Buku Rages On
Buku Music Festival Preview
By: Anna Smith
As energy ramps up for an amazing summer, we couldn’t be more excited to kick off the 2013 season with one of the more progressive Gulf Coast festivals: The Buku Music + Art Project. Happening March eighth and ninth in New Orleans, LA. Buku returns for their sophomore year hosting smallish crowds and stellar stage views from Louisiana’s very own Mardi Gras World. This year Buku brings killer sound you would expect at a mega fest, while still managing a more intimate festival experience. We wouldn’t expect anything less to throw down a raging, EDM centered lineup that is both diverse and established. We’re impressed.
Lettuce blocks an early set Friday evening to start things off. Seasoned vets of the funk and soul scene, this seven-piece fusion delivers a relentless groove. Pulling from funky bass lines and smooth brass; these guys mix the traditional with reggae dubs and even a little futuristic psychedelia. Lettuce’ feel good grooves will get you loose on a solid state of mind just in time to get your face melted by Flux Pavillion.
Flux Pavillion (English Dubstep producer and DJ, Josh Steele) goes hard every time, period. Be prepared to get punched in the face with out-of-this-world bass drops and hard hitting trap beats we all know and love. Flux is everywhere these days inspiring countless samples and remixes from artists including fellow headliners, Datsik and Major Lazer. Do I hear an impromptu sit-in coming on? We can only hope. Don’t be discouraged by the early set time. Rage this set as a solid favorite.
As for the hip-hop game, Friday’s lineup has a few names to note. First off is Earl Sweatshirt. He comes to Buku solo, from Los Angeles based hip-hop group, Odd Future. This kid was born to a South African poet, explaining his word flow that seems effortless. Earl’s poetic buttery lyrics take the focus from down-tempo, low-key gangster beats. He’s hot talent and because most of his available music is collaborative, it will be awesome to see what he does with a solo set.
Flying Lotus (Steven Ellison) comes at Buku with experimental, melodic, flowing rhythms backed by futuristic beats and choppy synths. Each show is a unique experience as Ellison cuts and mixes his beats into a smooth and choppy flow. It just sounds so good.
If you’re in to Flying Lotus, you’ll slide easy into Shlohmo. Hip-hop based producer Henry Laufer lays down solid dream-like tracks, each with a smooth, understated rhythm all their own. Imagery is strong with these ambient beats, close your eyes and chill it out before crashing in to Zedd.
As one of the most noted artists in the EDM scene today, Zedd holds an incredible fan base loyal to the last drop. With an impressive musical background spanning several acoustic genres, Zedd settled into the digital world in 2009 collaborating with the likes of Lady Gaga, Skrillex and Armand Van Helden. His musical knowledge stands out as glitch beats pulsing through his raging, chart-topping dance tracks.
Break Science debuts in the ballroom at a coveted 10:45pm set time kicking off Friday’s late night acts. This Brooklyn-based duo has us getting down on the daily, slinging some of the most seamless Livetronica out there today. Positioning themselves alongside top names in the industry (Wu Tang Clan, Pretty Lights Music) their production is on another level, layering different frequencies and textures that are incredible in them selves. Mix them with live drums and keys, Break Science throws it down making your body move and your spirit fly. Don’t miss it because these guys kill it.
The Saturday schedule holds such a strong lineup, it’s no wonder day passes are already gone. Feel blessed if you snagged one because this day is going to go off.
Gravity A opens The Ballroom with a charged, ambient groove that can hold you present and take you anywhere. Think Disco Biscuits, this jam band packs electronic beats and diverse intersections of key and guitar heavy jams. Bring your groove shoes and hula-hoops for this one.
Alt-J stacks in bringing a captivating, entrancing sound packed with a steady stream of underlying bass. We cannot wait to see what they bring at a live show. The English Indie rockers play with dub-pop and soaring folk-inflected lyrics so meaningful we might cry. It will be a beautiful set at The Ballroom stage, which has been revamped to offer a cleaner sound and undulating bass waves. Really, this is a set not to miss.
Kendrick Lamar’s set will absolutely go off. With his poetic lyrics and production backing from Dr. Dre’s label, Aftermath, Lamar’s beats deliver unrivaled, clean and clever hip-hop. Originally from Compton, California, Lamar has been making music since 2003.
Rolling in after Lamar we have the hottest Livetronica act on the scene right now, Big Gigantic. This duo’s 2013 festival season schedule is crazy packed as headliners, and we know Big G deserves it. No other act compares to their saxophone-fueled builds and dirty electronic drops. Their ever-evolving light production changes on the regular, pioneering intricate ways of showcasing Dominic Lalli’s sexy sax and Jeremy Salken’s epic drum kit. It’s madness and it’s awesome, a guaranteed good time.
Passion Pit comes in next packing the mainstream power into Buku’s Saturday schedule. Playing sold out tours to hipster-packed stadiums around the world, Passion Pit knows how to please a crowd. Their sets deliver every bit of their bouncy, lighthearted electro pop sound you hear on their album, but live.
STS9 brings the mecca of Jamtronica experiences to the Mississippi River with two sets. This year, we couldn’t imagine a better setting than at The Float Den. This stage is dropped inside the where house where all the Mardi Gras floats are made, making for an unmatched fantasy realm atmosphere. The professionals of mind and music exploration will no doubt deliver a melodic, soaring trip that hits all levels of consciousness. This is going to be a circus, be there.
Another electro pop group gaining momentum this year is Dragonette. A highly polished, chart-topping group, Dragonette continuously evolves their sound with each project. Made up of singer/songwriter Martina Sorbara and husband, bassist Dan Kurtz (formerly of New Deal), the Canadian group’s single, “Hello”, exploded world wide in 2011. This music radiates cutesy girl lyrics backed by reliable, guitar fueled pop rock beats you hear in clubs across the country. Don’t take it too seriously, just dance.
The Riverfront stage area of Buku showcases a continuous lineup of disco sexiness to serenade festi goers walking between stages and in between sets. With names like Aeroplane and Quickiemart, this stage will be groove central. Serving as a place to get some fresh air, meet up with the homies, and take in the Mississippi River views.
As tickets round up on their way to selling out, Buku’s energy is radiating up the Gulf Coast. Shouts to Winter Circle Productions for upgrading both venue and production this year at Buku, thanks a lot guys, we are so stoked.
Did we mention the VIP Experience? Offering an entire lineup both Friday and Saturday aboard the S.S. Buku, the roster holds names like Two Fresh and Blackbird Blackbird. If you are lucky enough to snag a package, prepare to party at sea. It is going to be wild.
As for the rest of us, we’ll be raging up and down the Mississippi banks. Keep an eye out for us, pick up some swag, and as always, Ray John.