All words: Brandon Wetherbee, Bryce Rudow, Rohan Mahadevan, Jeb Gavin, Svetlana Legetic, Andy Johnson
All photos: Jeff Martin, Elizabeth Parker, Joy Asico, Farrah Skeiky
BYT LOVES SWEETLIFE. Maybe you caught us dancing/photographing our way through last year’s festival or you wound up in our coverage from years past (2012, 2011, 2010, for those keeping score); let there be no mistake–we love every second, every year and we’ll never stop going back for more. You can imagine, then, that we were SO PUMPED to learn this year’s 2014 date: May 10 at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Of course all of this sent us into a speculation frenzy, checking tour dates against guesses, taking wild stabs in the dark, and of course we wanted to share them with YOU. He put our heads together and came up with some of Sweetlife’s best bets, from great local acts to out dream-of-all-dreams headliners. Ready? Let’s go…
- Run The Jewels: El-P and Killer Mike stumbled onto a pretty fantastic recipe for old-school hip-hop with their underrated 2013 self-titled release, and they’ve grabbed the attention of not just hip-hop fans but the larger musical community. They’re a sexy name, they’re probably available relatively cheap, and after a pretty raucous 9:30 Club show a few months ago, they’ve more than proven that they can get D.C. crowds excited.
- James Vincent McMorrow: The token “this guy is great and we’ll give him mid-billing, but we know no one will watch him play” selection.
- Yellow Ostrich: A random but incredibly talented band that hopefully will finally get the attention they deserve after their album drops in February. This is a long shot, but when it comes true, bow to my psychic powers and good taste.
- Lorde: I bet Sweetgreen is doing all it can to lock this girl down before she realizes she could sell out Verizon Center. A tip to them: play up the “authenticity” of this festival and its audience, even if that flew out the window with the $22 million Sweetgreen just got from Steve Case.
- Future: Because Kendrick is too big to reprise his role as “the afternoon hip-hop act that everyone knows a few songs from, whether they realize it or not.”
- Queens of the Stone Age: After an extensive 2013 touring schedule that took QOTSA to nearly every other major American city (Richmond! Really?), Queens has yet to play a DC area gig. Why not headline a festival? Their schedule currently has the Sweelife date open, so why not?
Side note: It was kinda great watching this on PBS. QOTSA on PBS.
- Potty Mouth: They’re playing DC9 this week. They’re likely going to play a much larger room the next time they’re in town. It wouldn’t be shocking to see this new-ish garage whatever band play an early slot to music fans and eager teenagers.
- Panda Riot: There’s no way in hell the organizers of this fest have even heard of Panda Riot, let alone might book them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong. The Chicago act may be the future of shoegaze. Slightly cleaner vocals, wonderful fuzz and quality production. A bigger gig like this would be a huge boost to the fest’s cred and the bands future.
- HAIM: I am feeling oddly confident this will happen. Haim are all the things Sweetlife likes in a festival: buzzy as all hell, pretty, and a perfect demographic fit. They are playing a 9:30 Club show on the 8th and have a Terminal 5 show the evening of the festival on the 10th, but they could squeeze an early afternoon festival set in and then drive 3 hours up to NY no sweat, right? RIGHT.
- Broken Bells: Broken Bells are releasing a new album on February 4th and fit in perfectly in the headliner or almost headliner slot. Plus, this could serve as a great festival season warm up for them.
- GEMS: Perfect choice for the local pick.
- MISUN: Second perfect choice for the local pick.
- LO FANG: Matthew Hemerlein is in LA now, has an album coming out on 4AD, is opening for Lorde, being one of Entertainment Weekly’s faces-to-watch for 2014 and all sorts of other stuff. He has a long standing relationship with the Sweetgreen guys and this would be a great homecoming to a festival stage for him.
- Chance the Rapper: This year’s Kendrick of the line-up.
- Action Bronson: Because that would be fun to have out there in broad daylight, maybe right as 4:20pm strikes.
- Grouplove: Every year Sweetlife brings one sweeping, feel-good/pop band to fill the late afternoon pre-headliners spot. In the past they’ve had Ra Ra Riot, Passion Pit, Fun. This year-with Grouplove on tour just around that time – perfect fit.
- Warpaint: The Warpaint ladies have an album coming up, and can bring a light sense of danger to the proceedings. Which this festival should welcome.
- Chromeo: A new album dropping this Spring, no DC dates on their schedule, and they’ll be in the southeast US on May 10. Book ’em.
- Beck: He has a new album coming out in February, and he’s only played a few dates in the past year, including a set at last year’s Newport Folk Festival. He’s big enough to sell-out most venues in the area, and would be a welcome addition to the lineup. The only caveat is whether a festival that caters more toward twentysomethings would book a man whose popularity peaked a decade ago.
- The Flaming Lips: Still popular act that could draw a lot of fans. Their show last fall at MPP with Tame Impala slayed, and they’ve dropped all the goofy shit from their act. Good times.
- Lorde: I have a feeling she’s going to appear at every possible festival this year to cash in on the “Royals” buzz.
- Disclosure: Got to cash in on those festival dollars $$$$.
- Pusha T/Clipse: The 757’s best hip-hop group recently announced they’re reuniting and Sweetlife has to book at least one hip-hop act.
- Haim: NOPE THEY’RE PLAYING TERMINAL 5 THE SAME DAY.
- Priests: Sweetlife always books a local act and it would be awesome if they chose Priests this time around because they are the best band in D.C., period.
- Ex Hex: If the promoters don’t go with Priests, Ex Hex could fire the local booking. Mary Timony’s new band is already signed to Merge and will have a record out later this year. They also don’t have any dates booked for the time so it could be in the stars.
- Katy B: This is my wish, mostly because I’ve been dying to see Katy B since she started her mission. She has a record coming out this year but I doubt the promoters will snag her.
- Phantogram: This is a lock, isn’t it? They have already sold out 9:30 Club so putting them at second billing for Sweetlife seems like the next logical step.
- Chromeo: Chromeo are skipping D.C. on their first White Women tour but they have a break between the 9th and the 12th so they could possibly play Sweetlife.
- Duck Sauce: With the release of Quack later this year, Duck Sauce are sure to be a big festival draw.
- Sleater-Kinney/HAIM/Against Me!: Given the sort-of recent demise of Wild Flag and a more recent interview in which Carrie Brownstein suggested Sleater-Kinney might reunite, I’m hopeful (or rather, hoping) for a Sleater-Kinney festival hopping tour. Or perhaps their own minitour with HAIM opening just for the hell of it, on a double bill with Against Me! Check that, while I dream of Sleater-Kinney showing up to Sweetlife, I’m anticipating Against Me! playing Sweetlife.