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The Meadows Music & Arts Festival Review

The Meadows Music and Arts Festival

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival was this past weekend, and it was certainly a special way to end festival season. Myself and rBeatz Photographer Brian Benton hit the pavement for all three days, and below you’ll find snippets of each act we saw with media attached.

With headliners such as Gorillaz, Jay-Z, NAS, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more, you knew the weekend was going to be special. I was pleasantly surprised with the rotating set times. There were 4 stages, and the sets would alternate, so there was always open stages and space to relax with friends and enjoy the abundance of food options.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find crowd shots and my top 10 of the weekend.

Day 1: Friday, September 15th

Jordan Bratton

Jordan Bratton the meadows

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Desus & Metro

A pleasant surprise this weekend was the Viceland Bus. It was early, so I ventured off towards the brand activations, seeing what Bud Light, Viceland, Vitamin Water, Tidal, and Vitamin Water had to offer. Viceland is all about that experience economy, so they brought a BUS, where they had special guests DJing in the back. One of those special guests were Desus & Metro, the #1 show on late night (don’t google that). They were DJing in the back, dapping up fans as they freaked out that it was really them. Props to Viceland all weekend. I also got a Café Bustelo t-shirt, which was bright yellow. I wore it the second day, and got multiple compliments.

@desusandmero crushing the @vicelandbus #TheMeadowsNYC

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Lizzo

Lizzo came out with the ENERGY! She was charismatic with the crowd and had swag to match.

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Marian Hill

I thought this was one of the cooler sets of the weekend. Marian Hill is known for their minimal productions. They are a production duo made up of vocalist Samantha Gongol and producer Jeremy Lloyd. Samantha had a beautiful singing voice, and Jeremy almost seemed like he was chopping vocals on the SPOT.

Below is a video of the two performing their first song ever released, Whiskey.

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21 Savage

People were getting HYPE for 21. Water was being thrown everywhere after each drop.

21 Savage meadows

Migos

One of my favorite sets of the Weekend. Migos is definitely a headliner in my book, and for whatever reason, they were on at 4pm. They showed up 15 minutes late to their set and left 15 minutes early. The apathy for time made me like their set even more. Their Official DJ, Durel, did well at maintaining crowd expectations and playing trap bangers at the beginning of their set.


 

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Tegan and Sara

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Two Door Cinema Club

Irish rock band Two Door Cinema Club were one of the few non-rap acts on the festivals first day, and they drew a big crowd looking for some music diversity.

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Blood Orange

Super soulful and relaxing set.

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Jay-Z

Jay-Z played all the hits with a Jeff Koons Balloon Dog right behind him. The significance of this was when the piece was sold at an action for $58.4 million, it became the most expensive work by a living artist sold at an auction. This was his first show in New York City since 2014, so of course he put on, creating a narrative through his earlier years to his later years.

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jayz

Day 2: Saturday, September 16th

A Few of rFavorites 📷#TheMeadowsNYC

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BADBADNOTGOOD

After their Saturday set at the Meadows, BBNG played an official after party for the festival at Manhattan’s Irving Plaza. The Canadian group is best known for their collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Danny Brown and more, but their Saturday after-party show was heavier on their original jazz sound than hip hop and electronic music.

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Big Boi

Outkast songs like So Fresh, So Clean, Ms. Jackson and The Whole World were the highlight of Big Boi’s set early in the day on Saturday. The Atlanta rapper seemed upbeat, energetic and happy to be on stage, calling out fans in the audience and taking breaks to chat with them and his live band.

Big Boi Meadows

LL Cool J

LL Cool J was a classic set. A highlight was when he brought out Q-Tip.

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Erykah Badu

Erykah’s set was inspiring. She has a beautiful voice and took breaks from time to time to discuss what was on her mind. She was quite the personality on stage, commanding the audience to love one another and pay attention to what’s important. The entire persona on stage gave me life, and the spirituality of her entire show was an experience that was different from most sets this weekend.


A-Trak

A-Trak always comes out trying to read the crowd. He played everything from dubstep, to trap, to hip-hop, to electronic and a bit of rock. He found his vibe with the harder electronic stuff and continued to play that throughout.


Big Gigantic

The only Electro-Funk sets of the weekend. People were grooving like maniacs. As was I.


TV on the Radio

Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end @tvontheradio #TheMeadowsNYC

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M.I.A

After dropping a few new videos and songs over the past two years, British rapper M.I.A. is back on the road playing some of her first U.S. shows since 2014’s Matangi Tour. As the second headliner on Saturday night, she drew a big crowd, although it seemed like sound problems plagued parts of the set. She began the set with Borders, and closed with Paper Planes.

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Gorillaz

This was my #1 set of the weekend. The entire set was similar to a movie, with each character getting their own music video. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. The entire production was flawless, and the animated narrative on screen made it feel like I was watching a movie instead of at a concert. This was a next level performance. Damon Albarn came out looking like someone coming into the office who got caught in the rain. It was part of his allure. He also brought out various cameos including De La Soul, Mos Def, Pusha T, D.R.A.M, and Chicago soul singer Peven Everett who crushed it on the vocals.

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Day 3: Sunday, September 17th

Broken Social Scene

The highlight of Broken Social Scene’s Sunday show was an appearance by Emily Haines, best known for her work with Metric. The Canadian collective played one of their best known songs, 7/4 (Shoreline) early in the set before bringing out Haines and playing some of her music from deep in the band’s discography.

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NAS

NAS was another one of my favorite sets, kicking things off with New York State of Mind and playing singles from way back in the day of cassette tapes with singles from Illmatic like Life’s a Bitch and It’s Yours. He paid tribute to Mob Deep’s MC, Prodigy, who passed away this June by playing It’s Mine, from Mobb Deep’s Murda Muzik. Right after running through this, he went into Hip-Hop is Dead a nice narrative transition, tho he made it clear that Hip-Hop certainly wasn’t dead, since it’s the genre at the TOP of the Billboard charts. NAS was a favorite of mine growing up on Hip-Hop in the East Coast in the 90s, so I was excited to hear him run through his classic catalogue as well.


Weezer

@weezer finale #TheMeadowsNYC

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Sleigh Bells

Vocalist Alexis Krauss spoke about how happy her band was to be back home in New York, and gave a shout out to Brooklyn’s Union Pool, where they played one of their first shows. The set featured lots of fan favorites from Reign of Terror and Treats, like Comeback Kid and Infinity Guitars, in addition to the band’s trademark strobe lights and Marshall speakers on stage.

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Bassnectar

I went early to catch Bassnectar’s set. The Bass Heads were out, anticipating what Bassnectar vibe would come. Since it’s New York City, he decided to go HAM. The heavy dark bass vibes came out quick, as fans of his were head banging and awestruck at his dynamic light show.

Bass Heads @bassnectar #TheMeadowsNYC

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The Meadows Music & Arts Festival Crowd Shots

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The Meadows Music and Arts Festival

Chris’ Top 10

  1. Gorillaz

  2. Big Gigantic

  3. Erykah Badu

  4. NAS

  5. Migos

  6. Jay-Z

  7. Bassnectar

  8. TV on the Radio

  9. Blood Orange

  10. A-Trak

chris

Chris Stack is one of the founding members of rBeatz. After graduating from Kenyon College, Chris joined a branding and marketing startup, BrandYourself (as seen on SharkTank), in New York City. After leading the company to grow past profitability as a leading account manager, Chris set his sights on his passion: music. He currently runs his own LLC in New York City, helping musicians in the city with their online presence and marketability. A native of the Washington DC area, Chris Stack's passions and hobbies include music production (8 years on Ableton), marketing, baseball (Mets), and football (Ravens).

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