You saw our Firefly Music Festival 2016 preview playlist, and with the weekend over, we’ve returned to tell you that over the past few days, we had a fabulous time in Dover, Delaware. Blink-182 proved that they still got it in this post-Tom DeLonge era, Death Cab For Cutie showed why they’re one of the most storied indie groups of this millennium, and deadmau5 brought the house down with thumping electronica.
We also saw rousing performances by CHVRCHES, Grouplove, and The Wombats, but those acts all have another thing in common: They posed for our series of old-school artist portraits. We brought an instant film camera with us, met up with a few of our favorite artists, and took what we think are some pretty neat visual representations of the weekend.
We also spoke with CHVRCHES and Tame Impala, so keep an eye out on those conversations soon. In the meantime, here are a few artists we love who took a couple minutes out of their weekend to briefly stand in front of our camera.
The U.K.-based group was one of our favorites going into this year’s Firefly: Their 2013 debut album Where The Heaven Are We is an absolutely ideal summer record filled with bright and dreamy indie pop, and their most recent effort, 2015’s Mothers, is also nothing to scoff at. But seriously, listen to “Honey” and try not to smile.
Strangers You Know
The California indie-folk-pop-electro duo is a true multi-hyphenate, incorporating a bunch of different elements into their sound. Strangers You Know takes a lot of what people have been into recently and combines it into an aesthetic that has a foot in many camps without stretching itself too thin. Again, this is great stuff for summer, which explains why they totally nailed their Firefly performance.
If this Queens-based rock band is anything, they’re relatable: We chatted casually about the intricacies of U2’s discography before and after our photo shoot, and their music has a similar sense of accessibility. It’s rooted in soulful, straightforward rock vibes, which is probably why blues and rock legend Bo Diddley joined them on their song “Rain Dance.”
We asked Grouplove to pose like they were shooting a ’90s rap album cover, and like everything else they do, they dove headfirst right into it. You’ve heard “Tongue-Tied,” and while it’s an energetic cut, that intensity was ramped up about 9000 times in front of an excitable Firefly crowd. They used every square nanometer of the stage, and even that wasn’t enough, considering Christian Zucconi found himself in the audience at one point.
Quilt (and a security guard)
No, the man in uniform isn’t part of the band, he was just nearby and we figured he’d be a fun (temporary) addition to Quilt. Not that they need any help: The Boston-based group is doing just fine as-is, pumping out some cool indie rock that has both fun ’60s folk vibes and ’90s rock edge. Take “Roller” for example, a fun mid-tempo cut that’s somewhat shoegaze-y but also has some Sheryl Crow in it.
Boy & Bear
Indie folk is alive and well, and Mumford & Sons weren’t the only ones bringing it for Firefly this summer. Boy & Bear is also plenty capable of gorgeous melodies with organic instrumentation, but there’s more of a country hint to it. It’s a timeless sound, which, combined with their penchant for quality songwriting, helps explain their broad appeal and instantly accessible discography.
The Wombats combine electro pop and indie rock in a way that’s working extremely well for them: their two most recent albums, 2011’s This Modern Glitch and 2015’s Glitterbug, both reached the top 5 of the U.K. and Australian charts. “Greek Tragedy” is a particularly engaging tune, equal parts The 1975 and CHVRCHES. Speaking of…
The rafters of the Nerdist offices have long echoed with the praises of CHVRCHES, so it goes without saying that we were beyond excited to meet our favorite Scottish trio. If for some reason you don’t know, CHVRCHES is making some of the most terrifically terrific indie pop that’s ever been terrific, and they came out swinging at Firefly with a breathtaking display of their prowess. If this weekend has accomplished anything, it’s re-enforced our love for CHVRCHES.
And again, we spoke to CHVRCHES (and Tame Impala) in Delaware this weekend, so keep an eye out for both of those conversations, coming at you soon.
Images: Derrick Rossignol