All Things Go brought Washington DC’s top indie artists to the Union Market stage. From Lany’s boy-band pop to Melanie Martinez’s musical-esque performance, festival-goers’ left the festival satiated from a wide array of acts. Undercards such as Muna, Olivia O’Brien, and Allie X exceeded expectations with strong performances and headliners CHVRCHES and Melanie Martinez ended each night with a bang (although in distinctly different ways). From the food choices to the post-act dance party, FestivalPulse will break down the main highlights from the latest iteration of DC’s top music festival.
Best of the Sets
Coin brought the audience to life on Saturday night with unprecedented energy. Chase Lawrence’s contagious energy had the ATG crowd rocking. When the prelude to “Run” permeated the warm fall air, the crowd began to jump and shout as Lawrence ran up and down the photo pit area. Through “Crash My Car,” “Hannah,” and “Talk too Much,” this high level of energy filled the loading docks of Union Market and culminated with Lawrence sliding across a hightop table in the suites, which added to the madness.
After Coin brought the DC crowd to life, LANY found his groove by performing a majority of his Malibu Nights album, which was recited by much of the millennial audience. He started and ended his set very strong with fan favorites “Thick N Thin” and his all-time classic “ILYSB.” LANY’s lead singer, Paul Klein, intensely focused on the audience and eagerly encouraged the audience to sing along to his ballads.
To top off the jam-packed Saturday, CHVRCHES’ 90 minute set thrilled both peripheral fans and die-hard supporters. CHRVCHES’s excellently balanced their assortment of playing deeper tracks from The Bones of What You Believe to a solid helping of bops off their newest album Love is Dead. Once again, CHRVCHES’ unique electro-pop sound reignited the energy from COIN’s performance and Lauren Mayberry’s humble personality supplemented the lively musical performance. She reflected on her reaction when she was first told she would headline ATG, questioning “are you sure there isn’t someone supposed to play after us?” She hypothesized that “maybe they didn’t show up,” sparking laughter around the venue.
The inclusion of Deep Tracks such as “Science/Visions,” “Under the Tide”, and “Tether” unveiled the full depth of the CHRVCHES’s sound that can not normally be seen at usual performances. The band’s mixing of old and new songs revealed the evolution of their sound, which has evolved to include more pop and beat elements, but remains rooted in with their strong emphasis on techno-synth.
From “Get out” to the last techno beat in “Never Say Die,” CHRVCHES brought millennials what they came to see: another solid performance of the synth-pop band.
The All Things Go stalwart Betty Who thrived in her usual spotlight at this year’s festival. Betty Who fans were back in full force and her high-energy performance led to the culmination of excitement during Sunday’s set. Her act had similarities to previous year’s performances, but the show’s emphasis on fostering an even more inclusive environment was stressed throughout the duration of the show. Betty acknowledged her typical audience demographic was “[Betty] and the gays,” but she added that all are encouraged to jump in, even those she jokingly referred to as “breeders.”
Betty’s comfortability with the festival environment definitely showed as she maneuvered the stage with ease. Additionally, Betty’s diverse setlist that included hits from all three of her albums provided a concert that seemed to act as the best of Betty Who.
In addition to the positive vibes provided to the audience by Betty’s joy and enthusiastic emotion, Betty addressed the importance of the concert to her life as well. “Right now, I’m going through some things … so this concert means a lot.” The audience responded with cheers and showed their commitment to helping her by reaching an apex of emotion throughout “I Love You, Always Forever” which was one of the songs that rounded out her set. Betty’s set proved that she has become a staple of the ATG experience, and we would love to see her again next year!
Melanie Martinez? Melanie Martinez!
All preconceived notions of Melanie Martinez were thrown out the window after her performance. Festival-goers could have expected the typical Melanie Martinez eccentric display of unsettling elements in her set, but her performance based around her new album and movie K-12 sent shockwaves throughout the audience. The entire performance had a hazy nightmarish feel centered around a dystopian school setting. Many of the songs were preceded by a woman with enlarged pupils who recited a rule that would serve to preempt the social commentary that would be explored by the song. This interlude also allowed for the stagehands to set up the “set” for the next song as new props and costumes were used for nearly every song.
While the crowd began to thin out late during Melanie’s session, the intensity seemed to greatly increase. The fans that remained at 11:00 on Sunday night were amongst the most dedicated fans that our writers have ever seen. Despite the album only being released a few months prior, nearly everyone in the front rows were singing along to the songs.
Food + More
There was plenty of food and drink to fuel the party all weekend. Local food providers like Rocklands topped the food options and the bars served fan favorites such as Truly and local crafted beers.
All Things Go 2019 was a blast that proved that top tier indie bands can make for an entertaining festival. With the success of this year’s iteration, we hope All Things Go will be a long-lasting fixture in the D.C. music scene.