On Saturday June 7th, the Roots hosted a musical festival in Philadelphia. The boys from “Iladelph” decided to give their beloved city a taste of a delicious musical concoction of bands such as Sharon Jones + The Dap Kings, Gnarls Barkley, The Cool Kids, Deerhoof, J*Davey, and Esperanza Spalding. Diplo and ?uestlove also hit the decks in a separate air-conditioned DJ tent keeping the concert goers happy while each of the bands got ready for their set.
The main venue was, in the spirit of the name, held outside. Despite the unbearable heat, the crowd was awed by every performance. Everyone forgot about the heat when lead singer of J*Davey, Jack Davey, hypnotized the audience with her sweet and slow lyrics. The audience vibrated with energy the second that The Roots came on to the stage. ?uestlove pounded out some amazing jazzy drum beats, and the whole set was a display of The Roots’ mastery of music and instruments. Similarly, the beats that Diplo was pounding out in the DJ tent almost rivaled ?uestlove’s ability. In the middle of Diplo’s set there was a surprise performance by Rye Rye, a protege of M.I.A.’s from Baltimore. She performed a mix of her most popular songs including “Shake It to the Ground.”
However, the initial response to Deerhoof’s performance by the audience was mock appreciation. Yet, it soon turned into a real appreciation for Deerhoof’s unconventional musical method. Even the most Guido of guys was getting into Tokyo native Satomi Matsuzaki’s quirky vocals and Greg Saunier’s wild drumming. But it was clear the audience was more appreciative of hip hop beats because they went crazy for a certain rap duo when they responded to the chant, “When I say ‘COOL’ you say ‘KIDS”. I think The Cool Kids were such a big hit with the audience because the majority of the crowd was 20+ years of age and they got the allusions to famous rap lyrics of the past.
It is quite clear that The Roots accomplished their goal of providing the audience with high quality, diverse music and creating a peaceful atmosphere. I can only hope to see such a spectacular display of musical mastery again.