Review by Jenna Hughes
Atlanta’s Piedmont Park was once again host to the city’s annual Music Midtown on Sept. 20 and 21. This year’s festival featured a diverse line-up, including Journey, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 2 Chainz and more. There was also an eclectic artist market with everything from painters to palm readers. Despite rainy conditions on Saturday, the festival sold out and an estimated 100,000 people were in attendance.
French natives Phoenix lit up the Electric Ballroom Stage on Friday, performing hits such as “1901.” Next door on the Great Southeast Music Stage, rock veterans Jane’s Addiction featured hydraulic choreography as part of a long and rowdy set that included hits “Been Caught Stealing” and “Jane Says.” Across the park on the Roxy stage, a third stage new this year to the festival, Cake brought its quirky sound, delivering hits such as “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.”
Friday’s headliner, Journey, did not disappoint, with new lead singer Arnel Pineda filling in Steve Perry’s shoes perfectly. He was a ball of energy running from one end of the stage to the next, keeping the crowd on their feet and singing along to classics such as “Separate Ways,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Lights” and the iconic “Don’t Stop Believing,” which had even the security guards singing along.
It was nearly a washout on Saturday, but fans pressed on to get inside the festival, even though scanners failed under the cloud cover and tickets had to be torn the old fashioned way, creating longer lines. Armed with ponchos, umbrellas and cell phones in plastic baggies, dedicated fans braved the weather for the love of music.
One ray of sunshine in the clouds was ZZ Ward, a singer/songwriter out of L.A., who dominated the Roxy stage with her eclectic blues sound and soulful voice. She told the crowd, “This one is for you guys, you are so dedicated,” before performing a cover of Missy Elliott’s “The Rain.” “Put The Gun Down” had fans dancing in the mud and “365 Days” was a great sing along.
Back on the Southeast Music Stage, it finally stopped raining and Imagine Dragons exploded on stage with their drum-fueled sound, performing hits such as “Radioactive” and “It’s Time.” Frontman Dan Reynolds expressed his love for Atlanta, telling fans, “We love coming here and we love all of you guys.” At one point during the set, he proved this by hopping off the stage and running through the crowd barrier high-fiving fans.
After rousing sets from The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Queens of the Stone Age, it was down to the last act of the day, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is what the crowd had been waiting for, and there was a new surge of energy throughout the park as The Chili Peppers took the stage, blasting into “Can’t Stop.” They kept up that energy with an impressive set of hits, from the classics “Under the Bridge” and “Higher Ground” to the most recent single “Look Around.”
Drivin’ ‘N Cryin’, 2 Chainz, North Mississippi All Stars, The Mowgli’s, Weezer, The Neighbourhood, Mona, Reignwolf, The Black Lips, Capital Cities, Tegan & Sara, Kendrick Lamar and The Arctic Monkeys also performed.
All photos by Ken Lackner
Red Hot Chili Peppers at Music Midtown 2013
Journey at Music Midtown 2013
Queens of the Stone Age at Music Midtown 2013
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Music Midtown 2013
Imagine Dragons at Music Midtown 2013
Cake at Music Midtown 2013
The Black Lips at Music Midtown 2013
Phoenix at Music Midtown 2013