At A Time When Music Festivals Are Starting To Feel The Same, LA's Air + Style Is Doing It Different

By: Benjamin Tillis

In a time when music festivals can all feel the same, Air + Style in Los Angeles was a refreshing change of pace aimed at pleasing the sport and music loving state of California. With an incredibly diverse lineup and the unique opportunity to watch professional athletes flaunt their tricks, the two day festival did not disappoint. There may have been snow on the ground, and even the rare case of rain on the first night, but the acts and competitors kept the crowd hot!

Air + Style brought the heat... and the snow.

Air + Style brought the heat... and the snow.

Highlights of the first day were no doubt EDM superstars Cashmere Cat and Zedd. Norwegian DJ Cashmere Cat thrives on radio’s top voices, including Selena Gomez’s and Ariana Grande’s, both of whom could be heard at his set. The most surprising song had to be his take on Panic At The Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, which got the whole crowd excited. Never before had it been so cool to sing at the top of your lungs to the chorus of that song. Zedd finished off his show with currently popular “The Middle”, which concluded with an epic fireworks show with the backdrop of the beautiful downtown LA skyline.

Tinashe.

Tinashe.

It would be difficult to find another festival showcasing the great musicians who performed on the second day of Air + Style. The four-piece jazz/hip hop group BadBadNotGood played a phenomenal set that no doubt revolved around their impressive drummer, Alexander Sowinski. Directly following BBNG’s set, Tinashe took the stage. Although she played the smaller of the two stages at Exposition Park, located beside University of Southern California’s campus, her performance was that of a stadium tour. Incredibly rehearsed, she showed off her dancing skills with her backup dancers and hit every note beautifully. She closed her set with “Faded Love,” her new song that features Future and is quickly climbing the charts.

Spotted: Shaun White. 

Spotted: Shaun White. 

In the middle of all of this, it was a difficult decision as whether to watch the skateboard or snowboarding competitions. Popping into the skatepark, the winner of the Best Trick Competition the first day was Alex Sorgente. Heimana Reynolds took home the first place trophy for the skateboard Best Trick competition the second night. He was joined on the podium by Tom Schaaf and 14-year-old CJ Collins. These awards were presented by snowboard legend Shaun White, who at the 2018 Winter Olympics broke the record for the highest score in men’s snowboarding halfpipe. Needless to say, fans were very excited to see him in such an intimate setting.

The skating competitions kept us on edge.

The skating competitions kept us on edge.

To continue the high energy of the festival, Griz played an ever upbeat set on night two. The DJ recently announced that he’ll be pursuing a rap and spoken word project instead of EDM, and he proved this by beginning his set rapping over his own beats. After a couple songs of this, he transformed back into what his fans know and love, belting out groovy tunes through his saxophone. Closing out the night was French pop band, Phoenix, who absolutely owned the stage. The crowd was happy to close out the night with their hit song “1901.”

Pheonix singing to the crowd. 

Pheonix singing to the crowd. 

The mutual love for high adrenaline sports and live performance created an instant bond that brought the crowd at Air + Style together, and it was apparent at every show and event. To add to that, it seemed like the musicians were inspired by the athletes. Every set seemed to be the artists showcasing the best of their best; every trick was an athlete proving their insane capabilities. It was an impressive sight to see and something you do not want to miss out on if Air + Style comes to your city.

Learn more about Air + Style here.

-Benjamin

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Top 10 Things To Do At LA's Air + Style This Weekend

By: Benjamin Tillis

On March 3rd and 4th, Los Angeles is hosting the incredibly unique event Air + Style, which combines a star-stacked music festival lineup with a snowboard and skateboard competition. Check out the ten things that BolderBeat can’t wait to see, and why you should grab a ticket before it’s too late!

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10. Snow in Los Angeles...Outside! - Instead of another weekend at the beach, watch talented riders show off their moves on the giant snow park at the festival. You can pretend the Pyeongchang Winter Games aren’t over!

9. Exposition Park - Located near Downtown Los Angeles and near University of Southern California, Expo Park is beautiful park and a great place to spend your weekend. There may be snow on the ramps and terrain parks, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the lush green grass and the sunshine.

8. Universal Experience - Also taking place in Sydney in August and in Beijing in November, Air + Style is an international event that Los Angeles is fortunate to host. The festival will connect you to others across the globe who also enjoy the adrenaline rush of sports and the excitement of live music.

7. Merchandise - Let out your inner skater with Air + Style’s awesome merch. Deck yourself out here!

6. Skateboarding - In previous years, Air + Style only showcased snowboarders, but this year they’re adding the exhilarating event of skateboarding. This should resonate well with a city that has such a deep-rooted skating culture.

5. Street Style Snowboarding - Also added to the event line up is Streetstyle Snowboarding. Inspired by “skateboard jam competitions with urban terrain and a best trick contest,” this is sure to add variety to the games.

4. Delicious Foods - With awesome sponsors like Califa Farms, Saint Archer Brewing Co., Clif, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Beatbox, we’re confident there will be scrumptious eats and drinks for when you want a break from the music and sports.

3. Zedd - This Russian superstar is enjoying the success of his Billboard-topping new track, “The Middle,” on which he collaborates with Marin Morris and Grey. Lucky for you, on Saturday night he’s playing a headlining set at Air + Style.

2. BadBadNotGood - Added in the final wave of musical artists for the festival, BadBadNotGood provides a change of pace for the generally upbeat and EDM-focused lineup. This jazz quartet can get seriously groovy and will leave you blown away with the musical talent they possess on stage. Check out their track “Confession” ft. Leland Whitty for a little taste.

1. Phoenix - Returning to LA since their show at Hollywood Bowl in June ‘17, Phoenix will be showcasing songs from their newest album Ti Amo, while also belting out familiar jams like “1901” and “Lisztomania”. This will be their last show in the US until July.

Music and extreme sports: what else could you ask for? Don’t miss out on everything above plus much more this weekend at Air + Style! You can get your tickets here!

-Benjamin

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

BADBADNOTGOOD Talk To Us About Who They Want To Work With Next

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD are best known for their interpretations and collaborations in the realm of modern hip-hop. The four piece post-hop and jazz improv group first came together in 2010 at Humber College’s jazz program over their love of MF Doom and Odd Future. Founding members Matthew A. Tavares (keys), Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinksi (drums) actually released their “Odd Future Sessions Part 1” on YouTube after their jazz instructors were unimpressed with the project. Ironically, it grabbed the attention of Tyler, The Creator himself and went viral. Since then, Leland Whitney (saxophone) has joined the mix, and together the quartet have worked with Tyler, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown, Ghostface Killah, Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Mick Jenkins, Kaytranada, and more. The band are currently touring on their fifth studio album, aptly titled 'IV,' which BBC Radio 6 Music called the #1 album of 2016. This weekend, BADBADNOTGOOD play Denver’s Gothic Friday (01/13), and will take Boulder’s Fox Theatre stage with Sur Ellz Saturday (01/14). Grab tickets while you can here, and in the meantime, check out our chat with this crazy talented crew:

You guys had quite the international tour recently. Any spots along the way you’re really hoping to get back to in 2017?

We went to a lot of new countries we’d never seen before last year- Japan, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico- they would all be amazing to visit again but we have a great time everywhere!

BBC Radio 6 Music picked 'IV' as their album of the year for 2016. What was your initial reaction to hearing that?

Very, very surprised to be honest. There were so many incredible albums we loved on that list and we didn’t feel like ours was a serious contender! We’re extremely happy about the recognition IV has gained. We’re also eternally grateful to our friends in the UK like Gilles Peterson, and all the other DJs at the BBC and otherwise for all the support they’ve shown us over the years!

What were some of your favorite albums dropped in 2016?

Solange’s A Seat at the Table, Kaytranada’s 99.9%, Anderson.Paak’s Malibu, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, A Tribe Called Quest’s We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, and Andy Shauf’s The Party, among many others!

BADBADNOTGOOD.

BADBADNOTGOOD.

Festival lineup announcements have begun. Anything you can hint at about your summer plans?

Sure! We’re going to be playing some incredible festivals across the world- Bonnaroo and Primavera to name a couple that have been announced. We’ll be around Europe, North America, and a few other trips are in the works. We’re also going to have a lot of time at home this year to record and get into some different projects! Peace and love for 2017.

Over the past couple of years, your collaborations with various hip-hop artists have been incredibly impressive. Who is next on your short list of peeps you’re hoping to work with?

We’d love to get a concise project together with Kaytranada. We’ve got so much work in the vault that has yet to come out, and he’s a great friend who’s a pleasure to work with. That’s probably top of the list right now. There are a bunch of other friends in Toronto who we’re stoked to record with too!

Give IV a listen:

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When are you headed back in the studio?

Pretty soon probably! No idea what we’re going to work on, or what it’s going to sound like though.

If you had to tell us in one word what it was like working with Ghostface Killah on an entire album ('Sour Soul'), what would it be?

Wow one word... Challenging but also rewarding and amazing!

Make sure to catch BBNG at their Colorado shows this weekend; keep up with BADBADNOTGOOD here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Five Arstists You Should See at Vertex Festival This Weekend

By: Annie Kane

Buena Vista’s inaugural music festival, Vertex, is bringing some huge acts to its majestic landscape.

Vertex Festival, presented by Madison House and AEG Live, is scheduled to bring a variety of big name artists from both blues rock (Alabama Shakes) to electronic (Odesza) genres to the recently rehabilitated ranch surrounded by 14ers in the mountain country of Buena Vista. But the killer lineup doesn’t end after the big names. Many of the smaller artists chosen that are placed on the third tier of the lineup still have huge musical credibility to their name, and most definitely should not be skipped over. Here are our top five must-see acts from that portion of the lineup:

Dawes

California-based rock band Dawes bring their approach to raw old-school touch to their sound. Their vintage feel is a result of recording their live sessions on an analog tape, and inspiration from one of the most classic bands of all time, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their rich sound will echo beautifully Vertex’s grand venue.

Ryan Hemsworth

Ryan Hemsworth is an explorative DJ raised in Nova Scotia. Despite only releasing singles since his last album in 2014, Alone for the First Time, Hemsworth has been riding a wave of fame this year. With access to a computer, it is easy for most anyone to become a producer, but it is rare for someone to be able to truly create art from simple beats. Ryan Hemsworth has this talent. His sound mixes misplaced voices, sometimes even whispers, into deep, twinkly, and ecstatic beats to create something that is like Pop Rocks for your ears. His set will be filled with all sorts of good vibes.

Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote has dubbed their genre as “future soul”. One short listen, and you can tell that this self-identification is spot on. Nai Palm, the frontwoman of the band, has a full voice reminiscent of Amy Winehouse that when combined with drums, keyboards, and sci-fi space-like sounds creates something you’ve surely never heard before. They’ve collaborated with fellow Vertex artist, Anderson Paak, along with Q-Tip, and have opened for the revered Erykah Badu. Nai Palm tells the Wall Street Journal that their music isn’t “genre specific… If you have enough different influences, it becomes a hybrid of your own. The collective viewpoint defines us." Catch their box-breaking set on Sunday.

Big Wild

We caught up with Jackson Stell, the brains behind the name of Big Wild, while he toured through Denver earlier this summer. Read our interview with him here, and peep a recap video of his show at the Larimer Lounge here. Big Wild is a DJ worth seeing live. He does not sit behind a computer, press a spacebar and then continue to vibe out to his own music; rather, Stell switches between his laptop, drums, keyboards and even an acoustic drum set-up. East coast native and California transplant Stell mixes a variety of super fun sounds into his songs, along with remixing a variety of well known songs, such as “Show Me Love” by Hundred Waters feat. Chance the Rapper. Big Wild had everybody dancing at his show in Denver, and he’s guaranteed to make you move at Vertex too.

BadBadNotGood

Recent collaborator on Kaytranada’s latest album, BadBadNotGood has been making big waves in the hip-hop community despite being a jazz-focused ensemble. The group, consisting of Matthew Tavares (keyboards/synthesizer), Chester Hansen (bass) and Alexander Sowinski (drums), have already worked with Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, Wu Tang’s Ghostface Killah and Mick Jenkins. Their shared love of jazz and hip-hop led them to reinterpret famous hip-hop songs, which has attracted the attention of big name artists. BadBadNotGood is one of those almost-underground voices that is driving an  innovative change in music. Check out their song with Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring, “Time Moves Slow”.

See the whole lineup for Vertex Music Festival here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.