By Jett Wells & Corey Celt
The All Points West Music Festival was a hot mess in more ways that one, but it was also filled with special musical moments. It was a long weekend, but we came out of the festival feeling wiser now that we know what it takes to survive during an action-packed summer music festival. Between the unforgettable sets and the strange sightings, here are the 10 things that will stick with us.
Even though All Points West was packed with top-shelf talent, more than one of the weekend's largest bands failed to live up to expectations. Coldplay, on the other hand, played with swagger and unquestionable passion. They get a lot of heat for being middle-of-the-road, but when it came to delivering the big rock moment with a healthy dose of spectacle — witness the giant balloons rolling over the crowd during "Yellow" — nobody else came close.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Keeping the attention of a festival crowd can be tough, but from the moment Karen O walked on stage to kick off her band's set with "Heads Will Roll," she had everybody eating out of the palm of her hand. And why not? She swerved like a reptilian temptress and waved her microphone like magical wand — clearly, she knows how to cast a spell.
Very quietly, Alice Glass and Ethan Kath turned in one of the more explosive performances of the weekend. Glass was ferocious as she contorted her body like a possessed vampire, while Kath mixed devastating techno beats that had enough bass to shake the planet. For the finale, Glass crawled on top of the amplifiers and drum set like a jungle cat, inciting riotous whoops from the crowd. It was one of the most intense concert scenes we've ever seen.
In one of the weekend's most pleasant surprises, the Knux kicked off the festival with their signature brand of smooth beats and hilarious lyrics. The best part, however, was when the group asked some of the audience to climb on stage to dance with the band during the last song. Kids were timid at first, but then they ran up in waves. On stage, lead man Krispy Kream taught the crowd a fun dance move for the final song. The Knux score two points for interactivity.
Though the top slots went mostly to men, the ladies ruled All Poinst West. Aside from Karen O and Alice Glass, several other women blew the hordes away, including St. Vincent, Neko Case, Lykke Li and La Roux's Elly Jackson. All the girls came to play, and they did it with grit, attitude and grace.
With a large clock on stage counting down from 10 minutes, you would have thought it was time to celebrate the new year, but really it was just building anticipation for Jay-Z's entrance. The Beastie boys were originally slated for the spot, but MCA's illness forced the rap group to drop out. They were absent but certainly not forgotten. Jay opened with "No Sleep Till Brooklyn," a tribute to his fellow Brooklynite MCA. From there, he ran through "Big Pimpin," "99 Problems" and "Encore," cementing his status as a legend and stealing the entire weekend — all on the first day.
Kool Keith's Special Guests
During his set, wacko rapper Kool Keith introduced a few special guests. First, he welcomed his old cohorts from the Ultramagnetic MCs, the seminal group in which Keith got his start. Then he kicked it up a notch, bringing out godfather of gangsta and "Law and Order" star Ice-T, who introduced himself as "the world's most expensive hype man."
Vinny Chase On The Drums
On "Entourage," Adrian Grenier is the center of attention, but on Saturday afternoon he was happy to hit the skins in the Honey Brothers. His beats were the backbone his band's smooth set, but we have to assume that he had something to do with the gaggle of screaming females at the front of the stage as well.
Above anything musical, the big story of the weekend was the rain and inevitable destruction of the grass at Liberty State park. Storms on Friday turned most of the area into a marsh, allowing fans to bathe in what Coldplay frontman Chris Martin called a "mud jacuzzi." The muck didn't discourage fans from coming — rather, it merely encouraged mud sliding, messy dance parties and rain boots.
Etienne De Crecy
After three days of rain, mud and music, French DJ Etienne De Crecy had the task of giving the crowd one last hour of pulsing bass before heading home. Spinning from 15 feet above the crowd inside of glowing Rubik's Cube, he gave the crowd one last thing to dance about without speaking a single word of English.