Written by Cassie Altenberger
This year was Summer Set Music and Camping Festival’s second year; located in the small town of Sommerset, Wisc. Like many others that attended Summer Set Music Festival I waited until the very last minute to get my camping ticket, and therefore got the shaft when it came to camping at the festival; or so I thought. The group I was with, which we eventually ended up calling the news team (based off of the movie Anchor Man), had to settle for the alternate camping that was offered across the street. Conveniently it was extremely close and actually ended up being a way better campsite. It was called, Float Rite Park, and it was located right on the good ole’ Apple River. This campsite had showers, bathrooms, a river and nature all around. Now don’t get me wrong it was nothing special, especially since those toilets probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least 3 years, but compared to the festival camping we were glamping (glamorous camping).
After we finally setup our camp and partook in some “pre-festival activities” we decided to make our way to the first show on our agenda, which was Beats Antique. They were about half way through there set when we arrived at the main stage. Now for some of you that might not be as familiar with the band it consists of three members David Satori, Sidecar Tommy and Zoe Jakes. What made their live show stick out more than any other, besides for Zoe’s obvious belly dancing abilities, were their props. Zoe had what seemed to be a bass drum around her neck. I couldn’t get past how liberating that must feel and how easy she made it look. Another amusing portion of the show was when a giant floating squid was brought on stage. That was obviously awesome.
Next we had a decision to make; whether we should see The Wailers or Ryan Hemsworth. Personally I am a huge Ryan Hemsworth fan, and had yet to see him live. So that wasn’t a hard choice. He played a ton of dope hip-hop/trap remixes and exceeded not only my expectations, but everyone else that I talked to at the show. His graphics were also some of the most visually appealing of the day; besides for Big Gigantic who was the headliner that night. The photos I took really didn’t do his visuals justice, but there were solar patterns incorporated that took you to different galaxies on a perceptional level.
We then proceeded to take what we thought was going to be a short water, bathroom and shopping break near the festivals vending stations at the main stage. However, the setup of the stages were thoughtlessly setup. There were three stages and at every stage there was a new entrance. So when it came down to roaming from stage to stage you had to completely exit and then reenter the festival, which kind of defeats the purpose of a festival if you ask me. Anyways, This really caused a major inconvenience and damper on the first day. By the time we went to the venders the line to get back into The Grove, where Figure was playing, was the largest I had seen it yet. By that time Figure was finished and Adventure Club was on deck, and let me tell you they did not disappoint.
Around 9 O’clock we made our way over to the main stage to see Big Boi, and even though he had a knee brace on from an injury in May, he still managed to pull off one of the best shows of the weekend. What made Big Boi even more impressive is the huge red and velvet throne he performed on. Along his side were a backup band and a small entourage, who aided him in playing Outkast classics like “Ms. Jackson” and “Ghetto Musick”.
Big Gigantic headlined at the main stage to end the night. As always their light show and presence was remarkable. The live music element was a major plus. All genres at the festival were integrated into their show. Whether it was dubstep, hip hop or electronic they were able to combine all the musical elements of the festival into their performance.
Day 2 was started off right at the main stage with STRFKR; an indie-rock band from Portland Ore. They played a lot of tracks off of their new album, Miracle Mile, including my personal favorite, “Atlantis”. They also played some of their classics like, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second”. There was very uplifting and fun vibes going around; especially when they performed their version of, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. Due to poor scheduling Boombox was performing at The Grove at the same time. So we made our way over there for the second half of their show.
Walking into Boombox was something else. Now I’ve seen them live quite a few times, but for all the new comers or people who have yet to see them; it truly is a show you need to experience. It’s like all of a sudden you’re at a 70’s disco concert on Xanax. “Stereo” and “Midnight on the Run” were of course played, however, even when they played the less popular songs everyone was just vibing off of one another. There was definitely funk in the air, and when I say funk I mean it in the most pleasant way possible.
After a short break back at the campsite it was time for us to take the trek to see Zedd. At this point the news team needed to save some energy for the rest of the night; so we found a nice spot on the hill facing main stage and posted up for the last half hour of his set. Of course his infamous track, “Clarity”, was played and the crowd was definitely not disappointed. Towards the end of Zedd, I made my way to the bathroom, which was near a smaller stage called The Saloon.
Performing at the Saloon was this unreal bluegrass band called, Greensky Bluegrass. I cannot emphasis how talented they are. I don’t think my words can even begin to do their performance justice. They played in this small intimate bar like atmosphere, and the live acoustics couldn’t have sounded anymore raw. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some electronic, indie-rock, dubstep, hip-hop etc., but the way their guitar and banjo strings sounded was so definite. The song that stood out the most to me was, “Old Barn”, which is off of their album, Five Interstates. Another song they played was, “Hand Guns”. Now I was not as familiar with this band as some of you might be, but I am so happy I got the opportunity to see them live.
Conveniently after Greensky Bluegrass was Passion Pit, which was in the same premises. Last time I saw Passion Pit was in 2009 at Lollapalooza. Now obviously at that time they were less developed than they are now. To say the least there sound wasn’t as graceful as it was this time around. I remember feeling a bit let down after their 2009 performance. However, their performance at Summer Set definitely made up for it. Their tones sounded effortless; while still interacting with the crowd. They also made sure to play everyone’s favorites like “Smile Upon Me”, “Sleepyhead”, “Little Secrets”, “Moth’s Wings” and many more.
The headliner for Saturday was Girl Talk. I can admit that I might be a tad biased, because I am not and have not been the biggest Girl Talk fan. Something about combining two songs that sound decent together doesn’t appeal to me. However, it was a great show to dance to. I just kept getting really irritated when my favorite part of an original song was about to drop and then all of a sudden it would change. Definitely harshed my mellow.
The third day was the best day in my opinion. We started at The Grove where the Toronto based trio, Keys N Krates, was performing. Their live show was one of the most respected because as always they combined samples with drums and keys. Opposed to many other artists who had pre-recorded sets. They played, “Treat Me Right”, along with a few tracks off of their, Lucid Dreams EP. At one point they asked the crowd if there were any Canadians out there, and the crowd began to chant U-S-A, which I thought was pretty humorous.
Next up was, Flosstradamus, and they did not disappoint. Who inconveniently played at the same time as Krewella, however, Floss was the obvious choice when it came down to it. They played their newest track, “Earthquake”, and ordered the crowd to twerk. They also repped their signature Flosstradomus inspired Chicago flag the entire time. Oh and did I mention they were throwing up The Dankles triangle?
Next we saw Madeon who played after Floss. After Madeon was Diplo, and we knew that if we left The Grove that we probably wouldn’t get back in because the security was whack. That being said I couldn’t have been happier that we stayed. First of all Madeon is 18 years old and has tons of talent. His sound was very French electro and once again that was something there wasn’t a lot of at this festival. He kept the energy level up, and definitely got the crowd ready for Diplo.
Everytime I see Diplo his performance gets better. I am an avid Diplo fan not so much because of his personal tracks like, “Express Yourself” and “Earthquake”, which he did play; but because of the empire he has created based off of his production talents. I don’t know if you guys know this but he helped produce Snoop Lions entire new album, Reincarnated. He also basically invented the twerk and gets any chick he wants on stage, ass up. If you ask me, I’d say he’s like the grandfather of the booty drop.
What made his show so awesome at Summer Set especially was the variety of music he played. He doesn’t just stick to one genre like trap or hip-hop but bounces all over different spectrums of music. He also makes every track so much better than it was originally. He played some unreleased material of remixed mainstream tracks like Kanye’s, “Black Skinhead”. Also as a side note it was hilarious watching the girls get on stage for his infamous, “Express Yourself”, he was calling all these chicks up and security started getting kind of pissed and obviously I took videos so check it out.