BUKU Music + Art Project 2013
Wow, what a blast.
It’s been a few days, and we’re safely back a thousand miles or so in the warm embrace of south Florida, but we can still hear the ringing of anthems in our heads from the second-annual BUKU Music + Art Project. From surprise special guests, to illin’ Daft Punk covers, big nasty drops and smoke-filled versus, everything about the two-day extravaganza can only be summed up by a hashtag: #TOOBUKU
One thing about BUKU Festival, it started later than most in the twilight hours. Perhaps the intention was that attendees could experience the amazing city and culture of New Orleans before heading down to the mouth of the Mississippi and the Mardi Gras float warehouses where the festival took place. We didn’t get to do as much exploring as we’d have liked, but hopefully some of you others hanging around made the most of it.
Friday, the gates opened at about 4 p.m. with festivities and music full-speed ahead. We made our way through the happily-lax security entrance and spent some time taking in the sights and sounds. There were about eight grafitti artists doing their thing on risers next to some porta-potties right when you walked in. Throughout the weekend, the works would grow and evolve into some colorful, crazy-beautiful backdrop.
We made our way to the Ballroom, fabulously decorated with a hanging chandelier and watchful, smiling Marilyn Monroe statue. JMSN was about to take the stage, and we wanted to catch them and their sexy, grungy selves. You’ve never heard R&B like this – as in, in a dirty white tee with long stringy hair. It was crazy to look at what could be any ’90s Seattle band and hear sexy soprano jams, but we were digging it.
Meanwhile, Lettuce jammed the air of the Power Plant mainstage with funkadelic rhythms. Hoopers and hippies were breaking it down with big smiles. Then we rushed into the Float Den to catch French foursome Birdy Nam Nam as they trapped the crowd in their skilled scratches, cuts and masterful mixing. On the mid, they may be rather unintelligable for our English-speaking ears, but their musical craft is a language any beat-lover can understand. We can’t wait to catch them again at HARD Miami.
Related Reading: Hard Miami March 20 & 21 at Grand Central Miami
But for this blogger family, nothing – and we repeat nothing – was going to stop us from witnessing the rare on stage genius of one young stunner Earl Sweatshirt of the OddFutureWolfGangKillThemAll clan. We were already using adjectives like “rare” to explain our excitment, but holy effing shitballs, we had no idea.
None other than Flying Fucking Lotus walked on stage to take helm at the laptop just before Sweatshirt’s set began. Dressed in a promotional Thundercat hoodie (his latest mixtape), the Brainfeeder boss dropped some unreleased goodies featuring Tyler the Creator vocals and more, then lead the crowd in a massive cheer to make Earl Sweatshirt take the stage.
It was an amazing performance, we could probably do a whole blog about it by itself. Maybe we will. He did a bunch of unreleased new songs from his upcoming album, toying with the crowd that he wouldn’t release it cause they obvi didn’t like it (snark), plus did old faves like “Earl,” “Drop” and “Blade” (only the second live performance ever, he noted). Before it was all said and done, he gave the crowd the heart-tearing “Chum,” and then BAM! FlyLo came from behind the deck to grab a mic and let “Between Friends” have an incredible rinse.
Awestruck, we mosied to the Power Plant to catch Flux Pavilion murder shit, then hung around to catch Brasst Punk, who did lively jazz band versions of all our Daft Punk favorites on the smaller Riverfront Stage.
After that, we rushed on over to Flying Lotus to relive the magic of two hours earlier. Dude fucking smashed it again, performing from between two giant ethereal screens. Wouldn’t you know it, Earl Sweatshirt stumbled out and FlyLo stepped to the front as they performed the magical “Between Friends” AGAIN. FlyLo stayed mic in hand to perform some Captain Murphy tracks, including “Mighty Morphin Foreskin.” Then he finished up his mixing and went on an announced mushroom trip.
We hurried to catch Kid Cudi in the act, whose voice rang clear and strong through the reefer smoke. We took a lil break to watch Shlohmo cast a spell on the Float Den crowd, but came back in time to see Cudi’s smoke and pyrotechnic explosion, as confetti marked the end to the beat of Steve Aoki’s remix of “Pursuit of Happiness.”
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs made beautiful, disco-inspired beats, but we missed his famed dinosaur costumes (he was dressed down for the occasion). We chose to close our day with an intimate mix from Aeroplane at the Riverfront Stage before slowly walking home to our very-full hotel room and dreaming of tomorrow.
THEN BOOM! Tomorrow was in our faces dressed as Today, and we headed out for eats and the gates once more. Lord knows we were tired as hell, because Day One was our group’s collective rage day, but Icona Pop’s infectious energy and lust for life brought us back to it in the Ballroom.
We made sure to watch the honorable and still-vibrant Public Enemy, who basically set the soundtrack for this blogger’s senior year of high school. Then we hurried to the Float Den to give it up to our favorite trappers Flosstradamus (who commanded the largest crowd that stage had seen so far). Just as the Chicago duo dropped “backseat Freestyle,” we realized it was time to dip so we could get a good spot for the Compton’s great youth, Kendrick Lamar.
“Everybody, Everybody. Everybody sit your bitch ass down and listen to this true mothafuckin’ story told by Kendrick Lamar on Rosecrans, ya bitch.” The intro announced Lamar’s arrival on stage, as he rapped about his times ridin’ with the homies and we hugged our own. He ran through a bunch of older tracks as we sang along, gave some inspirational talks between tracks and killed it with a bunch of Good Kid M.A.A.D. City instant-classics. Before stepping down, he hit us with a tight freestyle as motivational as it was inspiring, then might as well have dropped the mic.
Meanwhile, Big G wailed beautiful melodies on the sax in the Ballroom, and later, Big Freedia set the whole place on fire with his real-ass NoLa bounce hot fire. The organizers had smartly hooked up the Riverfront Stage to blast over the Power Plant speakers, so everyone was getting in on the fun.
Passion Pit stormed the main stage next, taking the crowd on a magical journey, lifted into the sky by their big, hopeful melodies. A lot of newer material opened the show, which closed with favorites from Manners. Across the way, STS9 let go their first set of the night to a huge and loving crowd, and some time schedule changes had people confused as Starfucker and Major Lazer reportedly switched spots.
One of our favorite Day Two sets was definitely Daedelus who bobbed, sweating over his crowd-facing sampler, live-mixing some of the illest beats, remixes and mash-ups we’d heard all weekend. Dressed as one dapper gentleman, he built his little crowd up and kept BUKU buzzing.
Right before his set, this blogger’s fucking shoe broke (and I had fuckin’ bought it Friday), so I hung around just a bit before heading out. But I heard Major Lazer hit the stage hard, giant hamster balls and all, leaving everyone a fan in spite of the social faux pas of filming a “Harlem Shake” BUKU Edition. Obviously, STS9 made their fans happy with round two, and we can be sure Dillon Francis played one weird, fun set.
Now, we know that was long, and we left out a lot, but that was our BUKU experience. Who did you see? What was your favorite part? We’d love to hear about it!