Words by Corynne Fernandez and photos by Kayla Fernandez
Separating itself from other California festivals, Tropicalia was a true testament to unity through diversity. From their unequivocal lineup that was composed of acts like Los Tigres Del Norte and King Krule, to their seamless-execution of the So-Cal tropic theme, and the highly sought for free-tacos, the festival was a success on all parts with minimal hiccups along the way. We had the chance to cover some of the most anticipated new acts and document their performances below. Thank you to the media team at Tropicalia for being the sweetest group of people as well!
Ringing in the day’s festivities, was Current Joys. While festival goers made their way in, the crowd for their set was in full force, igniting mosh pits and echoing the group’s lyrics throughout.
The band comprised of Nick Rattigan, lead singer from Current Joys, and Jacob Rubeck, carried the same energy through their set. With co-singer, Rattigan, never missing a beat and Rubeck equally interacting with the frenzied crowd, the duo played hits like Doom Generation, Freaks, and Goth Babe.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated new artists was England native, Jorja Smith; most of the crowd at the Dia De Los Puercos stage had been waiting from the start of the festival for her set. Even with little movement, Smith and her accompanying band captured not only her audience but onlookers from other stages and the infamous taco lines, playing brand new songs from her latest EP, as well as fan favorite, Blue Lights.
We had the chance to catch Inner Wave—a favorite of Lucid Dreams (check out our interview here)—while they played at the Mota Stage to their largest crowd. For many, it was the first time hearing the band, while others had flown from out of state solely to see the group. Needless to say, Inner Wave did not disappoint, and elicited a retrogressive synergy with songs like Bower, Discipline, and American Spirits.
Amongst all the acts, the best dressed had to be the collective Buttertones, in which they set the tone for their signature surfer-soul discography, and paid homage to the tailored looked that characterized the 50’s and 60’s. Throughout the entirety of the set, not one sun-kissed head was still, and the 5-piece thrived off what the crowd gave so enthusiastically. What set the Buttertones apart was their use of sax in combo with their unique rock, doo-wop additions, creating an ambience unlike any other.
Our first introduction to the main stage also happened to be our first introduction to rising Latino-heartthrob, Cuco. His fanbase was larger than life and vocalized their appreciation during every song which varied from melodic tunes in both English and Spanish. Still coming into his own onstage, the somewhat sheepish energy added to the overall dream-filled performance with the occasional tempo shifts.
As the sun was setting, there was no better time for emerging UK artist, Yellow Days to come on and soundtrack the hazy sunset with his fuzzy jazz-inspired riffs and languorous gritty vocals. Being his first show in the US, he amassed a vast crowd of devoted listeners and new-comers alike, all enthralled by every raw bellow.
Amid the stellar lineup, long-awaited act, King Krule, made his way to the center of the blue-lit main stage and delivered his characteristically violent yet tender harmonies that set the crowd aflame, which seemingly went on for miles. Despite a set delay, Archie (performing under the name King Krule) left little for the audience to yearn for, performing a variety of songs from his debut LP, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, and his new album, The OOZ, for which he is currently touring.
One of our favorites from Tropicalia, was Columbian female-artist, Kali Uchis; gracing the stage in her Selena-esque ensemble, Uchis, brought an experience unique to her performance. Looking around, there was not one person that wasn’t belting the lyrics to songs like Melting, Speed, and Loner among the diverse sea of people. Kali delivered not only with her own work, but also covered Al Green’s RnB classic, Let’s Stay Together, and sang her feature in Tyler The Creator’s, See You Again.
Closing out the night as one of last sets, was the subdued and dream-ensuing Bane’s World. Like many of the other acts at the fest, this was the group’s first run at a festival and while their set neared midnight, that did not stop festival-goers from swarming their stage, swooning for every note. Different from their defining hazy tunes, the band also jokingly covered Radiohead’s, Creep, and fellow Long Beach natives, Sublime’s, Santeria. With playful interjections and shy lulls, Bane’s World left the crowd—certainly all the ladies—in a trance and grasping for more songs as their set was cut short. Read our interview with Shane of Bane’s World here