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Live Review: #FEST

Athens, OH / Saturday, April 12, 2014

By Kyle Rutherford, Staff Writer

Growing in size each year, the annual #FEST presented by Prime Social Group was yet another fun and muddy time in the middle of a field in its 12th installment this year. The showers the day before the festival, as well as the swamp created by the rainy Hoopla in the Hills two weeks prior, created mud pits around the stage, in front of the gates and around the areas where fest-goers set up their tents. Aside from the typical insanity created by attendees, the musical aspect was full of memorable performances.

One of the few acts representing Ohio University was DJ/producer Entel. The 20-year-old music production student played a steady house set as people started to trickle into The Venue.

Following him was Yacht Club., a three-piece “live” EDM group from Columbus. Its performance style was a bit shaky and there were some technical issues with the sound, creating a boring and unmemorable performance. The best part of the set was when a few friends came out and rapped along with the group.

Next out was Captain Kidd, a six-piece indie pop group out of Columbus. Its music was fun and bouncy--something fairly different from the normal hip-hop and EDM typically present at #FEST.

Jola the Trunk Boi from Dayton followed the indie-poppers. His set wasn’t much of a performance but more of a party. Throughout his 30-minute set, he probably played three or four of his own songs with the rest of the time spent talking, dancing to music with his friends and giving out small cups of Frosted Flakes mixed with Hennessey, called a “Jola Shot.” About 75 percent of the Hennessey was poured onto a girl in a bikini twerking in front of the stage.

One of the biggest surprises of the day was The Runners, a DJ/production duo out of Miami, Fla. Their resume includes producing music for Rick Ross (“Hustlin”), Shakira and the music for the America’s Most Wanted intro. The two played an energetic set full of dirty electro house edits and originals. The ravers in the crowd were surprised and blown away.

Vic Mensa, an up-and-coming rapper hailing from Chicago, kept the crowd moving with an energetic hip-hop set. Stalley was up next, a signee to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music label and another Ohio native. Extremely talented and with quality music, his set marked where people stopped drinking in the back and started to move toward the stage.

Funky as hell, Griz was easily the biggest surprise for much of the crowd. As his electro soul set began, the crowd started to groove, but when he broke out his saxophone and multiple joints, everyone went ballistic. Much of his set included original tunes like “Blastaa” and “Smash the Funk,” as well as his remixes of Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” Random inclusion of classic funk songs kept the crowd guessing, including “Play That Funky Music,” “We Want The Funk” and “Shout,” which included footage of The Isley Brothers performing the song in Animal House.

After waiting 45 minutes past his scheduled start time, Wiz Khalifa, donned in all white, took to the stage. The lanky 26-year-old was a master of crowd pleasing and interaction. Jumping around the stage, interacting with his band and creating theatrical moments were just a small portion of what his performance consisted of.

His set list consisted of music from all across his career, including singles like “Black And Yellow” and “Roll Up,” mixtape tracks like “The Thrill” and recent tracks like “We Dem Boyz.” Frequently shouting out “Taylor Gang or Die” and talking to the crowd about life struggles and marijuana, Khalifa has really made his performance style into a true art that even those who aren’t big fans of him can enjoy.

Closing out the night was DJ Carnage, one of the biggest names in EDM trap music today. His aggressive bass music and dirty electro house was the perfect closing set for the festival. Playing tracks like Showtek’s “We Like To Party,” his own “Mara” and “Krakatoa” and many of his famous “festival trap remixes,” Carnage successfully blew everyone away as he closed things out and made fest-goers begin their countdown for next year.

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