Bleachers and Bastille at Pot of Gold Music Festival
Bleachers and Bastille at Pot of Gold Music Festival
by Kaley Kurowski
When people think of music festivals, their minds automatically go to events like Coachella or Lollapalooza, but Luckyman Concerts gave those events a run for their money with the Pot Of Gold Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park this past weekend. The event featured over 30 bands over the span of four days, and Friday’s lineup included Joywave, Future Islands, Bleachers, AWOLNATION, Girl Talk, Chromeo, and Bastille.
Joywave opened the show to a decent-sized crowd in the early afternoon. They were really laid back and not what I was expecting from them, but I really liked them a lot. They were very similar to bands like The Griswolds, Smallpools, and Panama Wedding, which are three of the best new bands out there in my opinion. Future Islands were next on the bill, and they are very similar to bands like The War On Drugs and Phantogram, with a more indie vibe than Joywave.
Bleachers were one of my favorite bands of the night. I’ve been a fan of Jack Antonoff since his start with the band fun., and I was really looking forward to their set. Antonoff came out to cheering fans and an overly enthusiastic crowd, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. They opened with their song “Wild Heart”, which is the same song they open their album with. They played other tracks from their debut album Strange Desire, such as “Rollercoaster”, “Shadow” (my personal favorite), and their most popular song “I Wanna Get Better”. There was something so magnetic and electric about their set. They have such a unique, resonating sound that sticks in your head in the best way possible.
The sun was setting just to the left of the stage right in the middle of their set, and it was just one of those overwhelming moments where things can’t seem to get any better. Words can’t adequately describe the feeling of that moment – it was just something you had to be there to experience. If you ever get the chance to go see Bleachers – DO IT.
After the chill vibes Bleachers put off during their run, the crowd needed a little pick-me-up to get hyped back up before the rest of the acts, which was exactly what Girl Talk did. They’re a DJ duo that basically just put on a ridiculous, crazy dance party for over an hour. There were toilet paper guns, bubbles, and giant inflatable shoes among other things. They really got the crowd energized and ready to take on the rest of the night. AWOLNATION followed Girl Talk, which was absolutely incredible. The bass during their performance made everything on the festival grounds shake, but it was so worth it once they played their most famous song, “Sail”, and the crowd went absolutely insane (as you would expect). Chromeo was next up after AWOLNATION, and they were definitely more than I had expected from them. I had only heard a couple popular songs from them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. They were the perfect mix of energetic and laid-back, which helped ease everyone back into the chill mindset in preparation for the headliner that night, Bastille.
Bastille are one of my favorite bands, and I can’t believe the success they’ve achieved through the release of just one album. They came out swinging Friday night with their song “Bad Blood”, which is definitely one of my favorite songs to jam out to. They played tons of my other favorites from their record, such as “Laura Palmer” and “These Streets”.
The crowd favorite was definitely when they launched into a cover of “No Scrubs”, originally sung by 90’s group TLC. It was a moment where the whole crowd, loyal fans and new faces, were able to sing along to a well-known track. Everyone went really hard during that song, and it definitely brought the group together to enjoy the rest of their set.
One of the highlights of the night was when Dan, the lead singer, put his hood on and ran into the crowd while singing “Flaws”. He started at one side of the stage, hopped the barricade, and walked in a giant circle all the way around the outside of the crowd, stopping once in a while to jump and dance with fans along the way. Another one of my favorite moments was when they played “Of The Night” and they told everyone to get low to the ground during the verses, and when the chorus dropped in, every single person in the festival jumped up and down at the same time. It was cool to see so many people doing the same thing at the same time, and it was another one of those moments where even if you hadn’t heard the song before, you were still able to participate and have a good time.
The band ended their set with their most popular song “Pompeii”, which is always a banger. Even if you haven’t heard of Bastille or any of their music before, you have heard that song, and everyone was able to sing along to at least a part of it.
Good friends, good vibes, and some seriously good music surrounded the festival the entire day. The people at Tempe Beach Park and the organizers and vendors who participated did a great job of making sure the festival went off without a hitch and was enjoyable for everyone who attended. For it being the first year of the festival, it was as though it had been going on for years, and I’m stoked to see where it goes in the future and whether or not it grows to rival festivals as big as Coachella or Lollapalooza. Either way, it’s great to see so many festivals starting to pop up in the Phoenix area and watch how wildly successful they all are. I think this is just the beginning of the festival scene in Arizona, and I’m thankful and excited to be a part of it.