The collective of today's finest purveyors of radio-friendly indie played their guts out at the inaugural Coastline Festival in West Palm Beach this weekend like it was the last show of the year because, for many, it actually was.
The young crowd dawned their finest Teen Vogue-approved festival gear and lapped up every act on the bill with delight. Two stages were set up in perfect synergy so as soon as Capital Cities finished up at the main stage, you could run and catch Surfer Blood's full set at stage two. No down time made for a long and exhausting day for those that muscled through without pausing for a "nap."
Kicking things off on Sunday was South African act St. Lucia whose tropical Hawaiian shirt pattern perfectly matched the tunes being cranked out. A true modern twist on '80s synthpop, you could feel the festival rising in intensity around them. Throw in a little sing-a-long for the drummer's birthday, and Coastline got up and running.
Right on time, on the main stage, Capital Cities brought more instruments out than musicians. They played their hits and even taught us the Capital Cities shuffle before covering the Bee Gee's "Stayin' Alive." Hopefully, you had somebody holding your spot in the craft beer line, because there was zero down time after their set till the end of the day.
The groove was good for homegrown boys Surfer Blood who proudly played songs from both albums to eager ears. Even though chances are good you saw at least one member at Respectable Street last week, it's still a treat to hear these West Palm rockers live. Lead singer John Paul Pitts let it be known that his parents were amongst the concert goers, right after completely joining the crowd during his "favorite song in the entire world," "Take It Easy."
The food truck and craft beer lines went deep, so you should be ashamed of yourself if you went for the standard $13 chicken finger concert grease and $11 Bud Light tallboy. Festy kids know food and bevs are essential to one another and your good time, so the long lines became an excuse to make friends and trade vaporizers.
The Neighbourhood brought things down a notch with their mellow vibes, but that didn't steer anyone away. You either knew their entire record or had no idea who they are. And even though the young Cali boys did their best, their set was nothing compared to what followed.
Matt and Kim put on a wild show, exactly as anticipated. With more f-bombs and hip-hop interludes than a Drake show, this two person squad did more for the crowd than any other Coastline act. They announced that this show would be their last show of the year, but drumstick wielding Kim had a thing or two to say about that: "To me, this is the last show we will ever play because I live every motherfucking day like it's my last motherfucking day!"
And their performance reflected it. Kim stood on her drum set more than the floor of the stage, and the duo danced around, challenging us to have more fun than they were.
There was crowd-surfing aplenty at Joy Formidable, who fessed up that it was also their last show of 2013. After touring for years, lead singer revealed: "I think we have another record to write." The Coastline masses then got a second wind during Two Door Cinema Club, but it was headliners Passion Pit who finished off the night right.
Again, the Boston boys of Passion Pit proclaimed a year ending performance with a bit more nostalgia. "We have been touring for 16 months," said lead singer Michael Angelakos. "This is our last show in a very, very long time. Let's make it special." And special they did produce. With that, warm and tinglies ran through the crowd. We were a part of something memorable. Not just a show, not just an all-out one-day festival bonanza, but the close of a year of great music with the people that gave it to us.
Will this be the first and last year for the Coastline Festival? There's no way of knowing quite yet. But if the turn out and crowd participation have anything to do with it, then we're already salivating at the thought of a repeat.
Personal Bias: I listen to Passion Pit to get pumped up before going out.
The Crowd: High school kids surgically attached to their smart phones, people who couldn't believe this lineup came to West Palm, and parents that accidentally thought Capital Cities had just one song.
Overheard in the Crowd: "What's your GPA?"
Random Detail: Saw a girl in a sleeveless, midriff turtleneck. So many questions.
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