Trillectro 2015 - Merriweather Post Pavilion - August 29, 2015
I'm going to be honest with you. I went into my first year of Trillectro with mixed feelings after gathering information from peers, associates, and the Internet. Created in 2012, the inaugural festival was held in Washington, DC and had a much smaller venue as well as an almost completely different line-up in terms of audience. Half of the people I knew were telling me to not waste my time as the year they went was "probably the best it would get." The other half was as unsure as I was. Fortunately, I made the decision to trek out to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland last Saturday for this year's festival.
So far in my 18 years, I've been to about eight or nine festivals across America. One thing that seems consistent for me is that the people I'm around dictate how much (or how less) I enjoy the festival. This still true at Trillectro as well. The day off with trying to get interviews that were scheduled firmed up accordingly. I ran into the 9:32 Club for a minute to see Ayes Cold kick off the festival. It's barely afternoon, and people are in the shed raving like it's Friday night at their first ever Steve Aiko show at Echostage. That was when I knew I had nothing to worry about, Trillectro would deliver. Ayes Cold finished her stellar set and the vibe for the rest of my day was set. After that, I stopped by the Mountain Dew stand, which was so conveniently placed the right by the media tent, picked up a delicious Black Cherry Kickstart shot and headed over to see DJ Native Sun.
Going into the festival, I only knew most of the rappers on the roster and barely any DJ's. DJ Native Sun obtained that "favorite set of the day" title from myself and other attendees I overheard as they were running out to the pit with huge smiles plastered on their face. He played a Genius remix of Jaden Smith's Fast, followed up a few songs later by some 90's R&B hits that had everyone around me singing along to 19-year-old Beyoncé.
After taking a trip around the venue, seeing a few of my favorite clothing and food vendors, experiencing the scenery, Masego was up. I was super excited to see him because earlier in the week I saw a refreshing clip of A guy playing the sweetest bit of saxophone I've ever heard, and it turned out to be him! Repping 757, I was excited to see what else this Virginia native will pull out of his hat. The creativity from Uncle Sego was that of someone you were so sure will be legendary. He hopped from instrument to instrument on stage, as well as taking the mic for a spin. I'm not sure the name of the song, but I was sold when he damn near started a "iPhone vs. Android" war with his lyrics about the products: "That's an iPhone man/ that's an Android man/ that's a Bluetooth man!"
After a few hours of helping our colleagues with some interviews, I was done just in time to catch Oakland songstress Kehlani. She performed songs from her first project Cloud 19 as well as from her latest You Should Be Here. My favorite part of her set was her introduction to her song Niggas. She had her dancers come out donned in doctors jackets and explained exactly what a fuckboy is, the symptoms, and side effects - just in case you were confused. Of course, the performance was just was entertaining and the intro. I was sad to see that she performed her song The Way without fellow performer Chance The Rapper, but you couldn't even tell he was missing from the way she gracefully carried her weight throughout the song. She ended with Alive, and has the whole crowd jumping along by the last chorus.
Again, I wasn't big on DJ's before the festival, but RL Grime also recruited me to his canvass. Although I only got to see him for a few minutes, I enjoyed every second of it. He combined plenty of genre's easily, making it clear that he actually knows what he's doing on that stage and how to attract a crowd. I wouldn't miss an opportunity to catch him in your city if possible!
Closing out the show was Chancellor Bennett, better known as Chance The Rapper. This was my second time seeing Chance and although he performed a lot of the same songs, it was like a new experience all over again. He opened with a few tracks from the mixtape that skyrocketed him to where he is today, Acid Rap. At this point, the crowd is warmed up after screaming lyrics to Pusha Man and Chain Smoker. He then goes on to ask how many day ones are in the building, referencing his first ever mixtape 10 Day. He performs Brain Cells, one of my favorites from him. The intimacy is at an all-time high during this song. He plays another track off of 10 Day, Hey Ma. He plays a song "you've never heard but you know every word to," Arthur's theme song. That was my favorite audience moment from the day. The entire crowd lit up and by the end, everyone from the pit to the lawn were screaming "Everyday it could be wonderful." Chance is known to be full of surprises, so it was delightful to see fellow Chicagoan Noname Gypsy bless the stage for a few songs. They performed songs Warm Enough and Lost, and I swear I heard every girl around me keeping up with Noname's skillful spitting like a piece of cake. This is what I mean when I say it's about the people. They then went on to set up a game of Connect Four to play while performing Israel (Sparring) for the first time ever. Chance tried to cheat by trying to pull a chip out of place, but of course my girl Noname came out on top. Their chemistry is ridiculous, something you can only wish for when freestyling bar to bar. Noname wished us well and left the stage for Chance to finish. After performing a few feature verses and a bit more from Acid Rap, he gave us a Good Ass Outro. Chance ended with Everything's Good, leaving the crowd in high spirits and positivity. There was no one better I can think of the close the festival.
Honorable mention: Dom Kennedy.
I've never heard anyone's name on Saturday much as I did Dom's. When I say everyone, I mean everyone was excited to see him. Unfortunately, I was not able to catch his set, but I will be sure to next time he's in town. I have a feeling I missed out on an amazing thing at his Trillectro performance.
Only thing is...: MORE GIRLS! There were only three girls on this year's lineup, and I can name about five more that would've fit in perfectly. I am hoping for a better female turn out next year!
Overall: A-. I'm sure if the festival heads back to it's roots in DC it will have even more atendees considering it's metro accessibility. Between that and adding more girl power to the line up, Trillectro will be taking over in no time! Thank you to Made In The District for all performance photos above.