Day three of Music Midtown opened Sunday with blue skies and sunshine, a welcome reprieve from yesterday’s early showers.
Small crowds formed for the early acts but were fairly sparse; more attendees are expected to arrive as the day gets closer to today’s headliners, Lil Baby, Incubus and Guns N’ Roses.
Even though the crowds weren’t huge, they appeared more than pleased at the performances of some of the lesser known groups that preceded the headliners.
Inhaler, an Irish pop rock band, took the Venmo stage by storm, their indie rock sound blaring out across Piedmont Park under sunny skies Sunday afternoon.
Lead singer and frontman Elijah Hewson brought strong musical talent and a star quality to the stage. He may have learned a thing or two from his dad, Bono, the lead singer of U2 and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
”We love you, Georgia!” Hewson said.
They opened with “These Are The Days” from their sophomore album, “Cuts and Bruises,” which came out this year.
While they had two guitars, bass guitar and drums dominating their sound, they also had keyboard and special effects adding layers of complexity to the performance. But Hewson’s clear, bright vocals stole the show as his voice resonated out across the audience.
Inhaler maintained an upbeat rhythm for the set, giving the audience the chance to bounce and sway along. They have developed a stronger following in the U.S. over the last few years after debuting at number one on the Irish Albums Chart in their home country.
The band performed some of their top tracks, including “Just To Keep You Satisfied” and “It Won’t Always Be Like This,” and they closed with “My Honest Face,” one of their most well-known songs. The band took a break from opening for Pearl Jam in several U.S. cities to perform at the Bourbon and Beyond music festival in Kentucky on Friday and at Music Midtown on Sunday.
Jamaican-American musician known for his use of the saxophone in his groovy tunes, Micah Davis’ fame took off in 2015 with his release of “The Pink Polo EP.” Touting more than six million listeners on Spotify, the artist better known as Masego has acquired quite a following, with a few songs going viral, including “Tadow” and “Navajo.”
Masego means “blessings” in the South African language Tswana, and that’s just the feeling you get while listening to his music. The artist often combines jazz, trap and house, which landed him on the lineup for the Atlanta Jazz Festival in 2022.
As expected, his hit “Navajo” was his set kicker. As soon as Masego walked on stage playing his saxophone, crowds ran from nearby areas just to catch a glimpse of the musician.
The first thing Masego noticed was the heat. “It’s hot, it’s hot,” he exclaimed, and later stated, “I’m going to keep my shirt on for as long as I can.” Perhaps wearing cargo pants and a sweater was not the best choice, but the fall outfit did not restrict him for dancing across the stage.
The most iconic moment of his performance? Throwing bills during his song “Black Anime,” which its most repeated word is, money. The song appears to highlight Masego’s drive, success and eagerness to continue his career. Though most of the fake cash landed on the stage, fans still reached up in hopes of snagging a keepsake.
”What You Wanna Try” and “Good & Plenty” were just some of the later tracks that sold the crowd. Many sang along, swayed to the beat and intently took in every second of Masego’s performance. He finished his set with his hit song, “Tadow,” which he jokingly called a new song that no one had yet heard.
For the record, the artist did not end up keeping his sweater on for very long at all.
”It also smells like mulch,” he stated. Which is the best way to describe the smell of Music Midtown on Sunday, especially in the particularly muddy spots.
Indie and electronic artist Ebba Tove Nilsson, known to the public as Tove Lo, has been center stage since 2014 with the release of her debut album “Queen of the Clouds,” which features one of her most played songs to date, “Habits (Stay High).”
The Swedish singer and songwriter has since been releasing music at a steady pace, with her most recent album, “Dirt Femme,” released in October 2022. It’s the artist’s third time performing at the festival, with performances in 2015 and 2017, and she certainly brought a crowd with her.
Donning a teal sequin two-piece, Tove Lo looked stunning, and her voice was as beautiful as ever. Her song “Cool Girl” had the entire crowd on the lawn singing.,
If you’re wondering if the stage was just as impressive as Tove Lo’s outfit, the answer is yes. Decorated with clouds to appear as if the artist was flying, every time she jumped, it almost felt like she would start to float.
For many who grew up with the artist, “Talking Body” is just one of her many quintessential tracks. It would not be an exaggeration to say that every person on the lawn sang along to the chorus as Tove Lo flashed the crowd, an act many fans eagerly anticipate.
Though Tove Lo married in 2020, her song “Suburbia” from her most recent album highlights a woman’s choice to not live by the book and pick options that differ from marriage and children. It’s a clear crowd favorite for its lyrics alone.
What’s particularly impressive about Tove Lo’s performance is her vocal control. Flat notes. What are those? The singer doesn’t make mistakes.
”Thank you for being such a beautiful crowd,” she said near the end of her set, which closed with “Habits (Stay High)” followed by “No One Dies From Love,” the latter which she remarked was “for the gays.”
Memphis rapper Gloria Woods, known as GloRilla, is a newer face in the music scene. She rose to prominence with her 2022 release, “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” which went viral on social media platform, TikTok. The song led to her nomination for two awards at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Award. But though GloRilla quickly rose to fame, signing with Yo Gotti’s record label Collective Music Group in July 2022, the artists disappointed fans by nearly being a no-show.
Music Midtown did not announce any changes to their schedule prior to her 5:30 p.m. performance, but she only took the stage at about 6:10 p.m.Despite the empty stage for the first half-hour of her planned performance, the crowded lawn kept the energy up. A DJ played numerous popular hip hop tracks to keep the audience from boredom.
GloRilla started her set with “Blessed.” At that point, some of the crowd had already walked away, seeking another form of entertainment at the packed festival. With her six backup dancers, she made quite the entrance. If we’re giving out awards for best dance routine, GloRilla and her crew takes that. The synchronization was impressive and unexpected. It felt more like a party on stage than a performance, but in the best way possible.
During a March show at the Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York, a crowd surge led to the death of three concertgoers. Police told the Associated Press that fears of gunfire might have triggered the stampede. But Sunday’s crowd did not show an ounce of anxiety.
”Tomorrow 2″ featuring Cardi B was a clear crowd favorite. Though Offset’s wife did not join GloRilla on stage, that did not impact the performance one bit. Her hit song “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” wrapped up the rather short set that finished a few minutes early.
Alternative rock band Incubus transported the audience back to the ‘90s on the main stage Sunday evening.
The band opened with a song from 1999, “Privilege,” covering Piedmont Park with their hard rock sound as the crowd continued to grow. ”How’re y’all feeling today?” lead singer Brandon Boyd asked fans.
Chris Kilmore, the band’s keyboardist and DJ since 1998, took every opportunity to spin the turntables, adding a sound many may not expect during a rock concert. But for Incubus, it builds into their songs seamlessly, adding a unique touch to their brand of alt rock.
Boyd grabbed the microphone as he belted to “Nice to Know You” with his long hair blowing in the breeze. The band released new music on an EP in 2020. From that, they played “Karma, Come Back” before Boyd took off his shirt and launched into a rock cover of the Beatles’ song, “Come Together.”
Guitarist Mike Einzinger had his moment to shine when he launched into an intense instrumental break, highlighting his guitar skills and wowing fans. The crowd continued to grow as the evening went on, and they took over for Boyd singing Incubus hit, “Wish You Were Here.”
The band came to fame after their 1999 album “Make Yourself” produced several hits, including “Drive,” arguably their most well-known song, which they sang in closing to a crowd eager for more rock.
Atlanta rapper Lil Baby, born Dominique Jones, is a familiar face for many in the city. From releasing his mixtape “Perfect Timing” in 2017 to opening his own southwest Atlanta restaurant The Seafood Menu, Lil Baby has just about done it all. Over the years, Lil Baby has won a Grammy, an MTV Video Music Award and many more.
Following GloRilla’s example, Lil Baby was also late to this set by about 30 minutes. This time, the crowd was not as excited to listen to the top hip hop hits while awaiting his arrival. However, much like GloRilla, Lil Baby knows how to make an entrance.
He began his set with “No Cutt,” which was released by Moneybagg Yo and features Lil Baby. The rapper was accompanied by several backup dancers, who against the night sky and bright stage lights appeared as just silhouettes.
The use of auto tune is obvious. Sometimes it becomes slightly obnoxious, making Lil Baby’s voice appear significantly higher-pitched and robot-like. The artist’s music often dives into personal experiences, street life and societal issues, which somewhat makes up for the aggressive use of auto tune. It should also be noted that Lil Baby primarily sings over his tracks instead of singing over just the instrumentals.
The crowd at the set perfectly balanced excitement and peace, but that wasn’t the case at a recent Lil Baby concert. During a Memphis show at the FedExForum headlined by the rapper in early September, one person was shot and injured. Police told the Associated Press that the incident was targeted and they are not sure how the gunman was able to enter the stadium with a firearm.
If you know a Lil Baby song, you likely know “Pure Cocaine,” which appears to explain his past with selling drugs and resorting to the streets for quick cash. “Wants and Needs” by Drake and featuring Lil Baby is just as equally popular and brought out quite the energy.
His performance was split into five chapters: Wild West, Trapped, Earthquake, Riches and Serenity. The separation is meant to display his own transformation and success.
With many songs mentioning Atlanta, “Drip Too Hard” is just one of many that honored his hometown and garnered an instant reaction from the crowd. His performance closed with one of his most played tracks, “Freestyle,” as fans rushed over to the main stage to catch the second half of the Guns N’ Roses set.