While hip hop acts like Noname and Vince Staples appeared on the Saturday lineup, indie and psych-rock bands dominated with sets from Jagwar Ma, Alt-J, headliners Tame Impala and more. Here’s a rundown of what happened on on day two (July 29).
2:30 — New York indie rockers Active Bird Community make some early noise on the Pavilion Stage. The shaggy-haired quartet’s racket of spiky guitars and catchy melodies concludes with a new song, presumably one that will follow their most recent release, this year’s Stick Around.
3:14 — Bleached wastes no time in asserting itself as an ass-kicking live force. Over a furious few minutes early in their indoor Parlor Stage set, they transition from covering the intro licks of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” to their own hell-raisers, “Trying to Lose Myself Again” and “Keep on Keepin’ On.” The transition between the final two is especially seamless.
3:20 — Her set time may have been early, but the pavilion stage was packed and dancing as Noname ran through the jazzy “Get Comfortable.” “I’m on my 90s shit tonight,” she said laughing, leading the crowd in a “fuck bitches, get money” refrain over the song’s loose, cabaret vibe, which her live band held down throughout. She was having a great time, feeding back the energy from the crowd, and it made her set that much more enjoyable. When she announced that her time was cut short, the audience was audibly upset — but she’d misunderstood the stage hand as having said 2 minutes instead of 20, and, laughing, finished her set. Noname is a poet extraordinaire, and her live show matched her lyrical abilities — and maybe exceeded itz.
4:06 — Pinegrove hit the main stage with one of the more anticipated sets of the day, given the buzz that has surrounded the band on the festival circuit this summer. The band was earnest and engaged as they ran through songs like “Problems” and “New Friends,” combining some solid pop rock sensibilities with some almost country flavors, at times getting surprisingly heavy and at others channeling the staccatoed dance-rock of Phoenix. They kept their songs short, and seemed slightly overly obsessed with tuning their guitars in between them, but it was a fun and lighthearted set.
5:11 — Alternative-psychedelic trio Jagwar Ma performed its biggest hit “O B 1” as brightly colored visuals played out on the screen behind them on the Panorama stage. The set from the Australian group could have fit in just as well a few hours later, as the booming bass behind Gabriel Winterfield’s smooth vocals would have eased listeners into the night, providing a seamless transition to headlining act Tame Impala.
6:31 — For those at the front of the stage, the bass during Vince Staples’ set was relentless and all-consuming — just like his albums tend to be. Through the vibrations, Staples delivered a set full of uncompromising cuts that he delivered with a laser-like intensity. “Ramona Park Legend, Pt. 2,” “745” and “Big Fish,” among others, were standouts.
7:12 — Scottish indie pop legends Belle & Sebastian are in New York for the first time in a couple years, so what better time to break out their musical ode to the New York Mets’ Hall of Fame legend Mike Piazza? Frontman Stuart Murdoch bums someone’s Mets cap and asks the crowd how far they are from Shea Stadium (the Mets haven’t played there since ’08) but it’s the thought that counts. Across the river from the Mets’ newer Queens stadium, B&S bops through “Piazza, New York Catcher.”
7:50 — Nick Murphy — the indie electro singer formerly known as Chet Faker — opened his evening set on the Panorama stage with fan favorite “Gold.” The singer, whose hair was somehow already soaking wet, continuously swapped out keys for his guitar (and even banged on the drums during “Cigarettes & Loliness”) while singing and busting out some light dance moves. During “Talk Is Cheap,” Murphy switched up his vocals by singing through a vintage handheld mic, and then announced he was going to perform “some new shit.” During each song, his live delivery had much more vigor than what comes across on his recorded music — most songs were extended into lengthy instrumental dance jams. By the end, Murphy had thrown his synth pad and mic stand on the ground, then gracefully sat down at the piano to close with “Stop You.”
9:20 — A glowing green orb on screen piqued the interest of the growing crowd at the Panorama stage. Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala then walked out, all waving, as Kevin Parker greeted fans through thick a thick echo effect before beginning with “Let It Happen.” Rather than offering a close-up look of Parker and co., all three monitors rather offered brightly colored swirls and distorted shapes that pulsed to the reverberating music. The rest of the groovy and ambient set included hits like “It’s Getting Closer,” “Elephant,” “The Less I Know The Better” (which they had to restart, “I swear something was wrong. I just want the best for you guys,” Parker said) and more — most of which included epic rainbow laser light shows. Later in the set, Parker asked the crowd “Did you guys see Frank Ocean last night? Thats the type of shit that makes me think, ‘At least we have lasers.’ Shit was inspiring.” Earlier, Parker remarked at Tame Impalas’ own success when he noted, “I need to check my sources, but this might be our biggest performance [in the U.S.].” “But biggest doesn’t mean anything if it’s not the best.” So naturally, they made sure it was.