As the sun sets on the summer of 2016, it is certain that it will go out with a bang. Already on it’s fifth year, Summerset Music Festival again is promising a wildly fun time with an extremely savory lineup that includes headliners the likes of Chance the Rapper & The Social Experiment, Bassnectar, and Skrillex. Of course a proper festival also packs the ranks of performing artists with other incredibly talented acts and Summerset does not fail to do so. For the five year anniversary, I am quivering in anticipation to see artists such as STS9, Lewis Del Mar, Atmosphere, Hippie Sabotage, Artifaks, Gramatik, Mr. Carmack and loads of other shows guaranteed to light up all three days.
I myself had my first festival experience at Summerset two years ago. To this day I am still astounded at how a bunch of hills and farmland were transformed into such a positive atmosphere, full of beaming individuals and a jaw dropping, dance inducing lineup that left me itching for the next year and the year after that. Finally, the time has come and Summerset 2016 looks like it will not disappoint. On top of the kick-ass lineup mentioned above, this year’s festival also boasts an expanded campgroup and more cohesive stage setup, as to allow us festival goes to stage hop as easily as possible to see all their favorite artists. Overall, I am siked for this year and you should be too. Below are some of the highlights I plan to check out.
Lewis Del Mar
Unknown to me up until a month ago, Lewis Del Mar made a huge impression when I saw them live at Live on King St in Madison, WI. On a whim I ventured to their show and immediately saw that without a doubt this band has got something special.
Danny Miller, the lead guitarist and singer, puts his heart and soul into each song, eliciting just a passionate response from the crowd. Grooving along with Danny’s folksy riffs and bass lines feeds the audience an energy that practically compels you to get up and dance. Personally, even though I was far back in the crowd I was still able to sense that Lewis Del Mar cares about their music and their fans; refreshing when a sizable portion of today’s music is produced solely for profit.
Given that the band’s first EP, which contains their hit single “Loud(y)”, came out in January and has already caught the attention of venues such as Summerset I expect that these guys will have a breakout year when their album drops. Till then you can catch me at their performance on Friday in the Grove tent starting off the weekend right.
Oh My Love
Hailing from Madison, WI, Oh My Love is a pop duo forging their own path in a genre inundated with repetitive lyrics and beats. The duo, comprised of vocalist Hannah Luree and synth wiz Christian Lisser, came out with their first song in 2014 and has been working steadily in improving their production and performances with a new album out last May.
At first listen, Oh My Love charms your ears with Hannah’s slight, but melodic voice on top of Lisser’s synth, giving one a wave-y sensation as Hannah’s vocal range leads you up and down. On their newest album, “Ghosts and Bubblegum”, it’s clear that the two have spent the past year maturing their sound and their coherence as a band. Crisper beats and more powerful vocals allow the duo to venture outside the typical pop genre, creating a more soulful sound as the two continue to progress as artists.
Never having seen Oh My Love in Madison, I am beyond stoked to see my hometown reppin’ at Summerset. I am curious to see how the two perform live, but regardless I am sure they will light up the night. Swing by the Saloon tent on Friday to give your support and get down. Fun times assured.
Ok, if you still haven’t heard of Emancipator by now stop reading and go listen. It has been ten years since Doug Appling produced his debut album “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough” and in that time Appling has founded his own record label, created an incredible ensemble and gained worldly recognition as an artist…all while constantly touring with artists like ODESZA and Big Gigantic!
Producing several albums since then, Emancipator has continued to make a name for himself in the music arena. Now possessing his own record label, Appling has shown his desire to seek out new, and spectacular talent on the fringes of the music world and opening doors for these artists to gain more acknowledgement as well. In the end, Appling incorporates myriad of sounds that all seamlessly blend together.
What I enjoy so much about Emancipator’s music is that it truly liberates you from the moment. The ease with which his beats meld into and complement the overtones of instruments (violin, flute, piano) gives rise to such a smooth final product that I can’t help listening to his albums over and over. Having already seen Emancipator and his ensemble at an afterparty at Summerset in 2014, I am excited to see what the group can do on on the big stage.
Chance the Rapper & The Social Experiment
Perhaps no other hip hop/rap artist has blown up in recent years quite like Chance the Rapper did when his album “Acid Rap” dropped in 2013. Since then his name is constantly circulating in the music world, having put out a new album and collaborating with Kanye West himself. I was lucky enough to have seen Chance perform at my university’s summer-jam way back in 2014 and he is one of the main reasons that I am coming to Summerset this year.
There is a lot to say about Chance. Politically active and musically ambitious, Chance take his involvement to the next level, using his newfound fame as a speaking platform to address social issues such as gun violence and injustice against young men of color. Having met with President Obama, as well as Rahm Emanuel and other prominent Chicago figures, Chance seeks to use his status as a musician to enact change that benefits all people of color.
Focusing solely on his music allows us to glimpse into the life of a Chicago teen. The verses in Chance’s song may not always be melodious or smooth, but I think that’s the point. A solid portion of his songs tell a story, whether about drugs, gangs or a corrupt justice system that somehow all manages to come together in a fashion that makes his music relatable to a huge fan base.
In order to keep this fan base, Chance has definitely learned how to work the crowd, leading them along as his songs take on serious topics that leave the audience stunned, then bringing them all together again with a feel good jam. My experience seeing Chance live certainly left a lasting impression on me. The guy actually took time during his set to interact with us and form a bond that only served to enhance the show and his music.
Seeing that Chance is headlining Summerset, I strongly advise all of you to try to make it to his show as it will, without a doubt, be a night to remember.
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