During Chromeo’s second-to-last song—during the last set of TBD Fest—the lights went out. Not an issue for the Canadian electro-funk duo. David Macklovitch instructed everyone to whip out their smartphones—to crowdsource light, basically—for the final farewell, and it felt just right.
Chromeo’s over-the-top cheesiness—Macklovitch perpetually looked liked he was posing for a photo—felt just right to close out the festival as well, perhaps because Chromeo played the festival back when it was called Launch three years ago. So much has changed.
Day three of TBD felt way more relaxed and way less crowded than day two, which those of us still in recovery definitely appreciated. Unlike Saturday, EDM took a backseat on Sunday to electro-pop, rock and Tears for Fears.
David Macklovitch a.k.a. Dave 1 of Chromeo // Brian Breneman
Curt Smith of Tears for Fears // Brian Breneman
Tears for Fears opened its set with its huge hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” immediately drawing people into hardcore ‘80s nostalgia. But it moved on to play some of its more mainstream-sounding rock as well, and a surprising cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Most of all, Tears proved it was worthy of such a prominent spot at the festival. Believe me, I was surprised as well.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Dog made it clear that it’s a band meant to be heard live. Even during the dire afternoon heat, a big crowd danced in full-force to Dr. Dog’s folky rock jams, sometimes employing seven musicians at once. A TBD stand-out.
J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. // Brian Breneman
Jared Swilley and Cole Alexander of Black Lips // Brian Breneman
Enormous modular synthesizers made Holy Ghost!, the ideal predecessor to Chromeo, entertaining to watch—though the musicians themselves were pretty stiff. It was hot. On the big stage, Dinosaur Jr. drew a small, loyal crowd and unfortunately could not hold my attention. Maybe because they were kind of hiding in shady spots on stage. It was hot. On a small stage, Black Lips also drew a small, loyal crowd and seemed tamer than usual. It was hot. Even still, a tame Black Lips is plenty energetic and irreverent—“Good night Mr. Sun, sweet dreams,” bassist Jared Swilley said as the sky, at last, became far more reasonable. Then, “Bad Kids,” and the mosh pit quintupled in size.
Most of the festival was thrashing to A-Trak, and then Madeon, who drew a crowd to rival Tears to Fears. Despite all the live bands around, the people still want EDM. And TBD does EDM very well.
A-Trak, one half of Duck Sauce and founder of Fool’s Gold // Brian Breneman
Madeon, purveyor of French house // Brian Breneman
Closing thoughts: After its second year, TBD Fest still has some kinks to work out, but they’re just kinks. Water lines should never be hundreds of people deep, as they were on Saturday. The food program was lacking compared to last year. The first couple hours on Friday felt palpably disorganized.
But it all comes down to the lineup, which excelled in its balance of electronic, hip-hop and indie rock—genres we’d like to see more of in Sacramento on a regular basis. In two words: Great party.