There was something very déjà vu about watching Cold War Kids in the rain at Catalpa Festival on Sunday afternoon. It recalled watching the band at last weekend’s Firefly Music Fest in Delaware, where rain was also a support act no-one really appreciated making an appearance on the bill. But the downpour didn’t last long, and when that sun came out and the view of the city skyline cleared, it highlighted the pretty setting of New York’s first Catalpa Festival, held on Randall’s Island.
A stubborn back injury meant I missed out on seeing the Saturday line-up of Hercules & the Love Affair, TV on the Radio, Zola Jesus and the Black Keys, who, from what I’ve read, put on impressive enough shows. Sunday’s line-up featured Matisyahu, no longer sporting his distinctive beard and locks as a result of his change in spiritual direction. His brand of reggae, rock, hip-hop and beat-boxing was familiar though, even if his sound has a bit more of a pop slant to it now. He teased the audience about wanting to hear hits King Without a Crown and One Day, and kept them for the end of his set.
Matt & Kim and Girl Talk created a massive party vibe at the main stage, while AraabMuzik kept it going on the smaller Jeep stage. I’m glad I managed to catch a bit of his set because his intense mixing, done with a deft hand, created a dreamy, trance-like unexpected bit of fun on the other side of the festival grounds.
Sunday’s highlight was no doubt Snoop Dogg’s live performance of his debut album, Doggystyle, complete with the scruffy dog from the album cover in tow. After performing the tracks on it, albeit in a shuffled order, Snoop came back for an encore, saying: “I ain’t stopping, I’m like the bunny, I keep going and going.” He ended the set – and Catalpa’s first festival – on an, ahem, high, with his Pharrell-Williams-produced track Drop It Like It’s Hot and the Wiz Khalifa number Young, Wild and Free.
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