Review by: Mac M.
Photos by: Rhombi Survivor Photo Safaris
The drive from Arlington to Plano isn’t that bad I kept telling myself on Saturday morning while getting ready to head out for the day. Basically once you have conquered I-30 East and make the transition to 75 North you should have it beat right? Turns out you have another 20 miles to go before the Spring Creek exit. No worries, it’s all apart of the adventure!
Adventure indeed! Driving down Spring Creek Pkwy I couldn’t help but notice the old fashion multi-colored pennant string flags lining both sides of the road as I roll closer to Oak Point Park. Seconds later I ended up behind a convoy of school buses. My first thought was there must be some type of school sports thing happening but then I suddenly remembered Suburbia was offering “shuttle” service from lots A & B. Jackpot! I get to ride a Yellow Bus to Suburbia Fest!
Walking in you couldn’t help but notice it was a bit of a hike. The park is beautiful with an on site pond and amphitheater not to mention rolling hills with an intertwining walk/bike path all throughout! As I kept walking I realized this was no small festival in layout! Main Entrance you are greeted by standard but good security with a bag check and pretty standard do’s and don’ts while on festival grounds.
After making my way past a few of the exhibitor tents and checking out some of the freebies I caught a first glimpse of the Meadow (Main) Stage just before the first live band, The Rocketboys, were to inaugurate the hell out of it!
What seemed like many miles over hills and valleys, YungNation had already began to bring their Hip Hop flavor to the Cedar Room Stage which would end up being a mixed stage of hip hop, R&B and EDM.
Not far from Cedar you could find the Prairie Stage with local alt country, Americana duo The O’s gearing up for the first Prairie set of the festival. Like the other stages it would end up with a mixed group of acts for the weekend.
The second set at Meadow Stage for the day would be Austin, TX hard rockers UME! Pronounced "Oooo-May" are by no means your typical hard rock band as you will find out in our upcoming interview! Fronted by a blond haired guitar slinging rock star in her own right, Lauren Larson will immediately convince you she and the band are no gimmick. She is a seriously talented musician and singer with a raw energy lacking from many bands today.
Meg Myers would be the third live act to perform on the Prairie Stage Saturday which we had been anticipating! A sultry mix 90’s rock and modern sounds filled the space around Prairie with Meg’s edgy and sometimes explicit lyrics of angst. The guys in the crowd seem to instantly gravitate toward Meg’s stage presence which also attracted the women with her strong posturing bass guitar stance and vocal delivery.
Back on the main stage NEEDTOBREATHE brought the first BIG dose of dirty delta folk rock to Plano. Not to mention this was the first time I noticed the crowd starting to get huge out front well past the two story VIP balcony area. Girl Name Tennessee was only one of the great Americana Alt Rock songs the boys of North Carolina laid down for the Suburban crowd this day. A limited but great live set by the guys all around.
Why Third Eye Blind wasn’t the headliner on Saturday night was a question asked in the media area more than once. Front man, Stephen Jenkins, no doubt had “moves like Jagger” Saturday that made the crowd insane along with the extremely memorable 90’s hits they played which are so damn hard to not sing along with and have stuck in your head for the rest of the weekend.
Livetronica anyone? Why yes, we will. Big Gigantic brought a seriously bright and trippy live show to the Cedar Room as the sun began to fade. Massive screens surround the duo as they pumped out the hip hop/jazz influenced beats mixed with high quality electronic sounds. This live set no doubt gave the crowd a preview of what Mr. Guetta would bring on Sunday night!
Day 1’s headliner the Alabama Shakes kicked off right on time back down at the main stage. Lead singer Brittany Howard gave a full throttle vocal performance for the Plano crowd complete with tasty guitar riffs and a solid rhythm and lead band. Hold On, Always Alright and You Ain’t Alone were all apart of the 50+ minute set that wrapped the first night up in soulful style.
First day complete without any major issues other than the heat and a personal sunburn that felt much more 3rd degree than reality. Thumbs up on a successful first day for the inaugural music festival!