I wasn’t high when I entered the festival and got the photo pass from the media booth while holding no camera equipment whatesover on my body, and I wasn’t high when Youth Lagoon, with the mystic-blanket-covered keyboards and ombré-haired Trevor Powers, made Paul and Harrison show the first signs of life in the festival’s crowd — bouncing up and down like embodiments of joy outfitted in hip demeanor — but now, now I am high.
Who knew that two puffs of a joint (when held in the lungs for an exaggerated span to take in every last particle of THC) could actually get a frequent smoker a little fucked up. But yeah, here I am now at CHVRCHES jamming out and falling in love with the cute lead singer and every semi-attractive hipster girl within a visible range of distance. Later, Kayla and I are jamming the fuck out to Icona Pop, occupying our own dance stage in one of the pavilion rows. My body movements are displaying to everyone a nice, Look you hoes, I can fucking grooooove!!! Bet you didn’t know I could grooooove!!!!!, but no one except Kayla is looking or even dancing.
Another joint, thank God (Emily), comes around as Sigur Ros hits its peak and I’m not that high, but I nonetheless drift into an apocalyptic vision of terrifyingly vague faces surrounded by devastating strings and nonsense emotion words and I start to feel anxiety creep into my consciousness. Afterward, when the high starts to wear off, my throat opens up again to allow oxygen into the system as I float through a set from The National that I would appreciate more if I weren’t so goddamn sleepy and hungry or if I weren’t just nearly decapitated by Matt Berninger’s microphone chord.
— DAILY ARTS WRITER
Detroit is a lot greener than I remember. More hipsters, too. But whatever, I’m here with approximately the entire population of Kerrytown, and I’m ready to get my festival on. Hold up — $10 for shitty beer? WHY. Oh well, give me three, please.
NO ONE IS DANCING? But we are. WHY ISN’T ANYONE ELSE DANCING? I don’t want to be dramatic, but I think Warpaint just stole my heart. But wait, now Alunageorge has my heart. She’s wearing DIMEPIECE. And a sports bra that says “Baby Girl” on it?!! Andrew gives her a 4/10 so I send him 17 knife emojis.
We pause for a brief intermission so Emily can braid my hair whilst we sit on these hay couches. Who invented hay couches? I want to high-five you.
J.L. and I are the only members of our group going to Icona Pop because everyone else is a hater, I guess. BUT MAN THEY ARE MISSING OUT. We are still the only people dancing because Laneway attendees did not get the memo to go hard today methinks. That’s OK! J.L. and I are basically a sideshow during this Icona Pop set which is killer btw. Aino is wearing a metallic silver maxi dress (!!!) and Caroline is in high-waisted leather shorts and a red+black leather jacket — I need to tell Instagram! Now it’s Solange o’clock, and homegirl is a hundo-percent killin’ it. Did she just point at me? SOLANGE JUST POINTED AT ME.
K.G.R. says no one is allowed to talk about Sigur Ros because Sigur Ros makes him feel too many feels.
If I were to summarize Laneway in an emoji, it would definitely be the dancing twins. Or the dancing tango lady. Or the hearts-in-eyes cat. All of the above.
— KAYLA UPADHYAYA
Your first time is always a little awkward. Things are too big, things are too small and no one knows where anything is for sure. For its first go in the United States, St. Jerome’s Laneway Music Festival had all the markings of a first-timer. The music festival started in Melbourne, Australia and most recently added Detroit as its eighth location.
The inaugural experience, highlighted by performances by Sigur Ros and the National, was intimate to say the least. With only about 7,500 attendees, the comfort of easily spotting friends was outweighed by the awkwardness of tiny crowds at many of the acts. Solange and Icona Pop, two energetic shows by great performers, were made low-key by the enormous Meadow Brook pavilion dwarfing and spreading out the crowd.
Sometimes space is good — but for shows that are about jumping around and letting your 19-year-old drunk girl out, something is just off. This is to be expected with the first U.S. attempt, and sobriety certainly didn’t take the edge off the awkward. Note to self: Never see Sigur Ros sober. Ever.
— ANDREW WEINER