Free Press Summer Festival – Day 1 Recap

Photos and stories by Hannah Shulman, Multimedia Editor

Walker Lukens & The Side Arms

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Walker Lukens delivered a solid start to the weekend at Free Press Summer Fest. His four piece band riled up the sparse (granted, Lukens and co started as soon as festival doors opened and the weather here has been very short of spectacular) crowd. Solid vocals accompanied by folk rhythms were easily digestible but not awe-inspiring.

Sir the Baptist

I didn’t think I’d be going to church when I signed up to cover FPSF. Whatever your beliefs are, Sir the Baptist was sure to turn you into one of his “Chuch People,” opening up his energetic and memorable set with “Raise Hell.” Between the confetti, the tuba, and the trampoline there were plenty of places to look and immerse yourself in the service. I caught up with Sir after his set; you can find the interview here.

The Heavy

Formed in 2007, The Heavy have several hits like “How Do You Like Me Now?” and “Short Change Hero” under their belts. Thier seniority showed during their set, with lead singer Kelvin Swaby keeping a calm yet energetic energy going between songs. The band as a whole was collected and kept the crowd enthused and on their feet.

Lewis Del Mar

Playing in front of not only their first festival crowd, but on their largest stage yet, Lewis Del Mar delivered something palpable. Even on songs that have not been released yet, the crowd was jumping and dancing right alongside lead singer Danny Miller. Opting in for an additional three members, the duo’s sound was full and bright, with Miller’s acoustic guitar accented by sharp beats from drummer and the other half of the duo, Max Hardwood.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls were the first band whose audience knew every single lyric of his (their?) songs. This was his 1,901st show, so the set was well-rehearsed, but not tired. Their music is catchy and by employing some call and response, the already infatuated audience was able to join in with Turner. Even if you aren’t as big a fan as the first three rows were at Free Press, go see them if you enjoy the music.

X Ambassadors

Although their first hit “Renegades” (which they rounded out their set with) could easily be found on your favorite indie station, don’t mistake the X Ambassadors for your run-of-the-mill indie (I need a better word) band. The X Ambassadors are energetic and harmonious, both within the band and with the audience. Lead singer Sam Harris is able to deliver soulful vocals without being brash or losing tonal quality, while Casey Harris, Adam Levin, and Noah Feldshuh provide strong support. On stage, Sam Harris delivers in his role of front man with ample energy.

Matt and Kim

While I haven’t gotten around to listening to Matt and Kim in their entirety, their show was the most energetic and visually pleasing yet. The two of them were on an elevated platform, but weren’t restricted by it. Both Matt and Kim took turns ditching their instruments (piano and drums, respectively) to jump around — and on — their instruments. Even as I write this recap, three other photographers next to me are lamenting about how much fun the set was.

Logic

Maryland-based rapper Logic played to an excited crowd on Saturday. While I couldn’t tell you which songs he performed, it was clear that his fanbase is loyal and strong. In between pacing along the front of the stage, he interacted with the audience, asking if it was anyone’s birthday, and then promptly asking for ID to make sure no one was “being a fuck boy.”  After he found someone, he conducted the whole audience in singing “Happy Birthday.” The space-themed visuals accompanied the theme of his latest release, “The Incredible True Story.”

Jamie XX

It is surprising that Jamie XX played on one of the smallest stages at Free Press. With his sound board in front of him and surrounded by thick fog, the 27-year-old Brit DJ’d a solid set, mixing classic records with seemingly required heavy bass lines. Jamie XX was quiet, hunched over the mixing board and moving to the music the whole time I was there. He wrapped up his set with his hit song “Loud Places” with a small light show to accompany.

Collegrove  (Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

After starting 20 minutes late, 2 Chainz came out bumping. For three songs, he delivered his verses with poise. But Lil Wayne? In case you didn’t know, there are three-song rule for photo pits, so after the third song, they kick you out. Guess who decided to come out literally jumping on the fourth song. Regardless, the crowd was feeling it and Collegrove delivered.

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse crowded the Saturn Stage late Saturday night. Lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock played to a full house. The whole band was pretty sedentary, but enough off of them were active enough to be visually interesting. A subtle amount of lighting with smoke gave the band a nice background to play their pop-y, yet complex sounds.

Email Hannah Shulman at hshulman@nyunews.com.

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