Lots of Brotherly Love: Bastille, Foster the People & More Rock Philadelphia
Summertime=outdoor concerts. Lots of them. Thank. Goodness. So naturally, the first weekend I got home, I drove to Philly from the ‘burbs to frolic around the grounds of the Susquehanna Bank Center, an outdoor concert arena with a hhuuggee lawn just across from Penn’s Landing. The Center’s first big event of the summer season? Radio 104.5 Fest, aka a daylong concert featuring some of the hottest alternative artists right now.
For this festival, up-and-comer Kongos joined forces with Cage the Elephant and Third Eye Blind to get the show started. Following their performances was a show by Brit band Bastille, then Foster the People as the grand finale. By some act of incredible fate, the stars seemed to perfectly align for this line-up to come together. And I wasn’t questioning it.
First up: Kongos, a South African band comprising four brothers – Johnny, Jesse, Dylan, and Daniel Kongos. Since ’07, these guys have produced two high-energy alt-rock albums, and you bet they brought that same energy to Philly. After playing a selection of their songs from their album Lunatic, their current hit single “Come With Me Now” got the crowd pumped for more.
Up next? Cage the Elephant, a four-member group from Kentucky…and these guys seriously know how to perform. Lead singer Matt Shultz showed off his dance moves without a care in the world, and then crowd surfed multiple times as he performed. If that isn’t “entertaining,” then I don’t know what is. They tore it up with hits “Come A Little Closer”, “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”, and “Aberdeen”, and played a selection of other songs, met by much approval from the crowd in the form of screams, jumps, and fist pumps. It is safe to say that their high-energy performance continued the momentum in the right direction.
Following Cage the Elephant was Third Eye Blind, our favorite 90’s pop-alt band. Sure, these guys are older now, but they certainly aren’t past their prime. In between playing hits “Jumper”, “How’s It Going To Be”, “Graduate”, “Never Let You Go”, and “Semi-Charmed Life” (all ah-MAZING), lead singer Stephan Jenkins announced plans for a new album. Yes, yes, and yes.
After much anticipation (and after a looonngg wait), Bastille took the stage.
By this time, the sky was dark, but the arena lit up with the lights and energy from the band’s stellar performance. Bastille played their hearts out and sounded fantastic… even better than their studio album Bad Blood. And you better believe that when they played “Pompeii” the crowd absolutely LOST it. Seriously. Went. Nuts. And I was right there with ‘em, in awe of the adorable, talented, and of course British (*cue the swooning*) musicians before my eyes.
Last but far from least, Foster the People took the stage. The crowd roared with excitement as lead singer Mark Foster belted the words to hits “Coming of Age”, “Helena Beat”, “Houdini”, and of course, “Pumped Up Kicks”. Their stage topped all the others: with color-changing lights, LED light panel displays with cool graphics, and high-quality instruments, Foster the People certainly does a concert right. Their energy never stopped and kept the crowd going, even after the many long hours concert-goers spent in the sun. But with Foster the People on stage, how could you not be excited?
Without the stress of exams, papers, or other obligations at school, summer concerts are the perfect way to celebrate our freedom. Thanks to Radio 104.5 and a sunny day, I did just that. Mainly, the performers are what make a music festival great. In the City of Brotherly Love, these five groups were all sharing their love for music and performing with us…thumbs up. And as the Beach Boys once said (apropos for summertime), there were nothin’ but “good vibrations” all around.