Three weekends ago, I had the privilege of being sent to New Orleans to cover Buku Music + Art Festival. While the festival lasted but two days, the rowdy factor added by the location of the Big Easy made this show too good to resist. So allow my words and some photos courtesy ofaLive Coverage to show you what New Orleans could throw down when EDM Sauce came to town. Commence with the judgment!
To begin with, I would first like to commend Buku and everyone who worked behind the curtains, behind the decks, the instruments, the microphones or behind the sound/light boards for putting on an amazing production. Often, its the people you never even hear of that are vital in making shows like this function smoothly.
One of the best parts about my experience at Buku was that with one or two exceptions, every single act was very timely in their performances. At a large festival, as any goer would know, it is not uncommon to have acts that are considerably late, by that I mean 10 to 15 minutes behind schedule. I had always crossed my fingers in prayer that I would attend such a concert that would do away with this folly. Mostly because, it detracts from the artists that perform later. The only act I saw that was noticeably late was Beats Antique. And that was only by about 10 minutes. I can't speak for all of the performances since obviously I wasn't at all of them but the rest seemed to be very on time.
Perhaps the second best part about my experience could have been a fluke but it struck me regardless. Every bathroom I used seemed to be really pretty clean for a festival. While this isn't exactly what you wanna hear when talking about a music festival, but it's important! Each had it's own air freshener and there weren't any horrible atrocities.
Perhaps one of the coolest parts of this festival was one of the main stages, called Float Den. It is where all the Mardi Gras floats are stored for the rest of the year and made for an awesome visual experience when not staring at the artists or light shows.
The first act I saw was Conspirator, who absolutely killed it and kicked off the festival for me on a very good note. Their live instrumentalization plus the electronic vibe put to their music is a fantastic hybrid of styles that resonate with past and future. If you have yet to see Conspirator perform live, I highly recommend going to a venue to check it out. I had been a fan for some time before I saw them and the experience changed my whole opinion.
Paper Diamond also killed it in the Float Den with a very heavy set that included a Bassnectar song as well as a PD remix that absolutely put me on the next level. It was awesome to hear sounds from artists not in attendance. Just thought I would mention my weird run in with a Alex Botwin (Paper Diamond) lookalike. While chilling in the VIP viewing area for Carnage, I saw a man who looked just like the man himself, with the exception of his trademark shades. I walked over and after some small talk asked him if he had performed earlier that day. The man replied yes, then proceeded to offer me an interview at a location on the other side of the venue. However, it never came to pass and I assumed it was just a freak occurrence.
By far my favorite part of the first night was the two final acts, Lotus and Zeds Dead. While I only got to see about 15 minutes of Lotus, their groove was untouchable and restored my energy for later.Upon my regretful departure to Zeds Dead, I was immediately confronted with awesome tuneage courtesy of the dynamic duo. One of my most clear memories was them dropping their “Here Comes the Boom” track that definitely ended the night on a high note.
The second day had me having a late start with music attendance. I managed to catch the end of Clockwork‘s set and 30 minutes of Chromeo at the Power Plant stage before heading off to GRiZ's set in the Float Den. GRiZ was the standout performance of the festival for me. The energy in the crowd was unbelievable.
Grant opened with Gettin' Live and I loved getting down to “Hard Times” and watching Grant do absolute work on the Sax. The accompanying stage visual presentation just put that entire set on the next level. Click here to see a short video of his take on “Aimin' at Your Head” by Pretty Lights which was also an incredible thing to witness
Cashmere Cat proceeded to throw down a deep set in the Back Alley stage where there was much scratching and plenty of room to groove. Wandering around, I also got to see David Guetta set up his lights and throw down at the Power Plant. While he had one of the most elaborate light set ups I had seen that weekend, it didn't stop me from barely resisting the urge to bang my head up against a cement wall when he dropped “Let Me Take a Selfie”.
Skream had an all too-small crowd for his set in the Back Alley which was rife with awesome transitions and cool vibes from everyone. The Beats Antique set was fantastic as I said before with the exception of being a bit late to come on stage. The closing act was The Glitch Mob, who presented a new stage piece with iPads sloped toward the audience so they could see what was going on. Combined with the large drums, this set was a visual journey as well as musical. If you can stand the shakey-cam effect, below you can find a video of the entire set.
The Mystery Factor
By far the most game changing aspect of the weekend was how crazy it got after the concert closed down. Bourbon St goes all night and attracts all kinds of people. Ontop of reuiniting my group with some friends we had met the first day, nothing could have been better than the food, drinks and raucous laghter provided to us by the denizens of Bourbon St post 3 am. I would highly recommend anyone who has not been to New Orleans to hit up Buku next year and make all the best memories.
Photo credit: aLive Coverage