We The Fest 2014: Ellie Goulding, Banks, and Miami Horror

We bought the tickets months ago, the second we knew that Ellie Goulding was going to be there, not knowing that We The Fest is pretty much the Cochella of Jakarta.

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In a classic example of “why-is-this-so-complicated,” we had to pick up our wristbands on Saturday, over 24 hours before the concert.  The process of getting the wristband was pretty painless, it was just the surprise extra step that was so annoying.  The wristbands were fabric, and all had RFID chips in them so that they could be scanned at the gate and would be harder to duplicate.

The lineup for We The West 2014 was pretty impressive:  Ellie Goulding was headlining, and she was backed up by Banks, Azealia Banks, and Miami Horror.    I have been obsessed with Ellie Goulding since hearing her song “The Writer” in 2010– I quickly converted my college paper’s production office into Ellie fiends (a fact I am quite proud of)– but I really hadn’t heard anything by Banks, and I was only familiar with a few songs by Miami Horror.  (I had heard of Azaelia Banks, but am mostly uninterested in her musical content and stylings…)  At the beginning of the two-stage festival, the one-hit wonder Timeflies played a short set as well.

Like all music festivals, a lot of standing was involved.  As my friend Will recently expressed in regards to a Phox concert he attended, standing somehow has become a weird way to experience music.  The majority of the shows I have gone to have been indoor gigs held in theatres: the focus becomes on intently watching a performance, absorbing the music with the majority of your energy.  Outdoor shows are not like this: energy is spent in swaying from foot to foot as you wait for the next artist, in trying to hold your own against the push of the crowd all around you, in–when the artist finally appears– dancing to the heavy bass lines.

Regardless of the inevitable foot numbness, it was worth it.

Miami Horror played a pretty rough set, but it wasn’t their fault– mic issues were the focus of the first three bands in the line up, and their were at the tail end of that scuffle.  They played all three of my favourite songs:  “Holiday,” “Sometimes,” and “I look to you.”

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Banks was surprisingly phenomenal.  She is like a mixture of Lorde’s edginess and on-stage awkward mixed with the anthemic overtones of Florence + The Machine’s latest.

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And, of course, Ellie was magical.  She played for almost an hour and a half, and, even though it was 12:05 by the time the show ended, it was worth every moment of waiting.  She played tracks from her debut album, as well as a her latest tracks from Halcyon Days.  Sadly, she didn’t play “The Writer,” but she did play “Guns and Horses,” which is almost as good.

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