Day one of Float Fest 2017 was a special kind of struggle. The big Texas skies seemed only to strengthen the sun reigning down on the bathing-suit clad masses. The triple digit heat was less of a problem, however, and more of a common bonding experience. Everyone had just two priorities: staying hydrated and having fun.
Kicking off the day were local Austin heroes, Blunt Force, who were truly a glory to behold. One part Trey Parker and another part Bassnectar, they leapt from genre to genre with ease, all the while effortlessly energizing the crowd. With the slickest sampling you could ever ask for and a drummer whose technical skills would be hard to outmatch, they are a perfect example of how genre tag descriptions sometimes just don't cut it.
It was a special treat to get a full dose of Lil Flip in that wicked Texas heat. The splendrous ease with which he performed made it clear that Texas truly is his home. The throwbacks didn’t stop and brought a much needed cool element to a crowd that certainly deserved it. One of the strongest aspects of Float Fest is that it doesn’t force you to pick. There are no competing time-slots, instead only a 3 minute walk brings you to the next artist picking up where the last left off. Much to that end, it was less about “who are we missing” and more “who do we get to see next?”
There’s not many words that can describe the swagger this legend brought to bear. Who else would be able to walk out in the triple digit heat decked in a god damn hoodie? He certainly didn’t sweat it, though. After all, he’s MIKE JONES. Slamming to the OG shit under the big Texas skies brought out a special kind of smile, and when he dropped "Back Then" there wasn't a soul who didn't belt out his infamous and unforgettable phone number.
As the day wore on and the fatigue started to rear it’s desiccated head, Snakehips stepped in to top the crowd off in some sweat. Their top notch productions were matched only by their willingness to switch sounds on a moments notice. We were blessed with their classic songs one moment and some "Return of the Mack" the next, creating a wild formless energy that remained cohesive and building throughout.
They took a special approach to your typical DJ set and it truly shined through on Saturday. The heat was trying it’s damnedest to cut the set short, unfortunately, even melting a mixer halfway through. But after some quick troubleshooting they got back up and powered through like the rest of us.
On the other end of that rollercoaster of a set was Neon Indian’s white decked ensemble spreading that special brand of shoe-gaze feels. Mastermind Alan Palamo packs a whole lot of energy into his slight frame, and he swayed his hips like some form of nu-electronica Elvis. Can't discount his shoe game, either, he was rocking some clean vintage reeboks that completed the front man look with authority. It’s not often that we get a chance to catch Neon Indian in person, and watching them sweet talk the sun down brought tears to the eyes of many. In a day full of memorable moments, this was a tough one to top.
On the same stage a short while later was the masterful Girl Talk at work. Let’s be clear, here, when he shows up to a party, all bets are off. His high energy mashups were just about the perfect thing to wrench some more energy out of the exhausted crowd. As if to cue the audience as to how to handle Girl Talk's slammers, he was flanked on the decks by about 30 party people simply there to dance as hard as he does. It was a glory to behold. One cool element of his show was his tendency to melt back into the on-stage crowd as soon as he would unleash his biggest drops.
After Girl Talk absconded with the party, Passion Pit was the perfect pick to sweep up the pieces. A very rare opportunity to catch them in Texas, the crowd went collectively bananas when Michael Angelakos took the stage. His hyper emotional and vulnerable stage presence never ceases to engage audiences, and although capturing the moment is a grand charter to bear, Passion Pit knew what they were doing.
As the evening wound down and the true depth of tiredness made itself known, it was a tough proposition to convince yourself that day two was a reasonable ask. But trust us on this, Sunday touched on little of the same themes as Saturday, leaving a refreshing final day for all those who powered through. Stay tuned for day 2 recap and a photo drop!