TVD Live Shots: DC 101’s Kerfuffle Festival at Merriweather Post, 5/3

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PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | On Saturday, May 3, radio station DC101 had their annual DC101 Kerfuffle at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

The lineup consisted on a mix of up-and-coming bands and big names. The lineup—featuring 311, Semi Precious Weapons, Foals, SOJA, and Cage the Elephant, among others—was the best way to kick off the summer in Maryland. Most music festivals at Merriweather Post Pavilion are marketed to high-school and college kids, and this festival wasn’t any different. Thousands of young folks flooded the venue as they enjoyed the warm weather and good tunes.

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The festival kicked off with Brick + Mortar, an electronic drum/bass-pop duo from New Jersey.  Their performance mostly consisted on tracks from their sophomore album Bangs, including the title-track. “Bangs,” in particular, begins with a heavy guitar riff and then turns out to be a smooth electro-pop song. Their unique sound definitely caught me off guard.

Semi Precious Weapons followed, giving a full energy performance. People don’t really feel like jumping around and dancing at 3 PM, but they managed to get the whole crowd jumping by the closing of their set with “Hands Up.” There’s something about Justin Tranter singing, “Hands up, motherfuckers” that really gets people going. They easily gave one of the best performances of the Kerfuffle.

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By the time J Roddy Waltson & The Business started, the crowd had grown and was amped up. Despite not being one of the headliners of the festival, J Roddy Waltson & The Business put on a great live show. There’s not that many pianists who are also lead singers in rock, but Walston manages to combine head-banging and piano perfectly.

Kongos is a South African band that is huge in their country—topping every South African music chart—but have not yet gained as much popularity in the US. I have a feeling they’ll soon be well known, considering their stage presence and catchy songs such as “Come With Me Now.”

Foals is one of the bands that most people were expecting to see. Despite being from Oxford, England, the band has a huge fanbase in the U.S., and it’s very easy to see why. They started off their set with the instrumental intro “Prelude,” which has become the standard opening song for Foals on all of their previous shows; it works well setting the mood.  Right off the bat, you know you’re getting a great performance.

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They played some of their hits such as “Total Life Forever,” but their stand-out song was “Spanish Sahara.” It’s one of their best songs and listening to it live is a privilege. There’s something so beautiful and magnetic about Yannis Philippakis’ voice that sends chills down your spine. A double rainbow appeared right after Foals’ set—that’s how magical Philippakis’ voice is.

Cage the Elephant was also one of the bands that the crowd was most looking forward to. They started off their set with “Spiderhead” and did not disappoint. They put on an amazing live show and really know how to work the crowd—complete with insane crowd surfing from the stage to the lawn by lead singer Matt Schultz, which is probably the first time it’s been done at Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was definitely an unforgettable performance.

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SOJAs sound was different from the other bands. It’s strange seeing a reggae band in a lineup full of rock bands, but it worked well. After a day full of  jumping, dancing, and moshing the crowd needed something relaxing, the DC natives were able to provide that in the best way.

311 closed the festival and were marketed as one of the biggest headliners. They put on a decent live show and played their older hits, such as “Amber.” They were the only band to have an encore despite closing after an exhausting day, so that says a lot. Despite their decent set, I have a feeling it would have been more enjoyable to see them back in the early 2000s when they were more relevant.

While the high-school and college kids could still appreciate veterans 311, the definite stand-outs were Foals, Semi-Precious Weapons, and Cage the Elephant. I bet next year’s lineup will be even better.

311

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Cage the Elephant

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Foals

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Semi-Precious Weapons

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SOJA

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J Roddy Walston & the Business

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Kongos

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Festivalgoers

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