September 21, 2015 Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival Erupts Jones Beach, NY 8-23-15
After what was a non-stop party on Saturday August 22nd at Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival, the second and final day, on Sunday the 23rd, promised to be equally as exciting. While Day One included acts like Jason Derulo, The Weeknd, Lil Wayne, and so much more, Day Two had a total of twenty-five artists scheduled to perform including Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, Justin Bieber, as well as a grand finale firework show. A lineup with something for everyone, people of all ages gathered in the parking lots early ready to bask in the sun and enjoy a diverse mix of music ranging from Alternative Rock, to Hip Hop, to Electronic music. Having amazingly overdrew the turn out from the day prior, Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival shattered attendance records and is said to now be the most attended events at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater history. With that all said, Day Two was one that would not be forgotten as it kicked off around 1 PM.
On the Samsung Level Stage, the band calling themselves X Ambassadors; consisting of Sam (vocals,guitar), Casey Harris (keyboards), long-time friend Noah Feldshuh (guitar), and Adam Levin (drums), made their appearance at 2 PM. Hailing from Ithaca, New York, the band has quickly risen in popularity following being brought to the attention of Interscope Records by Imagine Dragons, leading to a record deal. Releasing their self-titled EP in 2009, followed by LP Litost, Love Songs Drug Songs EP in 2013, and The Reason EP in 2014, 2015 saw them put out their debut full-length VHS. Working closely and touring with Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors have also toured with Jimmy Eat World, The Mowglis, and Panic! at the Disco along their ride to the top. Coming out with the sun shining bright, X Ambassadors pumped out a variety of tracks including “Unconsolable”, “Jungle,” and “Renegades.” Putting everything they had into their performance, the emotion displayed had the crowd applauding for this early day set. X Ambassadors will be touring the next three months in the US, as well as abroad.
Over at the Beach Stage at 3 PM, from Paterson, New Jersey, Hip Hop/R & B artist Fetty Wap was set to unleashed his music. Overcoming glaucoma at a young age, he began rapping in 2013 and gained major success in 2015 with the single “Trap Queen,” which reached number 2 on the United States Billboard in May 2015 and won MC100 Award of 2015 by Music Choice for most played song. Showing he has a lot to offer, he has also released top-ten singles “679” and “My Way.” Signing with 300 Entertainment in 2014, Fetty Wap is set to release his self-titled debut album September 25th. Excited for the new album, Fetty Wap performed hit “Trap Queen” along with “679,” “Again,” and “TGF Island,” among others. Engaging with the audience the entire performance, Fetty Wap even hopped into the crowd to sing directly to the crowd of supporters. He will be on tour with Chris Brown for the One Hell Of A Night tour until November.
From Tempe, Arizona, Alternative Rock band The Maine stepped up to the plate at 3 PM at the Samsung Level Stage. John O’Callaghan (vocals), Garrett Nickelsen (bass), Pat Kirch (drums), Kennedy Brock (guitar, vocals), and Jared Monaco (guitar) make up this captivating group which have toured regularly through the past few years, including an appearance on 2014’s Vans Warped Tour. Formed in 2007, they quickly released the EP Stay Up, Get Down, followed by a five song EP in 2007, The Way We Talk. Marching on, The Maine’s first full-length album, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and …And a Happy New Year were released the following year. Without losing speed, they released their second full-length album, Black & White, in 2010, selling 22,634 copies in its first week. Just one year later, the group released Pioneer, peaking at No. 90 on the Billboard 200. Progressing in their style, Forever Halloween was released in 2013, reaching No. 39 on the Billboard 200, and selling over 10,000 copies in its first week and earning a deluxe edition in 2014.
Now one of the hottest in Alternative Rock, the band have extended their fanbase by leaps and bounds and in 2015, releasing the tremendous album American Candy. Drawing one of the biggest crowds of the young day, they opened with “Miles Away” from their newest release, they continued to shuffle the deck of albums with “Run,” “Growing Up,” “Misery,” “My Hair,” and “Same Suit Different Tie.” Visiting Pioneer, they performed “Like We Did (Windows Down)” before closing out on two more tracks from the newest release, “English Girls” and title track, “American Candy.” Simply put, The Maine was a highlight of Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival that many were talking about. They began the Free For All Tour on September 15th at The Bowery Ballroom and end the run on February 17th in the UK. Do not miss this opportunity as many of the shows will be 100% free.
Keeping the action coming at the Samsung Level Stage, New York City-based DJ/producer/songwriter duo The Chainsmokers were next at 4 PM. Consisting of Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, they initially formed as an EDM DJ duo in 2012. Primarily remixing Indie artists, they began to work with various artists, releasing their own singles. Their 2014 single “#Selfie” reached #16 on US charts and #11 on UK charts. The follow-ups of “Kanye” and “Let You Go” led to a contract signing with Sony Music’s Disruptor Records. Anxious to begin, the duo pumped out a set that included their remix of Smallpools song “Dreaming,” Misterwives’ “Reflections,” “Kayne,” and “Let You Go.” The Chainsmokers will be performing a few more US dates before heading to Asia until early October where they will be back in The States gearing up for the Friendzone Tour 2015 beginning in late October through early December.
Over at the Hot 100 Stage, also at 4 PM, The New York Indie Pop band Misterwives were fired up and ready to go. Covering the genres of Soul, Dance, Pop, and Folk are Mandy Lee (vocals), William Hehir (bass), Etienne Bowler (drums), Marc Campbell (guitar), Mike Murphy (saxophone), and Jesse Blum (keys, trumpet, accordion). Formed in 2012, they were immediately signed to Photo Finish Records and their debut EP Reflections released in January 2014. Releasing another EP, Spotify Sessions, later that year, the band’s debut album Our Own House dropped February 2015. Having opened for acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Half Moon Run, Bleachers, The Mowgli’s, and American Authors, they are a young band with a mission for big things. Taking advance of the large stage, Lee moved about with grace as she sang songs such as “No Need for Dreaming,” “Hurricanes,” and “Not Your Way.” Having the amphitheaters attention, they also included their top 40 singles “Reflections” and “Our Own House” to a wall of cheers. Their Scrapbook Tour began on September 19th and will zig-zag across the US through November 8th. Look out for this determined, energetic group.
From Brooklyn, New York, Holy Ghost! made their way to the Samsung Level Stage at 5 PM. Consisting of Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, this duo represents the Synthpop genre alongside touring members Chris Maher (guitar, percussion, background vocals), Erik Tonnesen (synthesizers, background vocals), Sam Jones (synthesizers, percussion, background vocals), and Jim Orso (drums, background vocals). Friends since elementary school, these two had big dreams of making it with their music, first forming Automato, then working on various remixes for Moby, Cut Copy, and MGMT, among others. Signed to DFA, their debut single “Hold On” released in November 2007, followed by mix album The Remixes Vol 1 in 2009, 2010’s EP Static On The Wire, 2011’s self-titled album, 2013’s Dynamics, and 2015’s mix album Work For Hire. With a high-energy set, they entertained with a setlist of Dance tunes that also created an atmosphere that grabbed hold of everyone watching. Those interested in seeing what they are all about, Holy Ghost! is scheduled for a DJ set on October 10th out in San Diego, California.
From Pinetop, Arizona, Indie Pop artist Zella Day stepped onto the Beach Stage at around 5:25 PM. Professionally releasing music since 2009, Zella Day has a handful of singles, two EPs, and two studio albums. One of those singles, “Hypnotic,” off 2015’s EP Kicker, charted at 25 on US charts as more people discover her talents. Coming out with her band in a very casual laid back way, Day went into songs like “Jerome,” “High,” and “Aces of Hearts.” Explaining her affection for music, Day’s ambient sound was entrancing as they also played other tracks like “Hypnotic” to a positive reception. With a Hippie-like vibe flowing, Day and company oozed a Bohemian style in front of a crowd that moved to the unique beats all set long. Day will be performing on the West Coast through September and will be headed overseas in November for European dates.
From Bergen, Norway, DJ/record producer Kygo hit the Hot 100 Stage just around 5:30 PM. Beginning interest in music at age six on piano, at sixteen, he self-taught and began producing music using Logic Studio and a Midi Keyboard. Becoming well known, in 2014, Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin asked Kygo to remix “Midnight.” He has also gained international attention for his remix of Ed Sheeran’s track “I See Fire” and his single “Firestone” featuring Conrad Sewell. Furthermore, signed to Sony Music, Kygo has a slew of remixes and highly charted singles. Keeping fans in the stands, his performance included “Firestone,” the remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” which had many singing along. Kygo will be returning to the US for select sets, so check out his page for more information.
From Calgary, Alberta, Canada, singer and multi-instrumentalist Kiesza was ready to set sail at approximately 6:25 PM on the Samsung Level Stage. With an impressive background as a sailing instructor, reservist in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Naval Communicator, teaching herself guitar, trained in multiple dance styles, and competitor in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, Kiesza is a multi-threat. Independently releasing her self-titled album in 2008, she released her first single “Oops” in 2012 and has written for artists such as Rihanna, Kylie Minogue, and Icona Pop. In 2014, her major label debut, Sound of a Woman, was brought to the table and topped charts all over the world. Also in 2014, the single “Hideaway” took a spot at #1 of UK charts, and single “Giant in My Heart” took #4. Collaborating with Skrillex and Diplo, “Take You There” was born to be released on a mixtape, and after all that success, she appears on Duran Duran’s new Paper Gods.
Pushing her talents even further, plans for a fashion line may be a reality soon as well for Kiesza. Compelling in so many ways, she took her powerful voice to the limit with songs like “No Enemiesz,” “Giant in My Heart,” as well as “Sound of a Woman.” Not excluding the big hit “Hideaway,” Kiesza shined bright in the time she was given. She has select appearances on tap, including one September 26th in Toronto, Canada before she hits the West Coast in November, playing alongside names like Fatboy Slim, Muse, and Pixies.
As the temperature began to cool off some and the sun set over at the Beach Stage, around 7:30 PM was Californian singer-songwriter and her band Tori Kelly. Determined to make a career out of performing, Kelly began to open eyes at the early age of fourteen years old when she uploaded videos of her playing. Trying out for American Idol at sixteen, Kelly kept putting in hard time in the years to follow, and in 2012 independently released their debut EP Handmade Songs. Proving hard work and determination pays off, in 2013 she signed with Capitol Records and put out the highly charted EP Foreword. This would only be the beginning for Kelly, and in 2015 finally put out a full-length record Unbreakable Smile, which includes her first ever Billboard 100 single, “Nobody Love.” Drawing a generous size crowd of adoring fans, Kelly came onto the stage with acoustic guitar and a bright smile that no one could deny. Showcasing her ever-so-soulful singing voice, Kelly offered up songs like “Expensive,” “Unbreakable Smile,” and “Anyway.” Clearly influenced by R&B, Kelly let that be known with a rendition of Lauyrn Hill’s “Doo-Wop (That Thing),” where she did an amazing job adding passion to all the right points in the song. Closing out with single “Should’ve Been Us,” and of course, “Nobody Love,” Kelly received a sea of applause from a crowd wanting more. Those wanting more, Kelly continues her Where I Below Tour across America through the end of November, so get out and see what all the talk is about.
Proving Classical music can also break into Pop charts, Lindsey Stirling was ready to take the Samsung Level Stage at 7:50 PM. From Santa Ana, CA, Stirling is quite the talent as a violinist, dancer, performance artist, singer, and composer. Launching her YouTube channel back in 2007, Stirling introduced the world to her amazing talents and won awards both in 2013 as well as 2015 from YouTube Music Awards. Proving success can be attained independent of a major record label, her 2012 self-titled debut record went platinum and topped charts internationally. That is why it was no surprise 2014’s Shatter Me debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 100 and has been red-hot ever since. More over, Stirling has quickly become a live concert experience that people from all walks of life are enticed to see, and it showed by the turn out for her at Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival.
With her eloquent stage presence, Stirling played a set that included “Ascendance,” “Moon Trance,” and “Master of Tides.” Tireless, she gracefully moved about the stage stroking her violin and wowing the audience in the process. With music that is primarily all instrumental, not only does Stirling prove the modern listener’s attention span can in fact be lengthened, but can also appreciate compositions with Classic structure. Playing other songs like “Firefly” and “Beyond the Veil,” among others, Stirling was nothing less than flawless in both creating a colorful sound and visual for the audience. There are a handful of shows scheduled this Fall, and for those unfamiliar with Stirling, there is also her YouTube channel to become hooked.
With the night sky above, at around 8:30 PM over at the Beach Stage, concert goers gathered to see Ryn Weaver. Hailing from Southern California, Weaver brings a unique blend of Pop Rock, Synthpop, and International sensibility to listeners with her sound. Gaining a mass of attention after the release of her single “OctaHate” in 2014, it reached number 3 on US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard), 27 on US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard), and 1 on US Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists. Following up with her debut full-length album via Interscope Records in June of 2015 entitled Fools, Weaver is on the verge of super-stardom. Coming onto the stage with her band, Weaver immediately raised the heat with a set of songs that included songs like “Runaway,” “Pierre,” and “Sail On.” Putting her entire heart and soul into the performance, Weaver was all over the stage and even jumped down into crowd to sing to fans directly and dance with a security guard. Expressing how excited she was to be performing at the festival, Weaver had no shortage of energy and was thoroughly entertaining through her set that included “OctoHate.” Weaver has plenty of shows remaining in 2015, including a return to New York on November 19th at Webster Hall in NYC and November 20th at Warsaw in Brooklyn.
As one of Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival biggest names, Skrillex drew a packed amphitheater of eager listeners around 8:40 PM at the Hot 100 Stage. With a rich history in Rock and Metal, Skrillex began his solo career back in 2007 and released his debut EP, Gypsyhook, back in 2009 under the name Sonny. Still finding his musical identity, he began going under the stage name Skrillex around 2010 when he released the EP My Name Is Skrillex. Quickly following up that same year with the EP Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, Skrillex became a leader in the trending Dubstep scene. Now considered one of the top producers, songwriters, and DJs in the world, Skrillex brings the Dubstep genre to something much more grand as a winner of six Grammy Awards, and a slew of hit singles. Debuting at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 charts with his full-length album Recess in 2014, Skrillex continues to ride a wave of success that does not seem to be settling anytime soon.
With everyone on their feet, the pitch-black quickly turned into a bright white lights flickering as the set began. Quickly illuminating the large screen set behind Skrillex, the set lifted off and he quickly asked everyone, “Where is the Jack Ü crew,” as everyone sang along with “Take Ü There.” With trippy visuals of robots dancing, machines pumping smoke into the sky, and Skrillex keeping the rhythm flowing, the set included cuts like Doctor P’s “Watch Out,” A$AP Ferg “Work,” among countless others. Keeping everyone on their feet and bouncing up and down for over an hour, Skrillex’s set was both electrifying as well as interactive. The top Electronic music producer now takes his show over to Asia and India through October and will return to the USA for the Mad Decent Boat Party out of Miami, Florida.
As one of the last three acts to perform at Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival, just around the 9:30 PM hour over at the Samsung Level Stage was New York City based American Authors. On the scene for some time now, American Authors, in recent years, has become one of the hottest in Alternative Rock following the massive success of 2013 number one, multi-platinum selling single “”Best Day of My Life.” Touring with bands like The Fray in 2013, 2014 saw selling out headlining tours in support of their their debut full-length album Oh, What a Life. Walking out, Lead Vocalist Zac Barnett, Guitarist James Adam Shelley, Bassist/Keyboardist Dave Rublin, and Drummer Matt Sanchez were all smiles as they immediately lit up the stage. Playing songs like “Believer,” “Trouble,” and “Luck,” the band showed their diverse Rock sound that is both catchy, as well as uplifting. Continuously engaging the audience and enticing them to sing along, they mixed in a cover of Walk The Moon’s hit “Shut Up and Dance” and also played other singles like “Go Big or Go Home.” Wrapping up the action-packed performance with the aforementioned “Best Day of My Life,” American Authors bid farewell to the crowd with appreciation for their attention. There is currently only one US date on tap for the band for the remainder of 2015 before a couple of dates in Mexico through October, but there is no doubt they will be exciting crowds again very soon.
Closing out the extensive two day music festival at around 9:30 PM at the Beach Stage was Danish based Alternative Rock trio New Politics. Put together back in 2009 by Vocalist David Boyd and Guitarist/Keyboardist/Bassist Søren Hansen, they made the decision to uproot from their homeland and relocate to New York City to follow their musical dreams. Since releasing three full-length records including their 2010 self-titled debut, 2013’s breakout, Bad Girl in Harlem, and most recent, 2015’s Vikings, New Politics continue a steady progression as a band. Finding a stable drummer in Long Island native Louis Vecchio, they are one tight knit group, ready to dominate.
Going up against American Authors over at the Samsung Level Stage and Justin Bieber at the Hot 100 Stage during the same time slot, New Politics were up for the challenge and immediately attracted attention with a lively set that included early hit “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” bass throbbing “Just Like Me,” among others. As Boyd warmed up in no time, he was like a madman dancing about the stage through newer singles “Everywhere I Go (Kings & Queens)” and “West End Kids” as all of a sudden a smaller crowd of dedicate fans turned into a huge crowd of passerbys curious to see New Politics stage show. Amping things up a notch, the band broke into a killer cover of Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” that had the crowd moving more than ever. Unfortunately due to time restrictions, it seemed New Politics set was done within mere minutes as they pumped out mega hit single “Bad Girl” where everyone had their hands in the air and Boyd jumped into the crowd grabbing as many hands as possible, showing New Politics were one of the most fan-friendly acts all day. There was absolutely no doubt by the time their performance was complete, that they had made believers out of a whole new group of people who will be making their way out to see them on The Wilderness Politics Tour with Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness come November 25th when it hits The Paramount in Huntington, NY.
Being the first ever Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival, many did not know what exactly to expect. Inevitably, the star-power was so massive the two days exceeded attendees expectations, leaving many wondering if the festival would be returning in 2016. Judging by the turnout and enthusiasm of the crowd, there is a very strong possibility 2016 will see the festival return with perhaps a bigger lineup. So keep warm this Winter, keep up to date on what is topping charts, and keep a look out for Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival’s return next Summer.