Day Two of Sound On Sound Festival kicked off to a muddy start after a round of heavy morning showers early Saturday, but that didn’t stop festivalgoers clad in rain boots and jackets from lining up early.
While hip hop acts dominated Day One, dream pop and electronic groups wowed crowds Saturday.
As Wild Nothing graced the Dragon’s Lair stage, the afternoon wind rippled through the band members’ hair, complementing the relaxed, breezy sounds coming from their three guitars, keyboard and drum set. Bubbles floated through the crowd as people in the audience bobbed their heads to songs like “Only Heather” and “Paradise.” The show played out as fans expected, ending with an intentionally low energy performance of “Shadow,” a crowd favorite.
After an unnecessarily long sound check, Deerhunter took to the same stage, interspersing songs with odd anecdotes to warm up the crowd. Before playing “Breaker,” frontman Bradford Cox told the audience the hit song came to him while walking his dog to rapper Big Boi’s house when a car struck him. Whether he was serious or not, the crowd broke out in laughter, and when a blaring car horn cut him off 15 seconds into the song mimicking the incident, they erupted again.
Cox’s jokes continued, and as the sun set, the audience really started to groove, dreamily swaying to Deerhunter’s grungy vocals and layered, ambient noise pop.
Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest didn’t just perform songs — they performed anthems. Both parents and teens were able to let out any stored up angst, screaming along to Will Toledo’s wailing guitar and hoarse vocals, chanting about depressed parents and passing out on the floor. The show felt intimate, like the band was performing in the shitty, hole-in-the-wall joint in your hometown. Toledo was suitably awkward and unassuming, and it took him a few songs to get into his groove and let loose. But by the last song, three people were simultaneously crowd surfing, doing whatever they could to bask in all of his teen glory.
With each song, Beach House lured in the audience, slowly stacking layer upon layer of keyboard, bass and vocal lines. The band was dressed in all black, and the only stage design was a backdrop of a starry night — making it feel like they were taking the crowd with them on a trip through the cosmos. Beach House proved you don’t need fancy stage theatrics or flashing lights to captivate a crowd; their sound did all the work.
Everything in the set was calculated and intentional, but they still let themselves get carried away. Victoria Legrand brought fierce, scaling vocals, easily hitting some of her highest notes in “Sparks” and “Myth.” Improvised jam sessions made the band come to life, delaying the major turns in each song until the crowd practically begged for each drop.
Purity Ring lacked the depth in sound that Beach House brought to the stage, but they compensated with an incredible light design. Hanging from the ceiling were hundreds of string lights flashing in coordination with their set. Lead singer Megan James was royally dressed, getting lost in the lights and waltzing around the stage. But Corbin Roddick was the driving force behind the set, beating a booming, light-up drum throughout the performance.
But without their light show, the set wasn’t anything special, feeling somewhat prosthetic and artificial. Still, when James jumped into the audience with her microphone during the duo’s finale, the crowd surged toward her in an attempt to harness some of her radiant energy.