Recap: Life is Beautiful Festival Day 2
By Mandi Kimes & Spike Brendle
Alessia Cara took the stage like she'd been doing so for twenty years. At nineteen years old, that's obviously not the case, but you can tell she knows exactly how to work the crowd, and she loves it. Cara walked us through all the songs off of her debut EP, Four Pink Walls, giving short explanations of each track just prior to playing. Taking a stab at Drake's "Hotline Bling," she was able to summon even more energy from the crowd as they sang along to all the lyrics. We were also given a sneak peek of her upcoming album when she played new song, which she kindly asked us not to post on YouTube. Alessia Cara has got big things happening in her future, be on the look-out for her.
We arrived to Glass Animals’ set just as the recognizable bell intro for “Gooey” rang through the festival grounds. After we secured a spot, we watched as the sun set behind the stage and the band members of Glass Animals danced and swayed with each infectious beat. To be honest, I was surprised by the image of the band, and this is something I feel guilty of committing: I assumed that since the music of Glass Animals was soulful, funky, and “sexy,” I assumed the band members would have that almost “too-cool-for-school” sexy image as well. Instead, the guys looked like they were in an alternative rock band instead of the indie-pop I categorized them in. This is not to say the band is bad-looking or unattractive; I actually prefer the look of rock band guys over pop band guys. I was just surprised to see the image of the man not match the voice. While the lead singer possessed a sort of adorable dorky persona, he maintained the energy by singing and dancing and leaning back with each beat. He was my white hero of the night, as I, a pasty white female not suit for the lifestyle of looking good while dancing, was encouraged to dance as I saw him attract the audience with ease. Each song was met with hooky drum beats and bell-synths that elevated you into the sunset. I was glad to see them live, as everyone told me they were better to see live than hear on their record. As I like the record, I love their live show. Well done, Glass Animals.
Being a fan of Metric for six years now, I’m sad to say I have not seen them perform live – until now. During my sophomore year of college, I was exposed to my favorite movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Through that movie, I was then exposed to the wonderful world that is Canadian rock music, which included Broken Social Scene, Stars, and Metric, while also diving into Arcade Fire and The New Pornographers. Metric provided the song “Black Sheep” to the Scott Pilgrim, and having been the first song to hear from them, I was hooked. I dove right into their 2009 release Fantasies, then later the Synthetica album of 2013. We walked up to “Stadium Love,” one of the highest-energy songs from Fantasies. Immediately after, they rolled into “Black Sheep,” which I was absolutely not expecting them to play since the song was made for the movie and is not on any of their own releases. The song sounded exactly like the first time I heard them, and nostalgia hit me hard. Riding on the nostalgia train, they transitioned into “Help, I’m Alive” and I couldn’t help but join the crowd in fist-pumping during the intense chorus as Emily Haines screams, “My heart’s still beating like a hammer // Beating like a hammer!” The rest of the set was filled with new songs from their brand new album, with hits from their previous two albums sprinkled in. Haines turned the last chorus of the song “Breathing Underwater” into an a capella sing along as everyone sang, “Is this my life? // Aaaah // Or am I breathing underwater?” They ended the set with a new song, where the energy continued to remain high as Haines sang, “I want it all!” The only sound constraint I noticed was that the drums seemed tucked back in the mix, with the snare barely making an impact. As they walked off the stage, I was struck with many feelings: joy, contentment, nostalgia, but also a little bummed I didn’t hear a few of my other favorites. However, nothing could compare to the feeling of seeing “Black Sheep” performed live (and I’m not talking about the scene of The Clash at Demonhead performing the song live at Lee’s Palace in the film). Thanks for the feels, Metric.
There is always one artist that gets booked on the wrong stage, no matter what music festival it is you are attending. Now we still have another day to go, but I can comfortably say that Snoop Dogg was that artist. The crowd stretched back past the viewing area, into the food court (which was not a casual place to see that stage). Hearing snippets of his parts in hits like "Gin & Juice," "California Girls," and "P.I.M.P" was fun to experience (while eating a grilled cheese) but not being able to see The Doggfather himself, it was decided to move on to the next act.
As we made our way toward the main stage for Duran Duran, we heard a voice ask the audience, “Who’s hungry?!” Immediately, we ran to our usual spot and planted there for the show-stopping performance of “Hungry Like a Wolf,” in which the band sounds exactly like the day the song was released in 1982 (I’m only guessing, as I was not born yet). I must admit: I went into their set remembering two of their songs, with the other being “Rio”. As each song began, I was met with the “Oh yeah! I forgot they played this song,” feeling. This feeling remained true on hits like “The Reflex,” “Notorious,” and “Come Undone.” Simon Le Bon has the same vocal delivery as every single record produced, and it made the nostalgia sink in quicker; this was especially apparent on “Ordinary World”. The crowd sang along and waved their arms to this ballad that really rings true: “I won’t cry for yesterday in the ordinary world // Somehow I will survive // And if I try to find my place in the ordinary world // I know I will survive”. The band also played “Pressure Off,” a newer song that introduced what sounded like a house mix to their classically 80s new wave sound.