Sweetlife Festival

LIVE: 2013 Sweetlife Festival

All photos by Joy Asico (joy@chunkyglasses.com/www.asicophoto.com) and Julia Lofstrand (julialofstrand@gmail.com/julialofstrandphotography.com/)

A memorable music festival often involves as much luck as alchemy. Is the lineup great? Do the performances match expectations? Does the weather cooperate (and do the masses stay engaged if it doesn't)? Are there good food and beverage vendors? Do they have enough variety (and supply) to satisfy the masses? Is the venue appropriate? Does the experience inside the venue trump any issues with traffic, parking, or the parking lot scene? Whether by luck, alchemy, voodoo, or just good vibes, and in spite of an often rainy day at the end of an awfully rainy week, the folks at sweetgreen can look back on the fourth installment (third at Merriweather Post Pavilion) of the Sweetlife festival with a smile. The almost 20,000 in attendance most certainly will!

Solange captivating the early crowd at the 2013 Sweetlife Festival

Solange drew an early-afternoon set at Sweetlife, and it wouldn't be controversial in the least to suggest that she stole the show. Leading a funky, dynamic, band she certainly proved to many in attendance that she is so much more than just "Beyonce's little sister." She delivered excellent renditions of many tracks from her outstanding, Blood Orange-produced dance/pop/funk EP True. Solange has style and substance, incorporating excellent dance moves and a confident, winning stage presence, but her voice is what made her set truly special. It soared, swooped, trilled, and whispered throughout her mesmerizing, too brief set, which included stellar performances of "Losing You," "Lovers in the Parking Lot," and "Bad Girls," but what may have been the most memorable moment of her set was the closer. With a band that has clearly explored every nuance of "Bumpy's Lament" in tow, Solange brought cheers from a boisterous bunch at the main stage with her rousing, note-perfect interpretation of Dirty Projectors' hit "Stillness is the Move." The best proof that Solange is one to watch? At 2:15 in the afternoon of what would prove to be a long day, so many couldn't take their eyes off of her.

TO DO LIST: Sweetlife Festival THIS SATURDAY!!

For local lovers of live music, this weekend marks the kickoff of what is truly the most wonderful time of the year:  FESTIVAL SEASON!  On Saturday, sweetgreen, purveyors of healthy bites in the DC area since 2007, will present Sweetlife:  A Music + Food Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.  The lineup looks delicious!  Whether your auditory taste buds are craving futuristic soul (Solange), the best contemporary blues (Gary Clark, Jr.), indie rock royalty (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), new hip hop classics (Kendrick Lamar), or orchestral pop/rock bliss (Phoenix), Sweetlife has something on the menu for you! 

And that’s just the main stage.  A music festival wouldn’t be complete without great DJs (John Thornley of US Royalty and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, to name just two) at the 9:32 DJ Lounge, or a plethora of excellent acts appearing on the Treehouse Stage, which will feature future festival headliners and music magazine cover stars (including Shark Week, MS MR, Youth Lagoon, & Holy Ghost!).  And since sweetgreen knows you’ll work up a thirst and an appetite, there will be great breweries on location as well as food trucks and artisans galore.  So dig out your hula hoops and glow sticks, get your face paint and your finest new tutu, because Sweetlife is the first “can’t miss” event of the season!

Tracking: Shark Week - "If You Want Me To Stay (For A While)

Sounds Like: James Brown crooning over a 60’s garage rock revival group
Why You Should Care: Shark Week is gaining notoriety as they are set to play this year’s Sweetlife Festival

 Here is a band that suits their name well. Guitar noodling, 60’s surf vibes contrasting a 90’s fuzzy bass line, and a soulful croon from singer Ryan Mitchell all seem to make up the band Shark Week. The DC native band has been steadily gaining some attention since their formation in 2011. “If You Want Me To Stay (For A While)” sounds like the unapologetic, almost sarcastic memoirs of a road-worn loner and Mitchell plays this part well.

Garage rock is doing this band a disservice by pigeonholing them into one set genre. With that being said, Shark Week’s EP show promise of a band who can adapt themselves to multiple sounds due to the energy they put out. Shark Week is gaining buzz and this is thanks to the soulful force they put behind each track.