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Laneway Festival Review – Meadow Brook Festival Sat. Sept. 14

This past Saturday at the expansive Meadow Brook Festival grounds, the Laneway Festival came to town and treated alternative music fans to a day of tremendous music, sights and fun. What follows is an account of my day at Laneway with photos I took at the show.

I arrived a little after 12:30pm where a good crowd had already gathered at the Derrick Stage for Haerts who had the earliest time slot of the day. I could hear music pouring from the stage as I pulled in, the Derrick and Roscoe Stages were just across the parking lot. Haerts played a good set of synth driven dance music.

I haven’t been too many festivals that had 2 stages right next to each other, but this was really genius planning by the folks at Laneway because as one band stopped playing, another band was getting ready to go on the next stage. The lineups were so strong at the Derrick and Roscoe I know a few people that remained there the entire day. I saw a bit of Youth Lagoon after Haerts on the Roscoe stage then ventured off to see the rest of the stages.

Youth Lagoon
The festival covered the entire grounds of Meadow Brook taking advantage of the hills and dips for other stage settings. The Meadow Stage wasn’t too far from the Main/Pavilion Stage. It was a smaller stage where I caught an AlunaGeorge afternoon set that sizzled with heavy dance grooves. Later, Run the Jewels (ELP & Killer Mike) stormed the stage with a set of hip hop and humor.

Run the Jewels
The Movement/Ghostly Stage was on the other side of the hill and brought a good size crowd the entire day to hear the more electronic inspired sets. I saw a bit of Heathered Pearls, Shigeto and a rousing show by Matthew Dear backed by a band and playing a fantastic live set of his music. Having only seen Matthew Dear DJ sets before I was very impressed with his live presence.
Matthew Dear

The Pavilion Stage is where I spent most my day as the large pit near the stage was open and made for a great spot to get up close. Shara Warden’s My Brightest Diamond was a great surprise as they opened their set with the Detroit Marching Band all donned in black and gold and Shara dressed as their section leader. Later, CHVRCHES, whom I consider to be the breakout band of the show, filled the Pavilion with their electrifying set. They really captured the crowd as hands were in the air and all of us were singing along. After a short break I came back to the Pavilion to see a fun set from Icona Pop. I think some people may have seen them as a puzzle piece that didn’t fit for the festival, but I thought they were very good at getting the crowd dancing and having a good time.

My Brightest Diamond

Icona Pop
I headed back to the Roscoe stage to check out The Dismemberment Plan, a band I have been wanting to see since the mid-2000s and caught them really shaking things up with their quirky indie tunes. Their set recalled how much I loved their Emergency and I album with the songs “Back and Forth” which really did have the crowd waving like they just didn’t care and closing the set with their emotional track “The City”. Washed Out started playing on the other stage but there were some sound issues so I ran back to the Pavilion to get a good spot for  Sigur Ros. 

The Dismemberment Plan
Sigur Ros
Ask anybody who has seen Sigur Ros and they will tell you seeing them is an amazing experience that is hard to describe but downright magical. I can now count myself in with that group. Sigur Ros were backed by strings and horns on a gorgeously lit stage and blinding screen images backing them. Lead singer, Jonsi Brigisson, plays the guitar in most songs with a bow with the other band members rotating around the stage playing various instruments.

The National closed out the night with everyone gathering at the Roscoe stage for their somber and moving set.  After a few songs the exhaustion of the day caught up with me and I made my way to the car and headed to the afterparty at the Crofoot…

The National
Laneway was probably the best time I’ve had at a festival, perfect weather, lots of good vendors and tremendous music. I can’t gage the attendance because the crowd was so spread out with all the stages, but I think (and hope) they got the numbers they were looking for. Everyone I talked to mentioned what a good time they were having and what a great festival it was, so I’m going to call it a great success and I cannot wait for Laneway 2014. 

The post by Mikel OD Pfeiffer of MPAD Media (check out that page later this week for people shots from the show).