California has one of the biggest and fastest-growing music festival scenes in the U.S. and have long since dominated with festivals like Coachella, Lightning In A Bottle, and Outside Lands. Now throwing their name into the ring is Sacramento-based music festival TBD Fest. Originally called Launch Music Festival, it received some recognition in 2012 when promoters decided to make it a one-day live music event with headliners Chromeo and DJ Shadow. They expanded in 2013 to two days and upped the anti with more well-known musical headliners that included Imagine Dragons and Girl Talk. This must have been a huge success, because this year, it was announced that not only would the event be three days, but it would be moved to a brand-new location and would be completely rebranded as TBD Fest. A new location and name is all fine and dandy, but what people really want to know is who is playing and if the promoters could book acts that would surpass the festivals line ups in past years. The answer is 100% YES! It seems like the people at TBD Fest have got their sh*t together because they have offered up a diverse and unique lineup that is sure to send people running to Sacramento. But enough chit-chat, it’s time to discover who are the top 5 must-see acts at TBD Fest.
5. Empire Of The Sun
Well, this band is practically a no-brainer to make this list since, as far as visuals go, they are unbeaten. Empire Of The Sun has a crazy live show that mixes glam rock with electronic beats and ridiculous looking costumes. Heck, Luke Steel the lead vocalist and founder of EOTS has a team of back up dancers that writhe around the stage for the duration of the show. Currently touring behind their most recent album Ice On The Dune, which was released last year to rave reviews, EOTS has been conquering the festival scene around the world. There should be no reason not to see this show as it will close the day with feel good vibes and infectious dancing.
Recommended Tracks: “Walking On A Dream”, “Alive”, “Concert Pitch”
Undoubtedly going to be a huge highlight of the festival, Danny Brown is an explosive and fire-spitting rapper that is currently riding the hype train. From Detroit, Brown has managed to start a successful career through social media, humor in his raps, and a unique hipster/hood fashion sense that caused a stir in the hip-hop community. Despite his fashion and joking rap lyrics, Danny Brown is a serious contender for best festival set. His most recent album, titled Old, is a firebrand of an album that does not slow down from start to finish. Catch him live or regret every decision you make after!
Recommended Tracks: “25 Bucks”, “Dip”, “Kush Coma”
Rock bands are not heavily focused on in the TBD Fest lineup, so I must recommend post-rock Austin Texas band Explosions In The Sky. They are known for their ambient and slow build-ups that end in a crescendo of sound. Nowhere close to being the flashiest of bands on stage, EITS rely on their pure instrumental talent to take their listeners in what only can be described as an other worldly experience. It’s one thing to hear them on record, but it’s a whole other beast when you’re seeing them perform live. Take, for instance, their epic eight-minute song “Your Hand In Mine”. It starts off simply enough with a pure and simple melody, but is transformed into a beautiful instrumental epic that will bring a tear to even the most rugged man. As I said before, the band is only instrumental, which means that there are no lyrics whatsoever. But do not let this discourage you because there are bands in the world that can make you feel emotions with the songs they craft. EITS is one of these bands, and if you give them a chance, you may find yourself wanting more and more.
Recommended Tracks: “Your Hand In Mine”, “First Breath After Coma”, “Postcard From 1952”
There is honestly not much that can be said for legendary pop rock band Blondie that hasn’t already been said. One of the most commercially successful bands to appear out of the New York punk/new wave scene in the late 70’s, Blondie is the seasoned veteran of the festival. While some people may be worried that age is a factor in their live show, fear not! Blondie is all about the nostalgia. With a massive discography of hits that come from years of recording, Blondie is no stranger to live performances or festival crowds. With their only California show to date and an inconsistent record of touring along the west coast, this might be one of the few times anyone will hear from these legends for some time.
Recommended Tracks: “Heart Of Glass”, “One Way Or Another”, “Atomic”
Make no mistake: just because there is “DJ set” at the end of their name, Justice deserves top billing at any festival. While a DJ set is slightly different then a live set for any artist, the principal of creating pounding and catchy hooks stays the same. Justice is no exception, and with two albums of hard-hitting and bass-driven dance tracks, they are sure to bring TBD Fest to its knees. Seriously, though, seeing Justice live in any form is like being assaulted with a wall of sound that constantly hammers you until you are forced to D.A.N.C.E. (See what I did there? By the gods, I am hilarious). A one off DJ set may even come as a blessing in disguise. Many world renowned DJ’s love to remix each other’s songs to produce their own version. Justice has already won a Grammy for remixing MGMT’s “Electric Feel” and with the ability to put their own spin on any of their tracks, plus any of the other songs floating out there in the world, the possibilities for their set are endless. Not only that, but this is their only show in the states for the foreseeable future, so you should be scrambling for your credit card to buy a ticket to see them bring the sky down on Sacramento.
Recommended Tracks: “D.A.N.C.E.”, “Civilization”, “Waters Of Nazareth”