Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Passion Pit, Sylvan Esso and Sofi Tukker combine forces for All Things Go Fall Classic

Despite rain, mud and a last minute cancellation, third annual music festival was a success

If you were wondering why there was so much mud on the Metro this past Saturday, look no further than the second annual All Things Go Fall Classic music festival. Dedicated festival goers spent 10 hours in the mud and rain to see a hit or miss lineup of electro-pop acts (and Ace Cosgrove).

After it drizzled through the first three acts, Sylvan Esso reverse-rain-danced the storm away and set up a relatively dry, somewhat sloppy finish to the festival. 

Sylvan Esso, Passion Pit and Sofi Tukker were all big hits, while Christine and the Queens literally missed the festival and the rest of the lineup failed to stand out. While it is impossible to ignore the unforgettable performance put on by Empire of the Sun, as headliners of a music festival, they failed to close out the day with a bang. 

Sofi Tukker stole the show. Not only was the duo energetic, charismatic and full of confidence, but it also seemed like they were having a genuinely fun time. As with the other acts, Sofi Tukker closed its set with the big hit, “Drinkee,” but unlike some other acts the rest of the set wasn’t spent passing the time until the one song that everyone knew.

The band also had a one of a kind instrument that fell somewhere between a small tree and an electronic drum kit. Sofi of Sofi Tukker was a particularly honest performer and serenaded a growing crowd in Portuguese and English, and was brave enough to wear an elegant all-white jumpsuit in the rain and the mud. 

After Christine and the Queens backed out of their performance, Sofi Tukker stepped in to save the day (or rather the full hour until the next set). It was a less rehearsed performance for the impromptu encore, but it was equally energetic and even had a stage dive. Ace Cosgrove briefly wandered back on stage to join in the fun and salvage an otherwise lost time slot. 

“Let’s pretend it’s nighttime and it’s not raining!” Tukker said, summing up the thoughts of everyone in attendance. 

When it came time for Christine and the Queens to take the stage, a message was put on the huge screen that read: “Regrettably Christine and the Queens have declined to perform. Stay tuned for Sylvan Esso.”

Coordinators of the event said the group refused to perform given possible risks for the backup dancers because of the wet conditions. 

Maybe it was the quarter inch of mud on everyone’s shoes or the fact that many had been standing for just over eight hours, but the crowd lost a certain amount of energy by the time Empire of the Sun started performing. There is no denying the impressive, almost hypnotic production value of the Australian duo’s performance. Lead singer Luke Steele was singing into two mics at one point, flanked by backup dancers dressed for Carnaval. It was surely a spectacle, but the music was not enough to lift shoes out from the mud.

Sylvan Esso were another standout act and proved that the band is more than just a one-hit-wonder. Maybe the band is actually a two-hit-wonder: with the release of “Radio,” the male-female duo have another widely popular song after the viral reception of “Coffee.” A song like “Coffee” and to a lesser extent, “Radio,” are songs that are seemingly best enjoyed on a cool afternoon under a blanket with someone you love rather than in the sprawling valley of nearly finished apartment buildings known as the Navy Yard park. However, with loud enough bass and plenty of backup vocalists in the crowd, Sylvan Esso became festival acts and both of its major songs became festival anthems.

Some festival goers could be heard saying they only came for Passion Pit, and others threatened to leave as soon as Passion Pit finished. Those who left before Empire of the Sun missed out, but Passion Pit followed through with a well rehearsed performance. It seems everyone has a Passion Pit song they can sing along to and “Take a Walk” was one of the most popular songs of the entire festival. 

Early-arrivals at the festival were rewarded with an intimate Ace Cosgrove performance. Bringing a mic into the crowd and rapping amongst the people is kind of Cosgrove’s thing, as some AU students may know, but it did feel somewhat out of place in the expansive festival grounds. He was also the only local artist and the only rapper in the lineup, but his live band brought a hint of pop-rock into his performance andmade it an enjoyable opening act.

Bishop Briggs and POP ETC didn’t make a lasting impression but admittedly put on enjoyable performances and rounded out a fun lineup I had not been entirely thrilled to experience.

As for the festival experience itself, once you embraced the mud it became a much more enjoyable time. Hunter boots were this year’s must-have fashion statement. There were very limited activities other than the music and the 30-minute gaps between sets seemed to drag as the day progressed. A corporate sponsored graffiti wall and tarot card readings (free with purchase of ice cream) were the only structured ways to pass the time, which must have salvaged some business from bored customers for the ice cream vendor, Milk Cult.

All Things Go should be happy with what it was able to put together in only the second year of the festival. The music was the focal point, and it was good. The festival managed to book several acts who are arguably better live than recorded, and despite the fact that over half of the groups are electro-pop duos, it was never monotonous. Based on the turnout (given the rain and mud), it seems that the #ATGFallClassic has the potential to become an institution of the District’s music scene. 

jstringer@theeagleonline.com


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