Going out with a BANG

This year’s Bang Music Festival was a musical experience I’ll never forget. It all went down at the Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami this past weekend. Unfortunately there is no possible way for me to give you a complete rundown of all that happened – because there were five different stages.

This was my first music festival of any sort, so it was the first time I’ve been able to witness a diverse lineup on the main stage which included artists like Oh No! Oh My!, Common, Gnarls Barkley and Duran Duran to name a few.

Big Bang Radio opened up the main stage with a crowd of less than a hundred people. Although they were very into their music, the audience didn’t seem to react the same way.

The second act to hit the stage was Atomic Tangerine. Hailing from Orlando, Fla., the rock band performed songs from their 2005 album “Creatures of Habit”, ending their set with the drum driven anthem “Gravity.”

The last band of the day were a group to watch out for was Oh No! Oh My! After self-releasing their album online this year, the group’s buzz has led them to performing across the country with the likes of the Flaming Lips and others. The five member band has a unique sound and a stage presence that won listeners over by the end of their set. Expect to see them on MTV in the near future.

Up next was Common, who switched up his set by including a live band (violinist included). Wearing a shirt in memory of his friend J. Dilla, he kicked off his set with songs from his Grammy nominated album, “Be”, including the Kanye West produced single “Go.” The live band added another element to Common’s show, almost making the music more believable. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley followed shortly after with the same set he performed at UM’s homecoming a week before.

The group of the year, Gnarls Barkley, faced some unexpected criticism before their performance due to an hour and a half delay credited to “technical difficulties.” The crowd got so agitated they started yelling. Although the group’s front man, Cee-lo, and his producer/partner Danger Mouse arrived at the venue hours earlier, their apology didn’t seem to do enough damage control.

With the theme of Austin Powers, the group opened their set with high energy “Go-Go Gadget Gospel.” When introducing their hit single, “Crazy” from their debut album “St. Elsewhere”, Cee-lo told the audience, “This is a classic. It is the very reason why I am rich and famous today.” It was the truth, as Cee-lo has been in the game for over ten years, once with the group Goodie Mob and having released two solo albums before hitting it big with Gnarls Barkley. The audience, for probably the only time throughout the performance, was in full effect, singing every word to the song.

Modest Mouse was up next, with a short set compared to the other artists who took the stage before him. I felt a little out of place because I didn’t know who the band was until I heard the song “Float On” which received major radio and television play. The audience, on the other hand, knew every word and showed so much love to Modest Mouse.

The United Kingdom’s own Duran Duran closed the show with an hour long performance of some of their biggest hits of their career. For over twenty five years, Duran Duran have made a name for themselves with hits such as “Planet Earth,” “The Reflex” and “Union of the Snake”. The group is currently working on their next studio album, which will feature Timbaland and Justin Timberlake as collaborators.

If you missed this year’s Bang Music Festival, make sure you catch it next year.

Marcus Washington may be contacted at m.washington2@umiami.edu.