The Festival God(s?) blessed us with some great weather for Firefly this year and the party kicked off on Thursday afternoon. Featuring performances by Amillon the Poet, Everything Everything, Knox Fortune, Hippie Sabotage, and Chromeo, it was a great start off to the four day festival. Knox Fortune’s ethereal vibes were perfect as the sun set on the first day of action. After the sun went down and stars came up Hippie Sabotage took over the Lawn Stage for a wild and energetic set before Chromeo headlined over on the Backyard stage to close off the night. The electrofunk duo rocked away into the night to what promised to be a Firefly to remember.
Friday was on the hotter side but the weather was still excellent for the first full day of music. I caught a bit of Welshly Arms, the Cleveland rockers who opened up the main stage with dramatic fashion, rocking out and drawing a good crowd considering they were one of the first bands of the day. Flor, the Oregon indie-pop rockers were vibing on the Lawn Stage, keeping the crowd dancing and energetic. If you missed their set I would highly recommend listening to them or try to see one of their shows, they promise to be an upcoming band that could explode onto the indie scene. Next up on the Backyard Stage was Lights, the Canadian singer/songwriter whose bright red hair drew you in, and her lyrics kept you watching. Her lyrical positivity and enthusiasm was well received by the crowd as she finished up with her hit, “Up We Go.”
Jimmy Eat World rocked out on the main stage in a jam-packed set with those timeless guitar riffs and vocals. The rockers didn’t do much small talk and instead powered through as many songs as they could fit in their set. They closed their set with their hit, “Sweetness,” and probably the most iconic early 2000s alt-rock song ever, “The Middle.”
I caught some of the Philly electro-synth pop duo Marian Hill back on the Backyard Stage after. Their thumping bass beats and catchy synth melodies vibrated across the Woodlands and featured some silky smooth saxophone solos that were downright sexy. Back on the main stage was Foster the People making their second appearance at the Woodlands, who entertained the crowd with mostly older songs including, “Helena Beat,” “Pseudologia Fantastica,” and “Life on the Nickle.” After a message of spreading positivity and looking out for one another from frontman Mark Foster, the closed it out with “Sit Next To Me.”
An interesting conflict presented itself next, Cold War Kids vs. Logic. For those of you like me who have a wide variety of music taste, it was a struggle between the indie rockers and one of the most popular figures in hip-hop today. I ended up catching the first few songs from Cold War Kids, including, “All This Could Be Yours,” “Miracle Mile,” and “Hot Coals,” before switching over to see Logic take the stage.
Opening with the scene from Rick + Morty debating mixtape Logic vs. album Logic, he took the stage to a roaring crowd and burst into the opening lines of “44 More.” After the last bar he introduced himself and implored the crowd to be involved with the show as much as possible, whether it be jumping, putting your hands up, or just having a good time. He started spitting the first lines to “Everybody,” but stopped shortly after to call out some people in Super VIP who were looking at their phones. He restarted the song and with the crowd fully involved. I caught a few more songs before heading over to get a good spot for Arctic Monkeys, but I could still hear “1-800-273-8255,” even from a distance.
I have been waiting almost 8 years to see Arctic Monkeys live so needless to say I was pretty hyped. The lights dimmed and the band took the stage and started off with “Four out of Five,” the most popular song off their much anticipated LP6, Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. They charged through the setlist with seemingly no order to the sequence of songs, bouncing around from AM to Humbug and back to Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. They played a lot of older songs that the crowd loved like, “505,” “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” and “Brainstorm.”
There’s no denying they didn’t have the same flair as they did when they played the Woodlands in 2014. With a very distinct sound evolution from AM to Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, they didn’t quite have the rambunctious feel they used to. They played four songs off their new record: “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino,” “Four Out of Five,” “One Point Perspective,” and “Star Treatment.” These songs had an almost more mature sound, moving past the wailing guitars and transitioning to a more cool and collected tone. Nonetheless, it was a phenomenal set filled with songs and new and they still finished off with the heart thumping, “R U Mine,” leaving fans crowdsurfing until the final note.