What: Sweetlife Music Festival
When: May 11, 2013
Where: Merriweather Post Pavilion
$75 – General Admission – Lawn Seating
$95 – General Pavilion Admission – Pavilion Seating
$150 – VIP General Admission
A smooth-tongued rapper, a gregarious, visceral rock group and a violin virtuoso top the must-see list at this year’s Sweetlife Music Festival.
In the fall of 2012, hip-hop wasn’t in need of a resurgence — Kanye West’s pompous persona and Lil Wayne’s radio accessibility kept the sounds of the genre persistently resounding through ear buds. What it did need, and what it received via a crooning Compton kid, was a revival. Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city pushed him out of the underground world of self-promoted mixtapes to the mainstream, delivering rhymes with a confessional honesty and a modesty not possessed by some of hip-hop’s more noteable mouths.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The promise of a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album arrived in taunting segments: a single release here, a revealing performance there. And while the finished product, Mosquito, won’t be released until April 16, songs like “Sacrilege” serve as a fulfilling tease in the interim. Lead singer Karen O’s raw, distorted vocals meets with gospel-inspired choral riffs, bringing a deliberate guilt-laden irony to lyrics of a vaguely sinful romance. These explorative themes find their way in musical content as well, as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s bring a dark pop sound to this foot-stomping single rooted in indie rock with an edge.
The biggest departure from music festival norms comes in the form of Lindsey Stirling, an America’s Got Talent veteran donning a violin on her shoulder. For Stirling, no genre goes untackled, as the composer has covered Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thriftshop,” “Radioactive” by indie rockers Imagine Dragons and a medley of the definitive Broadway production, “Phantom of the Opera.” Stirling modernizes the violin’s sound, rendering both rhythmic, percussive lines and melodies, but her most valuable skill may be multitasking. Each of her songs is accompanied by her own choreography, adding a visual spectacle to her high-energy and musically versatile performances.