Chance the Rapper.
Was TBD Fest cool? That’s what everyone from Uber drivers to Thai food servers asked after day No. 2 came to a close last night. An estimated 12,000 concertgoers showed up for Saturday’s lineup, according to festival promoters. That’s a shitton of people tucked along the West Sac riverfront. And, yes, it was a cool time. Here are 10 observations:
10. Coathangers was the first act I took in of the day. The group was an outlier among deejays and EDM performers, but their punk sound fit the sun-soaked afternoon. I watched about 20 minutes of their set from TBD’s new VIP area: an elevated tent area along the main stage’s west end. After sunset, the view from VIP showed a stage flanked by the Tower Bridge, Ziggurat building and downtown “skyline.” Great sights, can’t think of a nicer backdrop for a Sacto fest.
9. Mobb Deep underwhelmed but it was during their performance that I realized “Oh crap, it’s so much busier today than on Friday.” Their performance was on a smaller B stage, at the south end of the festival grounds, next to a giant ferris wheel. Surrounding the stage were the usual food trucks, and a 10 Barrell beer garden (the Oregon-based brewery, now owned by InBev (aka Budweiser) was the flagship “craft” beer of TBD).
8. Am I a souless bum that I can’t get into Cut Copy? Anyway, they’re sunset set of dance inspired indie set off a fun, gently tropical riverfront vibe. Good turnout for their sound. This was the time I also enjoyed an $11 tequila shot. The Bud Light was free, though.
7. Local chefs battled it out again at this year’s festival, and today’s matchups included Oliver Ridgeway of Grange versus Patrick Prager of Hilton (the former winning a “Demolicious Derby” trophy for his gravy fries) and Mike Thiemann/Matt Masera of Empress Tavern versus Richie Nakano formerly of Hapa Ramen pop-up in San Francisco. Cindy Baker emceed the competitions, and for some reason I never was able to snag a single bite all day.
6. Ratatat. Saw these dudes in like 2004 at The Echo in LA. Still sound exactly the same. A wonder how they can evolve within such confines of guitar/beats genre. Huge turnout for their set.
5. Another big turnout for Chance the Rapper, who delivered a polished and even jazzy performance with a full band. He even played his jam with Action Bronson, “Baby Blue,” but didn’t sing the “Friday’s” verse, which was a bummer.
4. Unfortunately I caught but the tail end of former local Tycho’s set, at the same time slot as Chance. Tycho’s turnout was equally huge. Impressively so, in fact.
3. I’m not sure what to make of Porter Robinson. His brand of beats/EDM is what I refer to as Nike commercial dance music. People were super into it, however, screaming and exploding with every drop and confetti blast.
2. Pretty Lights. I’ll admit to not knowing much about them. They indeed boast a cornucopia of lazers and, you know, pretty lights. Not my cup of tea. The vibe is like the music playing in a club during some Michael Mann flick. I kept thinking of Colin “Velcoro” Farrell’s mustache during their entire set, which drew a healthy audience up until 11:30 p.m.
1. Final thoughts? Great party, lots to explore, definitely give yourself enough time. Drink water but be prepared to wait in a shitty long water line. Dust is back on day two, so consider a bandana for Sunday. Get there early so that you can soak in all the fun pop-up art, vendors, foodstuffs. Walk along the river, just east of the festival grounds, and enjoy the waterfront.
Sorry, this is the worst festival recap. I was up until 5 a.m. Look for something better from Janelle Bitker later today.
(Photos by Brian Breneman.)