The first ever Landmark Festival in Washington, D.C. got off to a slow start but featured great performances by Drake, The Strokes, Miguel, alt-J and more. D.C. native Wale remarked that The District doesn’t often get big events like these. As one of the only acts playing to his hometown, he had a lot of energy, even diving into the crowd. The DMV has historically been fanatic about Drake, especially when he shouts out Howard University. At this point, he can put the mic down for a whole verse and crowds yell them back at him. After his performance of Meek Mill diss track “Back To Back,” he seemed to get tired of this particular drama and assured the crowd by saying Meek was already done for. He also promised Views From The 6 would be out very soon and a tour would follow. Julian Casablancas also announced that The Strokes were going back into the studio again, to the surprise of many fans who thought they were pretty much done with each other. We don’t know if it had been too long or if Casablancas was purposely messing up lyrics, but fans didn’t seem to care.
Although he’s an L.A. native, Miguel gets a lot of love in the District. Wearing skin tight red pants, Saint Laurent boots, and some scarves, he gyrated across the stage belting out high notes and showing off his impressive physique. Cameramen at the festival seemed to capitalize on this and focused on his lower regions quite a bit, to the delight of everyone with eyes. Every time we see alt-J, we think the crowd is going to tone down their love for the Leeds three-piece, but they just never let up. The crowd was so loud and enthusiastic, they caused lead singer Joe Newman to make a few mistakes. Ben Howard has been a pretty stormy performer in the last year, a reflection of his excellent album I Forget Where We Were. Despite the heaviness of that record, he cracked a few smiles for fans and seemed thrilled (as much as he can be) to be at Landmark. His focus and talent on the acoustic guitar is always a pleasure to see. The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. played a solo set with his band on a stage we personally think was too small for him (Roosevelt Stage). If the crowd response and size was any indication, he deserved to play a more prominent stage. Rocking full Yamaha yellow two-piece gear, Twin Shadow played the main stage with his sick backing band. After his accident, he’s mentioned that playing guitar for long periods of time is extremely painful but we honestly couldn’t even tell.
When we initially saw the lineup for Landmark Festival, we were pleasantly surprised at their sick lineup. We don’t know how they managed to pack all these awesome bands into a new two-day festival but we’re grateful nonetheless. On the downside, there was a considerable amount of noise bleed interfering with sets. This is unfair to acts that can’t compete with the ones on the main stages with bigger sounds. If it’s to remain in West Potomac Park, right by the Lincoln Memorial, they should consider having less stages so they’re far enough apart to not interfere. There also seemed to be headline-worthy acts playing the smaller stages. George Ezra, for example, played a small stage at the same time as alt-J played the main stage. The festival was streamed on Yahoo so there were often cameramen directly in front of the acts playing, blocking them from fans. We’ve been to our fair share of outdoor festivals and have seen the streaming component go a bit more smoothly.
Check out our photos of Landmark Festival below.
Albert Hammond Jr.
TV On The Radio