NXNE 2017 Day 2: Kaytranada’s music speaks for itself

Day 2 got political. LA-based pop act MUNA added in anti-Trump lyrics while performing “I Know A Place” (“He’s not my leader even if he’s my president!”) and indie-pop band Bleachers offered a belated apology for the States, quickly adding that they weren’t “some Jill Stein motherfuckers. Fuck Jill Stein!”

 

HIGHLIGHTS

MUNA

Lead singer Katie Gavin danced her way onstage, almost tumbling over in the process. She picked herself up and belted out a tune. This set the scene for the rest of MUNA’s performance—carefree and wild, yet still confident and powerful. Gavin floated in and out of falsetto while guitarists Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson jammed along with an easy-breezy attitude that made even heartbreak feel empowering. They were able to sing a song like “Crying On The Bathroom Floor” while still making it danceable and not as pathetic as such an act would usually make someone feel. From their chaotic dance moves to their ‘90s-inspired style, there’s nothing shy about these girls.

 

Bleachers

Being one of the more well-known acts, the New Jersey-born Jack Antonoff, known better as his stage name Bleachers, drew in a heftier crowd than most acts that day. Yet Antonoff managed to make his set feel more intimate, speaking to the crowd between songs as if we were all in a cozy coffee shop. But Bleachers’ energetic pop music wouldn’t fare in a café-like environment. Even more somber songs like “Everybody Lost Somebody,” which is about his sister who died when he was 18, made heads bob and hips sway.

Antonoff and his band also covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way;” a treat for any old soul or for anyone who didn’t know Bleachers’ music too well. Several of his songs were accompanied by a sonorous yet soulful tenor saxophone, like in “Everybody Lost Somebody” and “I Miss Those Days.” Bleachers performed with an unapologetic attitude; the only thing Antonoff apologized for was his home country’s current political climate.

 

Tinie Tempah

Despite being a name that most North Americans haven’t heard since 2010’s “Written In The Stars,” Tinie Tempah’s set drew a surprisingly large and energetic crowd. Wearing a brightly-patterned mustard blazer and matching shorts, he rapped over genre-bending beats, from the trap-inspired “Holy Moly” to the EDM-tinged “Girls Like.” Tempah also didn’t forget to shout out his hometown London at the end of every breath.

 

THE HEADLINER

Kaytranada

Montreal-based DJ Kaytranada closed the second day with a medley of remixes and original songs. Besides sometimes greeting the audience and the occasional dab, he rarely called attention to himself during his nearly two-hour set. Beach balls and Sephora-branded glow sticks flew in the air as the crowd danced. The atmosphere was much calmer than Post Malone’s crowd until glow sticks started flying on stage, causing Kay to stop the set entirely at a point in his performance, shouting, “Let’s party like normal people, guys!”

Nevertheless, one track flowed into the next as he played a variety of artists, ranging from Chance the Rapper to Janet Jackson. The set ended with a flurry of applause when his remix of Jackson’s “If” came on, the track that catapulted him into fame back in 2012. Although he was added as a replacement for Tyler, the Creator in late May, you couldn’t tell from his performance—he was meant to be there.

 

Day 2 in food

Crispy fries from The Ultimate Food Truck were good enough, but the most memorable part was their steep price tag of $6.

All images by Celina Gallardo. With files from Celina Gallardo and Victoria Shariati.