Live Review: Atlanta’s Music Midtown, 9/20-21/13
Since its recent resurrection, Atlanta’s music festival, Music Midtown, has enjoyed rabid success. After last year’s day two sell-out, day two this year followed suit. This, despite a day-long rainstorm failed to quash any idea of cancellation. While some may argue that this year’s collection of artists did not surpass last year’s (Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam), it was a hit, nonetheless.
Friday’s line-up included North Mississippi Allstars, Drivin N Cryin, 2 Chainz, The Mowgli’s, Phoenix, Jane’s Addiction, Cake and Journey. Saturday included Mona, The Neighbourhood, Reinwolf, Capital Cities, Weezer, The Black Lips, ZZ Ward, Arctic Monkeys, Tegan and Sara, Imagine Dragons, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kendrick Lamar, Queens of the Stone Age, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
All the acts had their following (bravely tolerating the rain on Saturday) as well as several thousand potential new fans. Lines for food, beer and port-a-potties were long, but not unsightly (better than last year). The merchandise tent – holding hundreds of items – seemed a highly profitable venture (even the Music Midtown shirts were selling like mad).
Phoenix, all the way from Paris, showed why they have become a tremendous live band with a huge fan base just over the course of a few years (2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was the big breakout). Phoenix are currently supporting their latest release Bankrupt!, which has spawned the fresh new single “Entertainment.” This band seems to have a future.
I what can only be called a lack of foresight, two excellent, nineties era, alternative rock bands were scheduled at the same time. That’s right, Cake and Jane’s Addiction played simultaneously, causing fans of both to painfully choose one over the other or scamper back and forth to at least experience a bit of each. Fail.
Friday headliners Journey had no competition as fans heard the opening chords of “Separate Ways” kick off a compendium of seventies and eighties hits (Journey, while fine performers, did not seem to fit the overall package of indie rock and alt-rock bands making up the majority of Music Midtown acts).
Saturday brought a deluge of rain to Atlanta and a mess of Music Midtown. The fans, however, were oblivious as several acts fought through the weather. Weezer pleased the gods as well as the fans with a superior set of tunes that made it seem like a sunny day. Atlanta’s Black Lips rocked it hard and sounded good.
England’s Arctic Monkeys thrilled fans with selections from their brand new album AM. Also, the band performed songs from their first three albums, including “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” from their excellent 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.
Imagine Dragons, Queens of the Stone Age, Tegan and Sara and Saturday headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers rounded out the night. Saturday was a sellout and Atlantans look forward to 2014’s lineup.