was literally too many artists to see, there was something for everyone, and it was virtually impossible for you to have any complaints, aside from when they run out of garlic fries!