Being unique in an ever changing world isn’t like it used to be. I mean how many variations can we find for the same thing? The festival world tends to have a very similar way of curating its artists over the course of the same summer. For this reason, boutique festivals have become a new place to look for the big talent that excites us and an avenue in which to discover talent that we would never have considered before. Couple that thought with an amazing venue and you have the mix for something great!
MAMBY has made this kind mark on the Midwest, if not National, festival circuit unlike any other boutique music event. With so much great talent out there creating the best blend with the most engaging over all experience has become an art in and of itself. React Presents has, in most resent years, increased their game on this level and with the visual creatives that they have partnered with in BAM Creates have created of the most engaging festival experiences that’s being offered to us this summer.
One of the top enthralling performances of the weekend definitely goes to Bishop Briggs. After playing the Pre-Mamby party at SoHo House the night before day one Bishop Briggs brought a force to that stage that definitely will land her a headlining spot very soon. The power of her voice was complimented by the simplicity of her style. Her whole band gave the perfect support for her to blow up that stage. K Flay, Lany, Black Madonna, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down and Wild Belle gave killer performances each, adding to the female power of the weekend which Santigold rounded out splendidly on Sunday night, but let’s not get to far ahead of ourselves. If you found yourselves in the midst of debate as to whom would win out over the battle for bodies, you weren’t alone. I knew that Kaytranada would have to wait this time as I was bound to be bouncing back and forth between Thomas Jack and Hanna Wants. I ended up sticking with Thomas Jack as I knew that later that evening I would see Hanna Wants at Evil Olive. And woah! The Hanna Wants after party was packed and off the hook! Evil Olive, one of Chicago’s hottest venues, is fantastic on really any given night of the week, but that night held no comparison.
Back on the sands of Oakwood Beach, however, Thomas Jack was melting faces with amazing mixes, as he is known for. Now, from that point I set my photographer loose to catch Wilde Belle, whom he has never seen live, but since I have, as great as they always are, Shiba San and Lido were calling, so, I had to answer. It was no surprise as half the fest answered that same call as soon as they heard Chance the Rapper showed up surprising us half way through Lido’s. Getting close to the end of the set I left Chance and Lido to finish my hour with Shiba San. I passed by the restroom/market/food area and noticed, even in my hurry, how well organized and clean they all were. Things that you go “hmm”. Now, after Shiba the crowd again faced an yet another first world decision: Atmosphere?…or Tycho? BOTH! Duh! That was the Beauty of Mamby; how easy and short of a walk it was to make it to the sets that matter. In the case of this fest, pretty much all of them were gold, but that’s what made it so fun and so difficult to decide.
Three roads diverged on a yellow beach,
And sorry I could not travel all,
And be one traveler, well I preach
And stood long to look and listen, to each
Milky Chance, Tale of Us, and Animal Collective. I can’t even begin to explain how my head was exploding. I think I spent more time passing through the boulders that lined the beach just before the “MAMBY” Plant Sculpture (another amazing piece courtesy of BAM) then with my friends broken into their separate factions. I mean I love my Festie Crew, but, dude, there was music happening everywhere and I was like a kid I an audio candy store. I had to keep moving. I will happily admit that I ended at Milky Chance that evening. It’s impressive how well they can jam! Their set was poignant, energetic, and super professional. Even while they were temporarily upstaged by the fireworks they vamped throughout the whole display and as soon as the last cherry popped they sucked you back into the noise and made the masses dance like it was their very first time.
Day two: I kicked it off as soon as doors opened with some Yoga that was offered. But I wasn’t going to miss INPHINITY. Nothing like dancing to a sick House set to wake up my body after a morning stretching session. After that, I pretty much didn’t leave the MIXMAG DJ Tent the majority of the day
Marcus Marr! Woot! That boy has got something! And although Chet Faker, whom we saw later on, helped bring him more into the lime light with their collaborative EP Work, Marr gave us some sick quirky funky stuff on a crazier level than I have wrapped my mind around yet. Be on the lookout and listen. Steve Bug was a blast back. Having grown listening to him because of my club head brother I couldn’t believe his set was so evolved and heavier hitting. Continuing with our city’s own Derrick Carter, I was a happy clam. Never doubt the man’s mixes…never! You know who you are.
With all these names flying around this page and on the stage that weekend it was nearly to an end. I hope Chromeo won’t be JEALOUS but it was the first opportunity to see my hometown hero Lupe Fiasco. I found him late into his game but I was front and center that night. Dude had that crowd in the palm of his brilliant hands. I was proud to make that choice. Now, I knew that I was to see Loco Dice and Martinez Bros. at the MID that night so I made the move to Chet Faker.
I went back to Santigold. I did. But after seeing her twice in New Orleans I had to spread the love around. So I went back to Chet just in time for the EP set with Marcus Marr. And man! It was better than the recordings! Of course! Did they play Gold? Hell yeah. Learning from your Love? Dude! The Trouble with Us? STOP IT! I don’t know much but I know there was a lot of people going home after that set to practice making babies. MAMBY was off the hook. And gonna be real hard to beat!