With a lineup featuring the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, Music Midtown 2013 felt like Christmas come early. After all, music lovers of all types found themselves driving to Atlanta September 20 and 21, hardly minding the heavy metropolitan traffic at all.
The festival featured acts from grungy punk to radio pop and back again, so instead of your typical review, Vinyl has compiled a Music Midtown Awards list. If you were there, be grateful. If not, live vicariously through us. Read on.
Most Energetic: Phoenix
What’s French, always wearing a blue button-down, and hanging from the sound tent? That would be Thomas Mars, Phoenix’s insanely animated frontman. We could barely listen to Phoenix’s tunes – new and old – because our eyes were so busy popping out of our heads. The group was arranged in a perfect line, in their usual fashion, until Mars began crowd surfing and, eventually, dancing toward the sound tent past a gaggle of shocked viewers. He soon crawled up one of the tent’s poles, singing from above like the omniscient, musical being he is, before running back onstage to close the show.
Most Likely to Cover You in Mud: Black Lips
Yeah, yeah, everyone hates the rain. But on Saturday, the muddy puddles beneath our feet only made the Black Lips’ set grittier and a ton more fun. We pushed and slid around the pit to the beat of old favorites like “O Katrina!”, but also frequently stopped to pay close attention to new songs we’d never heard before. As we walked away from the stage, knee-deep in mud, we knew the show had been a badass, punk-rock success.
The Time Traveler Award: Arctic Monkeys
The Monkeys’ set took us straight back to the 50s, complete with a crooning voice and silver tuxedo jacket. If you haven’t seen our review of Turner and crew’s new album, AM, here’s a summary: it’s fantastic. The group played the sexiest songs off the new release, making sure to also throw in favorites from Humbug and Favourite Worst Nightmare. But the 50s vibes substantially accented the show – the foursome could have been mistaken for Dion and the Belmonts, especially when Turner whipped out a comb and slicked back his dark, polished hair.
Most Likely to Turn You On: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Let’s just get right to it: whether you’re a boy or girl, Karen O is sexy. I mean, who could resist a rock goddess with a grunge-tastic voice wearing a studded, sequined getup? We almost cried listening to “Maps”, and nearly screamed ourselves hoarse to “Date With the Night”. Even the trio’s newest songs, which many are a bit skeptical of, sounded cooler than ever. But we were most excited by O’s stage presence. Backed by guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, O could be seen unzipping her pants, dropping the microphone in, and pulling it through and back up to her lips.
The Throwback Award: Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Chili Peppers have been around for 30 years, but watching them onstage, you’d never be able to tell. Through two hours of classics from “Give It Away” to “Scar Tissue” and even “Dani California”, the group danced and made witty comments like they were a bunch of 20-year-olds again. And don’t even get us started on the crowd – the audience was so far back that it seemed like the entire world was at Piedmont Park that day. But who wouldn’t have wanted to be?
Kate Foster is a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated titles: writer. Blogger. Beauty and fashion junkie. Cat devotee. Art history buff. Harry Potter nerd. Cheesy 90's television fan. Sometimes-gamer. Seasonal sculptor. Mostly she’s a music enthusiast. While her heart and soul belong to 50's and 60's crooners like Etta James, Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley, one shouldn’t be surprised to find her listening to Lady Gaga or Jay-Z. Most days, though, she’s in an indie-punk mood somewhere in between - she counts the Pixies, the White Stripes, M83, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a few of her favorites. And while you’ll typically see her bobbing her head calmly at concerts, occasionally she pulls out all the stops for bands like the Black Lips. She treasures her bruises like a child. After graduating from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Art History, Kate aspires to move to New York City. There, she hopes to continue to write. She also plans on pretending to understand the art at MoMA and stuffing her face with cronuts and one dollar pizza. Kate’s heroes range from Oscar de la Renta and Mindy Kaling to Ernest Hemingway and Rupert Giles. She practically inhales iced coffee on a daily basis. Her favorite color is yellow, and like Buddy the Elf, she considers candy a major food group. She has dreams almost every night involving the coolest architecture and interior design, and has no idea what it means. Seriously, what does that mean?!