Foster the People and Bleachers rocked DC at the 2017 All Things Go Fall Classic!
With any music festival spanning multiple days, there are so many details involved in the planning and logistics to make it work, it may seem unfair to take any sort of critical eye to the endeavor (unless you’re involved in Fyre Festival). The organizers of the All Things Go Fall Classic deserve special props for giving DC it’s very own music festival, right in the heart of the city. And having it run smoothly and without major hiccups – from my Day 3 vantage point.
Let’s look at which bands we caught and what was good or not so good.
Now, Now @ 4:15pm – From Minneapolis, the indie rock band put on a fun, energetic set. Cacie Dalager, with her pink hair and trucker hat, led the way on vocals, but it was the rock pulsing efforts of the other band members that had me and much of the crowd nodding along. The band also has Bradley Hale on drums, and Cacie and the other member’s favorite move was to all jam out on their guitars facing Bradley. This collective circle seemed to inspire them to greater and louder, bass heavy riffs. They also tried to get the crowd in on a Macarena-style butt wiggle, which found pockets of willing participants.
Betty Who @ 7:00pm – I spent much of this set walking around the food section or in line for more cider, but I thought the choreographed dancing between this pop songstress from Australia (Jessica Anne Newham – aka Betty Who) and her back-up dancers was an interesting choice which got the crowd attempting to emulate them.
Bleachers @ 8:30pm – Jack Antonoff, starting the night off with a jean jacket (nice), had a good time performing his Bleachers songs for us, especially from the new album released this year, Gone Now. The band also performed a cover of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl”, which as far as crowd sing-alongs go, may have caused minor earthquakes if any more people could have fit in the space. (RIP Tom, the USA keeps losing its greats.)
I last saw Jack (also of fun.) play an acoustic set at the Firefly Music Festival in 2016, and it was good to see him once again, this time in full Bleachers mode. They ended the show with the new (throwback to the 80’s) hit “Don’t Take the Money’, even stopping the song completely and restarting just so we knew how powerful love is. Before that however, they brought the house down with “Wanna Get Better”, their biggest hit (and one of my favorite songs in recent years). Even before that they played 11 more bold songs that may have won the All Things Go weekend, if it hadn’t been for…
Foster the People @ 10:15pm – The indie rock band from Los Angeles returns after a three-year hiatus! With the name of their third album, Sacred Heart Club (which came out in July), emblazoned in shifting neon behind them, they ratcheted up the energy levels even higher for the dancing hordes in front of them. Perched safely under the roof of the Dock 5 building’s walkway, I missed when the rain started to fall in earnest. There were moments when the stage and show lights bounced or moved just right so you could see the rain drenching those in the main crowd, otherwise that was not a factor in my enjoyment of the show.
Foster the People is Mark Foster (vocals), Sean Cimino (guitar), Isom Innis (keyboards) and Mark Pontius (drums). They did a great cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” towards the end of the set, but for the most part they wowed the crowd with a mix of their hits, like “Helena Beat”, “Coming of Age” and “Don’t Stop”; and new songs like the funky, slow-swaying “Doing It For the Money” and the psychedelically charged (and Justin Timberlakesque) “Harden the Paint”.
Mark took a few minutes to address ‘the knot in his stomach’ and to use ‘joy as a weapon’ against the hard times we are facing, specifically the tragedy in Las Vegas, while playing a quiet, seated version of “Love”. After they had played their sacred hearts out for 16 songs and exited the stage, the crowd started chanting for them to play the one song that put them on the map, “Pumped Up Kicks”. But they never returned and as the lights went up, the crowd milled about before departing with mixed emotions. It was the right choice, once you’ve actually remembered the lyrics and processed Mark’s poignant message during the show. Kudos for taking the high road.
All Things Good
- I witnessed four bands/artists I had never heard perform live, including two I was very excited about: Foster the People and Bleachers.
- The opportunity to enter the festival, leave and come back in is always appreciated for any day-long event.
- The food choices, though not many, were interesting. I went with the barbeque from the BBQ Bus stall, but was also intrigued by the Buredo and Maketto stalls. A brick and mortar Buredo (sushi in a burrito) is opening soon on H Street NE.
- The raised walkway along the front of the Dock 5 building was an excellent vantage point to watch the bands, and to miss the pouring rain!
- Outside of Sunday’s lineup (Day 3), I was not inspired by the musical acts. That is my own musical preference for sure. I decided to see a different concert on Saturday and rest my eardrums on Friday (saving myself for the onslaught of upcoming shows in October).
- Heineken! Why does any festival serve mostly Heineken? Ugh! And they were sold out of all other beers except Heineken and Strongbow Gold cider (which was quite good).
- Given the confines of the space and that there was only one stage, there was little to distract the revelers in between sets. (Again that you could leave and come back was a huge plus.)
All things contemplated, a fine day of music.