Loufest Day 1 Highlights
The beloved annual St. Louis festival Loufest returned to Forest Park yesterday for another weekend of great music! From up and coming indie artists to established music veterans, this year's lineup has it all. In addition to a stacked lineup, the festival also changed locations slightly, moving out of the center fields of the St. Louis park and towards The Muny. With it, the new location also brought some new attractions, like a new record shop to host artist signings, the United Healthcare sponsored Zen Den featuring yoga and hammocks, and more. The "Nosh Pit" of local restaurants also returned, as well as Market Square, full of locally sourced vendors... but the real focus of the day remained on the music across the three stages. From Middle Kids kicking the day off to Snoop Dog closing out the night, the first day of Loufest had it all. Here are the highlights of day one!
Middle Kids Read the Crowd’s Shirts
The Sydney based trio Middle Kids never disappoints with their live show, always providing some engaging banter between their indie rock narratives. During their early afternoon set, bassist Tim Fitz mentioned between songs that he kept reading the crowd's t-shirts, calling attention to one that said "Science is Real." After the shirt chatter, Middle Kids played a new song from their upcoming album in addition to songs from their self-titled debut EP, like "Old River," which shows off lead singer Hannah Joy's powerful and emotive vocal range. Their viral and most-streamed song "Edge of Town" was once again the crowd favorite, with the early festival arrivers singing along and jumping around during the song's building and dynamic bridge. There's no doubt that Middle Kids will soon be playing the later slots at festivals across the country if they continue to deliver as much as they already do.
Hippo Campus Played "Suicide Saturday" on a Sunny Saturday
Minnesota's Hippo Campus drew a large (and dedicated) crowd early on for their 2PM slot, the front few rows of the crowd screaming back the lyrics to the band. The crowd's energy amplified when the band played their most popular song "Suicide Saturday," which is already ironically upbeat, featuring a perfect sing-along melody for a festival. The title sounded even more out of place as a massive crowd danced and sang along to it with the perfect backdrop of a sunny Saturday afternoon. The band's hour long set kept the crowd engaged the entire time, lead singer Jake Luppen roaming the entire stage to jam with his bandmates and visit each side of the crowd. Live band member DeCarlo Jackson on the trumpet also added another layer to Hippo Campus's already vibrant performance.
Ron Gallo Thanked the Festival Sponsors
The Nashville via Philadelphia rocker Ron Gallo always brings the laughs and lighthearted humor to his live show, but don't underestimate the power of his message. Although he began his set by reading the stage name and thanking other festival sponsors off a piece of paper, reciting it all in a monotone voice for comedic value, Gallo and his bandmates immediately followed up with an intense jam session, waking up any of the festival stragglers just getting there at 6PM, or reenergizing those that had been their all day. Gallo also dedicated his song "Entitled Man Keep Your Hands Down Your Pants" to all the women of the crowd, using his music to convey the message that it's never okay to assault a woman, in any way. By not taking himself too seriously, but singing about and calling attention to serious issues both onstage and on his social media, Ron Gallo makes is easy for listeners to hear his message.
Cage the Elephant Maintained 110% Their Entire Show
There's never a dull moment during a Cage the Elephant show, and they proved themselves once again as they played during the sunset on Saturday night. From lead singer Matt Shultz jetting around the stage and bouncing back and forth in the manner of Mick Jagger, to his brother Brad Shultz jumping offstage and playing right at the crowd barricade in the second song, the band's energy never wavered. After playing hit after hit throughout their set, Shultz also took a moment to address the crowd about a serious issue, saying "Suicide is not cool, it should not be glorified," before telling the crowd he loved them all. The theme of the first day of Lou Fest seemed to be Rock'n'Roll with a powerful message, and Cage The Elephant delivered that ten times over.
Rainbow Kitten Surprise Worked the Stage
North Carolina's indie rock band Rainbow Kitten Surprise (don't let the name fool you) closed out the Tunespeak BMI stage on day one with their harmonies and dance moves. Drawing quite the crowd, their emotive and slightly theatrical set began with their popular song "Cocaine Jesus," which begins with the full band harmonousily singing a capella before launching into their full sound. Lead singer Sam Melo lent his theatrical, almost interpretive dancing style to his unique and distinguishable vocals during the entire set, hardly ever standing still for more than a second. Anything but mellow, Melo told the crowd that he likes to jump when he gets hot, and continued to zip from one end of the stage to another, spinning and using his hands to emphasize the music. In addition to the visual entertainment, the band sounded incredibly in sync and in tune.