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Photos & Review: Music Midtown 2018

Review by Jenna Hughes, Photos by Danielle Boise

Imagine Dragons, Post Malone, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Kendrick Lamar, and more made up arguably the most diverse lineup Music Midtown has ever seen on September 15th and 16th in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. The weekend vibe was relaxed and friendly, with a common love for music and dancing at its core.

The festival, which originally began way back in 1994, has grown and changed over the years (including a hiatus between 2005-2011), but it has never failed to attract thousands of music lovers to Atlanta. This year, many of the artists and bands were very young, in turn drawing a much younger crowd to the park, breathing new life into the 20+ year old festival, and introducing a brand new generation of Music Midtown.

SATURDAY

The weather was beautiful, albeit a bit hot for mid-September, as thousands made their way to the park to catch early acts such as Lovelytheband, First Aid Kit, and The Aces. I caught the 5:45 set of up and coming band Rainbow Kitten Surprise on the Salesforce stage, where devoted fans cheered the band like a headliner, and with good reason. The eclectic band, with a name sure to stick with people, played songs from the newest album How to: Friend, Love, Freefall, such as “Fever Pitch,” along with some older songs including “Cold Love” and “Seven.

As the sun set over the Midtown skyline, Thirty Seconds to Mars, now comprised of Jared Leto and his brother Shannon, took the Salesforce stage. Leto encouraged the crowd to dance, asking for the “Best and worst dancers here” to join the band on stage. The set included plenty of songs from new album America, such as “Dangerous Night,” current single “Rescue Me,” and “Walk on Water,” along with staples “Kings and Queens,” and “This Is War.” Leto, dressed in his signature robe and waving an American flag (in keeping with the album theme), was as charismatic as ever as he kept the entire crowd engaged, even those sitting on the hill in the back.

Over at the Cotton Club stage, AWOLNATION’s front man Aaron Bruno repeatedly asked for “The best dancer here” to join him on stage as well. The set, which featured the hits “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)” and “Not Your Fault,” kept the crowd dancing and jumping to the beat along with Bruno, who never seemed to lose even an ounce of energy. New album Here Come the Runts was represented by “Seven Sticks of Dynamite” and “Passion.” The massive hit “Sail” brought fans even closer to the stage, with everyone singing along and waving their hands back and forth.

Post Malone and emo/punk icons Fall Out Boy also headlined the Salesforce and Roxy stages, respectively, while Portugal the Man took care of the Great Southeast Music Hall stage.

 

SUNDAY

Even though the day was cloudy and occasionally rainy, the music definitely made up for it.

On the Roxy Stage, K-Flay wowed fans with songs from her second full length album Every Where Is Some Where, including “Make Me Fade” and “Can’t Sleep.” Robert DeLong, who played an earlier set, joined her on stage for the incredible radio smash “Favorite Color Is Blue.” A cover of the Harvey Danger song “Flagpole Sitta” had the crowd loving it, and of course K-Flay performed her most well known song, “Blood in the Cut.”

Butch Walker returned to Music Midtown this year after many years away, but plenty of festival goers made it over to the Roxy Stage to see the veteran perform, and they were not disappointed. Walker commanded the stage through songs such as “Freak of the Week,” (a ’90s anthem originally performed by Walker’s band Marvelous 3), “Bed on Fire,” “Ponce De Leon Ave,” and an awesome cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.”

Another Music Midtown veteran, Imagine Dragons took the Roxy Stage and launched into the smash songs “Radioactive” and “It’s Time.” Front man Dan Reynolds had the crowd screaming along to every word of “Whatever It Takes,” and current single “Natural.” Imagine Dragons are always fun to watch on stage, from the passionate, crowd engaging personality of Reynolds to the amazing percussion that made them a household name, and this performance was no different. A cover of Blur’s “Song 2” had fans jumping up and down, and K-Flay joined the band on stage for the hit song “Thunder.”

Full Photo Coverage of Music Midtown 2018

Awolnation’s “Here Come the Runts Tour” stops in Atlanta

Atlanta welcomed back AWOLNATION February 27, filling The Tabernacle with fans of the versatile, genre-spanning band out of L.A., best known for the 2011 smash hit “Sail.” Earlier in February 2018, the band released its third studio album Here Come the Runts, driven by lead single “Passion,” an upbeat dance/rock song that is one of the best AWOLNATION has ever produced.

After a short but passionate set from opener Nothing But Thieves, AWOLNATION’s front man and founder Aaron Bruno took the stage in a straw hat and a long cape flaunting the album title, and started the night with the title track of the new album. Trading the cape for a pair of rather comfortable looking denim overalls, Bruno launched into “Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf)”, the epic hit from 2015’s Run, inspiring a sing-a-long throughout the crowd, which continued with “7 Sticks of Dynamite” and “Passion.” Bruno was a nonstop ball of energy on stage all night, darting from side to side and keeping the crowd hyped. 2011’s debut album Megalithic Symphony got some love with “Kill Your Heroes,” and fan favorite “Soul Wars,” which had everyone dancing almost uncontrollably. (AWOLNATION songs tend to have that effect.)

Fantastic new songs “Miracle Man” and “Stop That Train” kept the energy high, until things slowed down with current single “Handyman,” during which Bruno took to the balcony to sing among some lucky fans who were loving every minute. Bruno’s easygoing, fun vibe spread through the crowd as they sang along, creating a one of a kind camaraderie and many happy faces throughout the room. After a short break, the fans demanded an encore, and the band obliged, returning to the stage with the electronic, bass-driven “Run,” the chaotic and heart-pounding “Burn It Down,” and ending the night with the incomparable “Sail.”

 

Nothing But Thieves

Awolnation

2016 SweetWater 420 Festival Coverage

The SweetWater 420 Festival returned to Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park on April 22 – 24 for the annual musical and beer festival for the ultimate SweetWater experience. From an all-star musical lineup of acts consisting of approximately 50 bands, ranging from The Roots, to The People’s Blue of Richmond to our very own Ludacris, the SweetWater 420 Festival was the place to be at with an amazing cross section of music from rock to R&B to hip-hop to bluegrass to electronica and indie all mixed together to give it the perfect vibe for a fantastic weekend. There was something for everyone to indulge in.

The music was hot and the beer was cold, especially in The SweetWater Experience Tent where you had the opportunity to taste test up to 40 distinct beers, sit down and listen to brew masters, then follow up with Q & A sessions afterwards. Plus there was always the chance of sitting down and having a beer or two with a band, like Leftover Salmon.

What makes the 420 Festival so special and such a huge part of Atlanta is it’s really more than just having a good time, yes, that is part of it, going out and having fun with friends, listening to some of your favorite artists perform live, but it’s also about being with people in a pretty cohesive environment and respecting the environment that we all share together. The saying at the festival is “we’re here for a good time, she’s here for a longtime” (referencing mother earth and to pay respect and homage to her).

Founder of The SweetWater Brewery said it best “When you love what you do, it’s not work.” And how could you not love the perfect weekend in spent in Atlanta being immersed in music, beer, amazing food and great works of art from local artists.

All photos by Danielle Boise for Target Audience Magazine.

 

Saturday, April 23 420 Festival Photography Coverage

Chrome Pony

North Mississippi Allstars

Maceo Parker

Tokyo Police Club

Dawes

The Word

Rebelution

The Roots

AWOLNATION

Bastille

The SweetWater Experience Tent

Atmospheric – This is what it’s like to be at The SweetWater 420 Festival. Filled with later, friends, beer and a great time.


Sunday, April 24 420 Festival Photography Coverage – photos by Danielle Boise

Leftover Salmon

People’s Blues of Richmond

Waking Astronomer

Voodoo Visionary

Manchester Orchestra

Nahko And Medicine For The People

Atmosphere

Michael Franti & Spearhead

The Bright Light Social Hour

Ludacris

Robert DeLong

Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

The SweetWater Experience Tent

Atmospheric – This is what it’s like to be at The SweetWater 420 Festival. Filled with later, friends, beer and a great time.