And I'm happy to report, I made it all three days.
...And it was amazing. And exhausting. And exhilarating. And completely, utterly, worth it.
I saw every artist I set out to see, plus some others that friends wanted to see that I'd never heard of. That's the beauty of festivals - you never know what you're going to see or do and discover. And it's wonderful.
So, Day 1. It's Friday, and after a very short day of free design lunch at work and failing to get to a design exhibition for a team outing (so instead we went out for drinks as my boss is in town and wanted to do something together, since all of my team is actually here in Finland except one...this is a very rare occasion indeed)...I went home, took a short nap, stuffed myself full of horse food round 2 (I'll write a post about that after I tell you all about Flow), and set out to Flow, Flow, Flow.
First off, I'll say right off the bat: whoever did the graphic design for Flow this year did a fabulous job. I was blown away by the colors, typography, and layout of the website, and the festival itself was no different. Whoever that person is, I would want to hire them for something, at some time. Gorgeous.
But I digress. I took a short metro ride with some friends to the festival and we were immediately swept into the utter festivus mood that is Flow. Hipsters surrounded us and we were engulfed in the sights, sounds, and smells of music...everywhere.
My first goal: to see Yann Tiersen.
After falling in love with his compositions for the Amelie soundtrack, I knew I wanted to hear more. Whoever this man was, I knew whoever could make up this kind of musical delight could only make more beautiful music. And I was not disappointed. His show was already started (by about 10 minutes) by the time I walked to the main stage, but it was wonderful. His compositions did not disappoint. And after listening to more of his stuff on Spotify this past weekend...his albums are definitely on my future buy list.
He had a violin solo that was particularly amazing and it only continued from there.
And this was just the start of amazing music to come.
We stayed in the main stage area to see Miike Snow, who put on a good show as well:
Before skipping to the Black Tent to check out Araab Muzik from the States and Four Tet + Caribou from the UK/Canada.
Araab Muzik was great - recognized a lot of their songs and had an amazing time dancing. It was also nice to be "inside" for awhile, as once again Finnish summer reared its ugly head and it was a blistering 9 degrees C outside (i.e. somewhere in the mid to high 40's F, otherwise known as "bullshit"). Amazingly, or maybe not so amazingly, it was a lot warmer just being around other people and underneath a vinyl tent. I will never again underestimate the power of plastics.
Four Tet + Caribou was unfortunately not very exciting, so we skipped out after awhile to get some food and meet up with other folk. We could hear from the main stage that Lykke Li from Sweden was playing, but alas she wasn't sounding too good either (rather mellow and ballad-like), so we passed and made the best decision of the night: we went to check out Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires.
As you could probably guess from the name, they're from the States. Think James Brown plus every awesome lounge singer you've ever met.
- Yes, he was that 70-year old black man in the tight polyester suit covered in rhinestones.
- Yes, he did tell us that he loved us between every song.
- Yes, he did have the sweetest dance moves I've ever seen (minus Ghostland Observatory because he is still the fanciest dancer I've ever seen and probably will ever see...see link at bottom for example).
- Yes, he did do a wardrobe change halfway through his show and change from a black suit covered in rhinestones to a gold lamé suit.
- Yes, his background videos did involve red and white roses.
- Yes, he did wear chunky gold rings.
- Yes, he is called "The Screaming Eagle of Soul."
- Yes, he did come down into the audience to hug people at the end of his show.
- Yes, he did come back onto the stage after hugging people to talk about how it doesn't matter how small your dream is, because all dreams are love, so it's all good.
- Yes, he did cry when he talked about all dreams being love.
- Yes, it was the best show we saw that night.
Charles Bradley is what we would call "Smooth Magic," back at home. Ohhhhh yeah.
And that concluded Day 1 at Flow Festival. I think I got home around 3am. Man it was good. And there was so much more to come.
Screaming Eagle of Soul