Festival Review Part 1: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Detroit, September 14 – CHVRCHES, Solange, Icona Pop, Washed Out


What a wonderful festival the Laneway Festival in Detroit was this past weekend. Originating from Australia, Detroit is the first city to experience the Laneway experience, as it hosted the first North American festival put on by this company. Let me tell you, they know how to do things. Let’s take a look at what they did right:

1) Cheap prices – 80 dollar ticket to see Sigur Ros, The National, Washed Out, Solange, CHVRCHES and many of the other hot acts from this year? Yes please.
2) Great location – Located on the grounds of Oakland University, the grounds used for this festival was amazing. Rolling hills, green fields everywhere, reasonably located stages and an absolutely gorgeous pavillion (pictured above). I wish Toronto could buy these grounds, it would probably cost just a few bucks.
3) Real bathrooms – no outhouse city here! At least two real bathrooms. For the lazy people, there were outhouses
4) Reasonable alcohol prices – 9 bucks for 24 oz is pretty good. To put it into perspective, Riot Fest was charging 7 dollars for a small can of PBR.
5) Chilled people – everyone there was chilled and you basically could stand anywhere you want with no effort.

Bottom Line: I’ll be here every year if it’s an annual thing.

Detroit itself is a pretty cool city, we actually found a decent bbq place called Slow’s. They served up goodness that looks like this:


The meat coma that resulted was pretty epic. So in honor of Detroit, I shall write a food I ate themed review piece for the festival.


Icona Pop aka Sweet Potato Mash – Sweet Potato has been one of those foods that everyone has been yammering on about recently, it’s not like it’s new, but somehow it excites people. It’s also hipper and funner for people to order Sweet Potato variations of things. This is similar to Icona Pop, the Swedish duo has taken the music world by storm on the strength of the Charlie XCX penned track “I Love it”. Their take on happy-go-lucky electro pop isn’t particularly new, but somehow they seem hipper and funner then the other acts. Playing the afternoon slot at Laneway, the duo provided a much needed dose of energy to the crowd, who excitedly danced it up to all of the songs the duo had to offer. Caroline Hjelt and the moon dressed Aino Jawo wasted little time getting the crowd involved and the duo just seemed like a lot of fun between their dancing and electric knob fiddling. Saving their hit single to the end was a great idea, as the crowd was more then willing to dance up a storm when it hit. Easy to say, everyone “loved it”

Solange aka Waffle Fries – Let’s face it, fries rule the world. No matter what variations there are of it, that rule will never change. Similarly, Beyonce rules the world. That will probably never change. Beyonce is the french fry of the music industry. Still, that doesn’t mean there’s no opportunities for others. Enter Solange. While she will never attain the level of stardom her sister has, Solange has carved out a pretty promising career of her own. Since releasing the single Losing You in 2012, Solange has slowly but surely built up a steady fan base of her own, much like waffle fries. This was the second time I saw her this year, and her set on Saturday provided yet another opportunity for the crowd to dance. Armed with backing singers this time (but no Dev Hynes), Solange grooved and moved her way through her recent material, some songs I didn’t quite recognize and that Dirty Projectors cover. It was all splendid, and I particularly liked the moments when the guitar and bass players would dance with her in unison. I can’t wait to see what her third album sounds like.

CHVRCHES aka Tater Tots – Both things are absolutely adorable, and both are things you say “I want it!” as soon as you see them (on a menu, or at a show). Lauren Mayberry is this little piece of cuteness with an angelica voice and stage banter that makes you just wanna go awwwww. Tater tots are these little pieces of potato that are equally cute. You can never have enough of them. I don’t thinK I can ever get sick of CHVRCHES either, as I have seen them three times this year. The Bones Of What You Believe, the debut album from the trio, is out this month which means they’ll probably be touring a bit more. Each show they have played in Toronto has gotten progressively bigger so I guess things are on the rise for them.

Washed Out aka MAC-N-CHEESE – Little known secret: both of Washed Out‘s records are among my most listened to records at work. The band just sets a nice tone and the music puts me in a good mood. Having said all that, I wasn’t quite sure what they would have been live. I expected them to sound like a louder version of the record. Much to my surprise (or lack of research), I was pleased to find out Washed Out was an actual band, and not just some dude with a laptop. Playing the sunset portion of the festival, the five piece band delivered a live rendition of the tracks from those two albums and it sounded just as I had expected them to sound live (when they weren’t having some technical problems). The live instrumentation provided a nice organic feel to the tracks, but in general, it maintained the extremely chilled head nodding experience you get when listening to them on album. This is very much like mac-n-cheese. Everyone has their variations on it, but at the end of the day, it usually tastes just like you expect it to taste – cheesy goodness with some nice carb action. It’s the way you expect it, and the way you want it. Nothing better.

Upcoming: The main courses, and maybe some sauces if I can figure out a way to incorporate that.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

One Response to Festival Review Part 1: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Detroit, September 14 – CHVRCHES, Solange, Icona Pop, Washed Out

  1. Pingback: Festival Review Part 2: St Jerome's Laneway Festival, Detroit, September 14, Sigur Ros, The National, Savages, etc - The Panic Manual | The Panic Manual

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