Wavefront Fest, Day 3: Damian Lazarus, Jamie Jones, Nico Jaar shine
Up until Sunday, Wavefront’s crowd seemed generally disinterested in who was playing, concerned instead with the overall vibe: Main Stagers wanted to fist-pump in unison and pass inflatable animals over their heads (most symbolically, a killer whale with a monkey on its back); the crowd at The Cube, the smaller stage where DJs like Danny Tenaglia and Dubfire got down, wanted to groove in the sand, occasionally taking a beach chair break. But, on Sunday, the act was the thing. With a lineup that included underground heroes from across the globe, the crowd had clearly turned up with specific sets in mind.
Those who came to experience Lee Burridge’s party/project All Day I Dream were disappointed to find that, despite being scheduled for a full day at the Groupon Stage, the ADID crew was nowhere to be found. Rumor had it that the placement of the small stage – close to the entrance, away from the main traffic of the other stages and among the rented carnival rides – didn’t impress Burridge when he did a walk-through the night before (we can’t blame him).
The Oasis Stage, also poorly situated (behind the Legends tent, which was mostly empty on Sunday, and between the Main and Cube stages) and quite small, nonetheless lit up for D.C. duo Benoit & Sergio’s buoyant synth-pop-house (check their remix of Hot Natured’s “Reverse Skydiving” for a taste), especially when they dropped spoken samples big-upping Chicago house. The front row fist-pumped and hooted like a Main Stage crowd when a DJ drops “Atom.”
The Cube’s sound rig must have been EQ-ed overnight: the stage already packed the festival’s best sonic wallop, but Damian Lazarus’ bass had a particularly voluptuous boom, especially for as-yet-un-IDed vocal (Unless you know it? Tell us!): “How could you take it so quickly from me / Give your love to another.” A small but up-for-it Get Lost crew – girls in sailor hats and pin-up-red lipstick, boys in lace-up jock straps – lived for each new kick drum, dancing alone and with each other and probably with Lazarus in their minds.
Jamie Jones segued perfectly from Lazarus’ honey-coated gut-punches into his own bedroom house, dropping (at least in part) the house classic that most informs the Hot Natured crew’s particularly randy vibe: Raze’s “Break For Love.” Lee Foss joined him for the set time that supposed to be HN live, but visa issues kept third member Luca C out of the country. The Cube crowd – now sandy, sunbaked, and toasted in other ways too – seemed happy with whatever they got of the nouveau-house heros.
Justice might have closed out Main Stage The Wave, but Nicolas Jaar served up the real festival closer back over at Oasis. For a front row that include fan boys snapping pictures, girls staring dreamily and all varieties of eager dancers, Jaar let loose waves of toxic fuzz, blips of bliss, and the occasional vocal warble in an unpredictable, on-the-fly set that lived up to his boy-genius mystique. For a guy often labeled aloof, he worked hard, living inside the waveforms on his laptop screen and throwing his body into each new sound. After three days of hiking through sand, chugging beer and dodging bleeding beats from every stage, Jaar’s coolly confident set was a balm.
Photos by Daniel Boczarski for wavefrontfestival.com.