Float Fest just wrapped up it’s third year with a impressive crowd turnout and artist line up. Temperatures were hot throughout the entire weekend peaking at 97 F (36 C) during the daytime. Fortunately, the heat wasn’t an issue for the crowd because Float Fest offers a special activity – attendants had the option to cool off by “floating” the San Marcos River which it’s water is always at a chilly 72 F (22 C). Majority of the crowd would pre-party while riding inner tubes down the river and attend the venue around sunset when things started to cool off and the main acts took stage.
One of the first major acts for the first day of Float Fest was Bone Thugs N Harmony. The group came out swinging with a bold, comical statement. “Bone Thugs N Harmony has been around for twenty years.” There was a slight pause as Champagne Supernova started to fade into the mix. “That’s a lot of years and a lot of weed smoked.” The DJ proceeded to let the song play until the line “where were you while we were getting high,” in which he muted the track and let the crowd sing that part acapella.
Yeasayer started off with technical difficulties. I’m not sure if it was the band’s computer/keyboard that was cutting out or if the stage was having power issues, but the band couldn’t get through their first song’s intro without the speakers getting muted. The band had to redo their opening a total of four times, but fortunately the crowd didn’t seem to mind and once Yeasayer passed that conflict they put on a performance that kept the crowd dancing.
Kongos was the most versatile and unique band at the festival. Their sound can range from a groovy, 70s roots rock vibe (Come with me Now) to I’m Only Joking – a dreary, Muse like tune that has driving guitars and a marching beat. Their drummer and bass player switch off taking lead vocals which is quite different since most bands’ rhythm section usually only sings back ups. But Kongos best feature is Johnny Kongos, the keyboard and accordion player in the band. Johnny is able to make the accordion a cornerstone instrument in the band which gives them a stand out sound.
Future Islands performance at the festival was their first one in 8 months according to the band’s frontman Samuel Herring. However, their performance was so solid that I doubt anyone noticed that they’ve been out of practice. The band played most the songs off their record current record Singles.
Santigold performance was top notch and satire of American consumerism. She started off her show wearing bright yellow, dollar store themed dress. Her backup dancers weren’t dancing during the opening song, instead they were lounging in beanbags eating bags of cheetos. Afterwards however, they set aside the bags and took out selfie sticks, using them as props in their synchronized movements. The rest of her set involved other quirky acts such as a infomercial interlude and quick costume change about half way through the set. Santigold ended her set by letting around 30 of the audience remembers on stage to dance during her final song. She knows how to throw a party.
Rick Ross wrapped up day one of Float Fest with a climatic show. Rick is the only artist in the bill that has had multiple number one albums in the US music charts and it shows. His performance is something you would see at a sell out arena, and just about everyone in the crowd knew every word to all of his hit singles he performed such as BMF, Hustlin’, and Diced Pineapples.
The first major act on day two was Rooney. The band has been on hiatus for the past couple of years, but now they are back on tour supporting their new album Washed Away. Their set was filled with all of their sing along hits like Where Did Your Heart Go Missing, Blueside, and their newest single – Why? “Thank you Austin! I wish we could floated the river with you all.” front man Robert Schwartzman said before playing their final song. “But, we’ll be back in town in October.” I’m already looking forward to the event.
Metric took stage right when the sun was setting. They opened up with one of their older tunes – IOU, which is well over a decade old but sounds like it was only released within the past couple of years. They then proceeded to play most the songs off their previous two albums Synthetica and Pagans in Vegas. If you haven’t seen Metric then I encourage you to catch one of their shows. I’m believe that Emily Haines is one of the best lead vocalist in any current indie band.
Big Gigantic was the biggest (no pun intended) surprise performance for me. I’m familiar with their songs but I haven’t had the chance to see them live. I honestly, thought the show was going to be a spectacle and that the members of the group would hunker down within a LED stage while with their hands hover over a laptop. Oh boy was I off on that assumption! Dominic Lalli laid constant catchy melodies on his tenor saxophone and synthesizer while Jeremy Salken played flashy drum beats that kept the crowd jumping up and down. They are by far more original than any other EDM band I’ve seen. Two thumbs up.
Chromeo was the main headliner and was the perfect band to wrap the event. Front man vocalist/guitarist David Macklovitch gave me the coolest photos I’ve ever taken at a festival thanks to his over the top poses and dance moves while Patrick Gemayel gave a contrasted showmanship as he stood still on his riser playing his analog synth. The Canadian duo went through most of their singles within their past three albums.
Float Fest is quickly making a name for itself throughout Texas and they seem to top themselves every year. I can’t wait to see what the lineup will be like in 2017.
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