Last Sunday was the final leg of the Re:SET concert series in Atlanta, featuring headliner boygenius preceded by Bartees Strange, Dijon and Clairo. Given how summers in the south are prone to sporadic bouts of rain and thunder, the concert series has had to improvise against a string of weather-related events the entire weekend. On Saturday, Re:SET cancelled Bartees Strange’s and Dijon’s sets in New Orleans due to delays brought on by severe weather. On Sunday, Re:SET cancelled LCD Soundsystem’s and Jamie XX’s sets in Dallas, once again, due to inclement weather. Atlanta, fortunately, avoided cancellations during Sunday’s storm, despite setbacks early on.
Re:SET’s Sunday in Atlanta began with a shaky start. Two hours before doors opened, Re:SET announced on its social media that, in order to accommodate expected storms, the times of every act was being pushed up. The doors opened at 2:30 PM instead of 3 PM and Bartees’ performance was moved from 4:15 PM to 2:50 PM.
Attendees who were fortunate enough to be made aware of the change were left scrambling to make it to the show in time (or perhaps unable to do anything due to already having a lengthy commute). Or if, like me, you were unaware of the time change until you had arrived, you likely missed all of Bartees’ set and half of Dijon’s, both of which were cut by 10 minutes anyway. This was a real pity as I was looking forward to seeing the full lineup, like a lot of other “late” attendees.
Unfortunately, this left a bad aftertaste for some attendees, who expected more timely and direct communication. In defense of the show’s organizer’s, last minute changes are unavoidable due to the unpredictable nature of weather. They handled this no worse (and no better) than most other festivals, except for one important distinction: Re:SET needed to do more than a social media announcement. Most attendees received an email after the first set had already began. No one received text messages, which should really be a standard practice.
Despite these last-minute changes, Dijon gave a hearty performance and the audience gave him a lot of love. His set-up was minimalist and relaxed, with band members and Dijon frequently sitting down with their instruments, which didn’t hinder his performance in the slightest. Dijon’s ability to manipulate his voice and make the audience feel the lyrics made the performance a great addition to an impressive Re:SET lineup.
During Dijon’s set, Julien Baker (of boygenius) momentarily appeared in the VIP section of the park. Maybe she wanted to catch the performance as well? Her presence caused a minuscule commotion where a small number of fans noticed her and she quickly disappeared behind the tall black-clothed fences she’d come from.
At the end of his set, Dijon’s artistry really shined through during “Rodeo Clown”. In a moment that stole the gaze of everyone in Central Park, he scream-sang the words “I’d die for you”. (I didn’t capture the moment on film but here’s his performance of “Rodeo Clown” in San Francisco.) In a sudden manner, he threw down the mic and left the stage without the typical formalities.
Right around this time, I noticed that Atlanta’s homegrown indie-darling Faye Webster was also in attendance amidst the corded-off guest list area with some friends.
Next, it was time for bedroom-pop pioneer Clairo, who was born right around the corner in Dunwoody, which she pointed out during her set. Clairo came with a full-band, which included a saxophone-player that I absolutely loved hearing. Clairo herself rotated between playing the piano and a variety of guitars. Her demeanor was ultra-relaxed. She looked comfortable and at ease, happy to be on stage. Other than the few danceable songs she sang, the audience enjoyed her mellow artistry by swaying along to her sweet voice and gorgeous band.
Post-Clairo, everyone was hesitant to leave their spot in the crowd in preparation for the day’s headliner. The energy and anticipation in the audience rose as Clairo’s equipment was removed and replaced with those of boygenius. Everything was set.
Then, confused rumbles began amidst the crowd as crew members placed bags over every equipment and taped it down. The banners on either side of the stage were rolled up. The rescheduled time for boygenius, 6:10 PM, came and went. The audience began to grumble about the current sunny disposition, complaining, rather incorrectly, that if boygenius began at 6:10 PM, as intended, they’d be done before a storm rushed in.
Eventually, all confusion was quelled and replaced by upset at the message now projected on stage in bold red letters: “Severe weather alert. Please evacuate immediately”, followed by the poor man in charge of dispersing the stubborn crowds by repeating the same message over a microphone. The show was postponed until further notice. The crowd, clumsily, chanted “rain or shine, rain or shine”, referring to Re:SET’s stated website policy. But alas, the hourly wage workers of Re:SET are at the mercy of the law which forbids any outdoor event from taking place when lightening is present.
Like a somber funeral march, the audience slowly (and not-quite-surely) left central park. Everyone headed to the nearest dining or shopping establishment that could provide shelter, which was I’m sure, a rather ridiculous scene to the workers of various establishments in the center of Atlanta. A very specific brand of young adults crowding in.
Fortunately, the delay lasted only slightly over an hour. At 8:00 PM, Re:SET announced that the doors were back open and boygenius would play at 9:00 PM. For those unfamiliar with such festival procedures, who made the untimely decision to go home early, believing the early evacuation to be a complete cancellation, some were unable to come back. But those who stuck it out were rewarded with a dazzling boygenius performance, who miraculously squeezed in their entire concert setlist, albeit aided by the fact they began their set earlier than announced….
For the lucky returners, boygenius gave a performance filled with their usual shenanigans, like Phoebe and Lucy wrestling each other on stage and a lot of cozy snuggling. Their setlist contained the entirety of boygenius’ discography (one full-length album and an early ep). In an on-brand maneuver, boygenius paused the show to speak out against “Cop City” and have the audience yell “fuck cops” at full volume. Given that each artist is known for their solo pursuits as well, the show was rounded out well with an acoustic performance of an emotional song from artist as the encore.
Overall, Re:SET gave a glimpse of a different kind of music event. This was their inaugural year and I am excited and hopeful to see Re:SET return in the following years to come.
What is the Re:SET concert series?
What Re:SET is trying to do is a novel idea in the music industry so let’s dive further into it here:
The Re:SET Concert Series is meant to take place across three cities with shows happening simultaneously in each city on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a rotating array of artists. For example, boygenius headlined with Re:SET in Dallas on Friday, New Orleans on Saturday, and Atlanta on Sunday; Steve Lacy performed in Atlanta first, then in Dallas, and finally in New Orleans.
Much like a festival, the concerts are performed outdoors with a variety of local vendors, too-expensive water bottles and (of course) porta potties. The event lasts for most of the day, under the brutal summer sun. One may buy tickets to one day of the event, or the whole weekend at a discounted price.
Unlike a festival, there is only one concert place taking place at any given time and the acts travel in their pre-determined groups to three different cities each weekend. I do wonder if the format will stick.
Buket is recent graduate of the University of Georgia (Music Business Alum) and the current Editor-in-Chief of Vinyl Mag. She believes that a sincere lover of music can find something to like in just about any song. She loves to write to escape the grueling and mindless drudgery of late-stage capitalism. She is currently on a gap year abroad, spending her free time drumming up new ideas for Vinyl Mag and trying to beat her previous Spotify Wrapped "My Minutes Listened" record.