All Points West kicked off yesterday and it was a mess -- literally.
Rain soaked the crowd and muddied festival grounds, but the crappy weather didn't stop the droves of fans from enjoying some impassioned performances.
Brooklyn's Yeah Yeah Yeahs launched their set with the jugular-clutching party-starter “Heads Will Roll” as frontwoman Karen O unleashed her signature broody head-banging and feline yelp. Cycling through mini-costume changes, Karen O led the band through a mix of well-worn faves and newer material like “Zero” and “Skeletons.” As the rain relented, the Yeahs dedicated an acoustic version of their fragile love song “Maps” to their family and ailing Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.
Former A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip showed Michael Jackson some love with a cover of “Human Nature” and kept the energy rowdy with souped-up revamps of Tribe's catalog. The crowd went batty as the steely bass line of “Scenario” kicked in and a buttery live sax brought “Award Tour” to its apex. '90s hip hop group The Pharcyde rocked sunny jams like “Runnin'” and “Drop,” weaving in tributes to their late producer J. Dilla and even busting out in a New Jack Swing-style dance break.
Headliner Jay-Z delivered a performance for true Jigga heads. Opening the set with the Beastie Boys' “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” Jay banged out hits like “Death Of Autotune,” “I Just Wanna Love You,” and “Roc Boys” backed by a full band. There were also low-key gems like “Beware,” his Bhangra collaboration with Punjabi MC and “Can I Live” from his debut Reasonable Doubt. Jigga also paid homage to Michael Jackson and Barack Obama and proved his influence as the crowd pulled off a tongue-twisting a capella rendition of “Can I Get A...” Fans went nuts for a teaser verse from the upcoming Blueprint 3 album and Jay finished with his Linkin Park collabo “Numb/Encore.”
DJ duo MSTKFRT ended the first night with thunderous dance tracks like Benny Benassi's “Satisfaction" and their own John Legend collabo “Heartbreaker.” The pair sent festival goers off with a hard-house reworking of Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Catch Tool, My Bloody Valentine, Gogol Bordello, The Ting Tings, St. Vincent and more at the All Points West Music and Arts Festival today at New Jersey's Liberty State Park.
"Mawuse Ziegbe is a freelance writer living, working, and looking for trouble in New York City. You can check out her music musings at www.giantstep.net/theresident"