|Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros | All photos by Louis Kwok unless otherwise noted|
Another LouFest has concluded, but not without making considerable waves. Day one attendance was announced at 15,000, which surpassed the combined total of 12,000 people during both days last year. "Year one, we brought in a magician, if you recall," LouFest partner Rich Toma remarked.
No extra magic was needed this past weekend at Forest Park, as LouFest has clearly come a long way since its first event in August of 2010. The partnership with Austin-based C3 Presents appears to have been a great investment, as its presence enhanced every part of the festival. Kudos to them and Fresh and Clean Media for adding their opinions, support, and overall positive energy.
Day two of LouFest was just as electric as day one, as Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of Court Yard Hounds (you might know them from the Dixie Chicks) created a buzz early on at the Bud Light stage, where they performed songs from their latest release, Amelita. Their spark gave way to local rapper Tef Poe, who busted rhymes at the BMI stage with his band, Downstereo, and special guests Family Affair and Doorway. While rap and hip-hop haven't seen much attention on the LouFest stages over the years, Poe proved that he is a legit performer, and that the genre is alive and well.
Local Natives were perhaps the revelation of the day, making their first St. Louis appearance; let's hope it's not the last. Songs like "You & I," "Breakers," and "Heavy Feet" from their latest album, Hummingbird, sounded glorious in the afternoon sun, while "Wide Eyes" and "Airplanes" from Gorilla Manor were made for festivals like LouFest. "Airplanes" was a great moment, with thousands of people singing back the chorus of "I want you back, back, back."
Alabama Shakes' set soon arrived, as did their hit, "Hold On," exploding early as the third song. Whereas Icona Pop waited to deliver "I Love It" on the Forest Park Stage just a bit earlier, The Shakes don't play that game. And yes, Brittany Howard, lead singer of the Shakes, is absolutely the real deal, as she pours every ounce of energy and emotion when singing lines like, "Sayin' come on, Brittany!"
"Man on Fire" and "That's What's Up" opened Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros's set, and Alex Ebert immediately felt the love around him as he jumped off the stage and launched himself into the first few rows of fans. Ebert and Jade Castrinos danced with each other, sang to each, and even talked to each during "Home," which landed near the end of their set. Highly impressive performance by Sharpe & the Zeros, who were playing at the same time as Brick + Mortar, a buzz electro band from New Jersey.
Finally, it was time for The Killers, who chose to open with their most popular song, "Mr. Brightside." I heard a lot of, "Oh my God, I can't believe they are playing this NOW!" among the thousands who stayed for the headlining act. Turns out, The Killers are a loud and well-oiled machine, built for stadiums and festivals. And perhaps their closing set signaled what is to come: even bigger and better things for LouFest in the years ahead.
Please enjoy Louis Kwok's photos of day two of LouFest, and be sure to view photos from day one here.
|Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, before their set at LouFest|
|Brick + Mortar|
|WALK THE MOON|
|Tef Poe | Photo by Jason Gonulsen|
|Photo by Jason Gonulsen|
|Photo by Jason Gonulsen|
|Court Yard Hounds|