Identity Fest Recap
Be warned: the Identity Fest experience was very fragmented, as I only got to see about 6 acts who played the entire festival, so this recap is in no way indicative of the entire festival experience. With the way things were scheduled, you really had to pick and choose between acts, as many of their set times overlapped. We also had to take an hour out of our day to spend some time with none other than Modeselektor – yup! This was the highlight of the experience for us. Be on the lookout for a feature interview with the fellas some time this week. For now, we’ll reminisce on our favorite moments of the festival.
The first act we saw was definitely our favorite, which is a true testament to the fact that you don’t have to be at the peak of your buzz to get the most out of the tunes. As soon as we arrived, we headed over to the main stage to check out Modeselektor, who were possibly the most interactive deejays I’ve ever seen perform. Aside from playing fantastic jams, they really set the tone for the rest of the acts I saw. Their animated performance hit its peak when the duo decided to lip-sync the words to their Boys remix of Bjork’s “Dull Flame of Desire” (yes, they have a version for girls too). They got on the mics, wandered in front of their setup and gave a very comedic interpretation of the song. Afterwards, they proceeded to use the second half of their set to douse the audience in bottles of champagne and water, which were very much needed on an appropriately hot mid-August afternoon.
While some of us dispersed to catch Crystal Method, I was dead set on catching Booka Shade, one of my most anticipated acts of the festival. I always enjoy live sets, and Booka’s atmosphere took me back to the days of big hair, neon shades and side parts. I loved every minute of their set, which was far more energetic than I could have ever imagined, as most of their recordings I’ve heard and liked are more on the minimal side. It’s great to see what an act can do with some synths, drums and a whole lotta RICO SUAVE. They’re also chums with Modeselektor, as they shared the same trailer during the festival. We got to meet these cats too, if only briefly. Very respectful and friendly fellas. They hardly even broke a sweat after their set. If I hadn’t just been watching it, I would have had no idea they were just on stage.
After our encounter with Modeselektor and Booka Shade, I was ready to get my house fix in. Steve Lawler was a refreshing change of pace for the day, despite the awkward placement of the Advent stage. The ground was sloped, which made it very difficult to dance, but we managed. Lawler did a great job of controlling the pace of the crowd, which was substantial for the Advent stage. Most of the other times I passed this stage attendance was scarce. I also had to lol at the hilarious placement of the merch tents. There was an “I I forgot the Disco Biscuits were wedged in between our interview and Steve Lawler. We used this opportunity to recharge on the lawn and watch the crowd of Disco Biscuit fans go wild. Based out of Philly, the Biscuits have a substantial following in PA. A little bit too electronic jam bandy for my taste, they were far better than many of the other bands I’ve heard coming out of that genre. I just wasn’t in the mood. I wanted to dance.
And dance we did! Just as it got dark DJ Shadow took the stage with a spectacular, globe-shaped optical illusion set that had everyone wondering, where the hell is he deejaying from? The visuals blended in nicely with the globe, which opened about 15 minutes into his set to reveal the man himself. This was definitely the first set I’ve ever seen that incorporated the actual deejay into the visuals. It was top notch and his serious skills as a deejay spoke for itself, though he still found it necessary to announce who he was and that everything he played was all his material – in case you were wondering. I’m sure he won over quite a few noobs who weren’t at the conflicting Rusko set. Ya’wl missed out! Though I did hear Rusko “killed” it.
We decided to jump ship after Shadow and avoid the Skrillex crowd, which was a smart move in the end. I would have liked to see Kaskade, but, my bed was calling, and after a long day of kegs and eggs, champagne, $13 beers and a special batch of cookies, I was spent. I managed to catch a bit of White Shadow’s set while I was waiting for my posse to meet up. I felt bad for the guy, as most of the crowd was elsewhere. For a first go, I’d say Identity Festival did a good job. The production was impressive, many of the acts were solid, and what seemed like dismal attendance at the beginning of the day turned into an impressive showing. Stay tuned for our interview with Modeselektor, in which we’ll talk more about Identity Fest.