Sweetlife Festival 2015: Charli XCX Commands the Crowd, Calvin Harris Brings the Party & More
Sweetlife, a music-meets-gastronomy festival held at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., continued on Sunday, May 31 with performances by Calvin Harris, The Weeknd, Charli XCX and many others. Here are the highlights from day two:
4:06 p.m.: From the moment Charli XCX strutted onto the main stage in a zebra-print ensemble that channeled Tarzan and Jane, the crowd of screaming teens was hers. “I know it’s hot right now, but you gotta give me everything you’ve got,” she shouted. And that’s exactly what they did. When she commanded “Get your f-ing middle fingers up in the air!” before launching into “Sucker,” middle fingers flew. When she screamed “I need you to jump,” they sprung out of the pavilion's seats; “Clap,” and they clapped. The 50-minute set, which included “Break The Rules” and “Allergic to Love,” was among day two’s highest energy and most crowd-pleasing performances.
6:47 p.m.: Call it a breath of folk air. Amidst a sea of synth and backing-track heavy sets, Vance Joy spent the better portion of an hour strumming his guitar and giving fans a bit of a storytelling session, too. There was “Red Eye,” the song about “a guy who takes a red-eye back to his girl to see if they’re still going to work” and “Wings of Change,” the tune he “first played at one of my first open mic nights for two businessmen having drinks” and the acoustic-only “My Kind of Guy,” which is about “a guy who’s trying to shape up for his girl.”
7:39 p.m.: As if on cue, rumbles of thunder rolled in and the sun shined eerily upon L.A. soul chanteuse Banks as she walked onto the Treehouse Stage for her hour-long set. Tracks like “Monster” and “This Is What It Feels Like” from her 2014 debut Goddess were very pitchy at times, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Channeling the weather, which began to tease light rain drops, the singer-songwriter got progressively moodier with each track, garnering perhaps the loudest response from the slow-burning “Brain.”
9:01 p.m.: The sound of The Weeknd’s falsetto, which hit nearly 20 minutes prior to schedule, sent fans sprinting from the food tents to the Treehouse stage. “This is my first time here,” he told the crowd, pausing. “And wow, it’s beautiful.” Indeed, with an almost full moon above and the violets and blues of the stage lights projecting onto a canopy of giant beechwood trees, the backdrop was breathtaking. Before closing out the set with “Earned It,” the audience lent the Toronto native a hand with singing the chorus to a cover of “Drunk in Love.”
9:45 p.m.: Easily drawing the largest crowd of the weekend, Calvin Harris closed out the two-day festival with elements that had otherwise been absent: confetti, lights and a whole lot of smoke. “I Need Your Love” and “Feel So Close,” which the audience sang back to him, also had everyone on their feet -- including a security guard who couldn't help but bop his head and tap his feet.