Wale hit the stage in his native D.C., making sure to shout out the city and its legacy on more than one occasion. It could've bordered on sappy, but Wale is a pretty hilarious guy: Banter focused on stage dives, new songs and partying. If anything, Wale's was the most fun set on day one.
Ex Hex, fronted by Wild Flag and Helium’s Mary Timony, opened the first annual Landmark Music Festival on the main stage. It’s a tricky spot to be in, but they managed to attract a surprisingly large crowd so early on in the day: It’s their rockin’ ‘tudes and unforgiving riffs that convinced even the most cynical of concertgoers to bop along.
Nate Ruess has one of the most interesting voices in pop; His falsetto seems to know no bounds. Live, he’s able to carry these extremely difficult tunes while running around a festival stage—our conspiracy theory is that he has an extra lung…or something. Ruess ripped through his solo material and some fun. favorites for a memorable early evening set.
Landmark Music Festival boasts of a pretty eclectic lineup, which makes it differ from the indie–heavy gigs of early summer. The D.C. event made sure to make sure everyone was happy, so the Pitchfork-readin’ crowd were blessed by a gorgeous War on Drugs set. These songs are great on record, but they find new, real life on stage.
While most of the guitar bands at Landmark exist in indie rock territory, Manchester Orchestra brought a math-y, emo feel to day two. Performing underneath a banner that simply read “COPE,” the group powered through songs of heartbreak and warmth early on in the afternoon. If anything, it felt necessary.
Sometimes you just need to dance in the early evening! Chromeo held themselves (and their set) like it was 3 AM in a Berlin club and expected the crowd to do the same. When you have as much energy as they do, it’s easy to play along.
Chvrches, a few years ago, might’ve fallen victim to buzz cycles and hype machines. They were thrown into indie celebrity early on in their existence, but managed to never let it affect their vision. They’re still here, and they’re better than ever. Live, they exude a certain confidence that leads us to believe that they will be here for a long, long time.