Sweetlife took place last weekend at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. The music and food festival expanded to a two day event this year, featuring both a wide range of performers and food. The food was delicious, featuring a doughnut, fried chicken sandwich and Korean bbq tacos.
The most talked about performance of the weekend was Kendrick Lamar’s headlining set on Friday night. The crowd in attendance had much less to say than rap forums online like Reddit’s Hip Hop and various media outlets. People were talking about two things: Kendrick’s lack of To Pimp A Butterfly songs, and the guest performers who joined Lamar on stage during m.A.A.d city. Well, I did get to see Billy Idol play Rebel Yell, that was an unexpected treat.
I saw Kendrick last year at Pitchfork, and his set at Merriweather Post Pavilion was nearly identical, except for the addition of “Alright”. Yet it was still engaging and he had the crowd hanging onto every word. However, now that I’ve seen him a second time, a third time would be a bit stale. First, he played “Money Trees”, followed by “Backseat Freestyle”, while performing “A.D.H.D” as an encore. His fans have him figured out and want to hear new songs. Seems a bit odd he hasn’t performed more accessible songs like “King Kunta”, or “i”.
To some fans’ dismay, Kendrick usually spends ten minutes running through m.A.A.d city a handful of times. This time was a bit different, and probably staged. First, Jonathan was pulled up on stage and struck out terribly, mumbling through the first verse. Turns out he is the CEO of Sweetgreen, the restaurant presenting the festival. Take that at face value. Next, he pulled up Ayanna. Her performance was a whole different story. Watch the whole thing below:
The second day’s lineup was a bit more balanced with artists ranging from Bishop Nehru to Wet to The Weeknd. First off, Bishop Nehru played to a small crowd, but performed confidently, playing a handful of cuts off his album with the legendary MF Doom. His show was laid back, but impressive.
Next up, I caught a bit of Sun Club’s set. Their take on indie rock isn’t anything new, however I did appreciate their energy and enthusiasm. Next up was DC native Gold Link who got the crowd going. The crowd started to grow at The Treehouse stage and rocked with Gold Link throughout his set. Wet took the stage after the DC rapper, and put on a solid show. The trio is one of my favorite indie pop groups. Their songs are simple, but captivating. After some technical difficulties, they started their set as they burned through “No Lie”, new single “Dead Water”, and “Move Me”. The crowd was a bit slim due to the fact Charli XCX was performing over at the main stage. Wet thanked the crowd for watching and said they wanted to catch a bit of Charli’s sent when they were done.
Soon, Chicago’s Vic Mensa took the stage. He performed a few features like “Cocoa Butter Kisses”, and even did a cover of Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happyness.” He only played for 25-30 then promptly left the stage. Both Banks and The Weeknd performed great sets to close out the day on the Treehouse stage. It was a bit odd to finally hear Abel perform songs off his first mixtape, House of Balloons, but his band along with the light show brought life to each track he played. The crowd already knew all the words to his new single, “The Hills”, and when he played “Earned It”, my eardrums burst due to the shrieks from the crowd.