Review and photos by Lizzy Davis
The final day of the inaugural Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival was greeted by blustery winds—in fact, so blustery that the entire Wave Stage was shut down before doors were scheduled to open. Luckily, the other two stages were able to continue on with performances, and Teenage Wrist and Dirty Honey fired the day off on the Echo Stage. Due to the high winds, the backdrops on the stage had been removed, and the lack of extra frills made most performances on the stage throughout the day seem pretty stripped down.
Luckily, the main stage was protected by the stadium, and Amigo the Devil was first to grace it on Sunday. He introduced himself as a one-man-band, saying, “I have a few names, like fat Dave Grohl. This isn’t actually me. I sweat it all off throughout the day, and later you get the real version,” alluding to the day’s headliner. Amigo the Devil had the unsuspecting crowd exclaiming, “He’s awesome!” with a full set of comical songs he declared to be about love, hate and revenge. With some encouragement from the crowd, he even played a snippet of the “cute version” of Slayer’s “Angel of Death.”
A slightly younger crowd swarmed the barricade at the Echo Stage, ready for U.K. outfit Palaye Royale to take stage. Vocalist Remington Leith wasted no time kicking things into higher gear as he climbed up and jumped off speaker stacks and railings throughout the set.
Yungblud kept the youthful energy going, starting off his set with a song full of jumps. The eccentric vocalist may have raised some eyebrows when he planted a massive kiss on his guitarist’s lips early on in the set, but it would be hard to deny how entertaining Yungblud is to watch.
Back in the stadium, the stage was graced by a well-dressed quartet known as The Struts. All eyes were on the charismatic vocalist Luke Spiller as he came out dancing and dazzling in a half black and half white tasseled outfit with a gold sequined shirt and glittering silver makeup. The band is no newbie to a festival stage, and it easily maintained an interactive crowd with fans clapping along to its catchy tunes.
Reggae music was blaring from the Echo Stage, and it didn’t take long before a scent of marijuana clouded over the area. California native ska-punk band The Interrupters were all smiles as they ran on stage sporting sunglasses even though the skies were completely overcast by then. Guitarist Kevin Bivona introduced the band and explained, “We have a new record out now called ‘Fight the Good Fight.’ But it’s not about fighting a fight, it’s about fighting depression and overcoming the struggle. This song is off the album.” People gave an appreciative cheer and clapped along to “Title Holder.” The Interrupters have incredibly singable songs, and even people who had never heard the band before were able to sing along with nearly every tune.
Unfortunately, the winds only seemed to pick up further as the day progressed. Nearly 50 mph gusts coupled with a drizzle made raindrops feel like needle stings. The Main Stage was barred off from the crowd and performances at 4:30 p.m., just before The Distillers were scheduled to play.
The only benefit of having two out of the three stages closed was it meant no decisions had to be made about which sets to catch throughout the day. The Hives vocalist Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist recognized and acknowledged this perk in apologetic jest: “Sorry about the other stages. I heard they were all closed. That’s my fault … I told them [DWP] to close them so that you all had to come here.” He went on to claim he controlled the weather and he was only willing to make it cooperate if the crowd gave an acceptable level of participation in return.
Either the crowd didn’t live up to expectations or Almqvist’s weather-controlling abilities must not have been functioning well, however, as the festival called for a full evacuation at 6 p.m. as a full-blown storm rolled in. Never ones to let a little rain deter them, metalheads amassed in the parking lot, blasting music from their cars and gathering enough bodies that they were able to start mosh pits and even crowd surf over each other.
Regardless of the fun they were having, cheers erupted when doors to Mapfre Stadium opened back up. Though Joan Jett still was able to perform her slightly delayed set on the Echo Stage, younger fans were disappointed to learn Bring Me the Horizon would not get to play its set as direct support before Foo Fighters.
Disappointment can only last so long once Dave Grohl hits the stage, though. Foo Fighters blasted through two hours of numerous singles, foregoing nothing in their discography between “Monkey Wrench” and “Run.” Midway through the set, Grohl invited comedian Pauly Shore to stage, saying, “His father passed away [last night], so this one goes out to him and his dad. This one’s for you, Pauly.” The band proceeded to perform “My Hero,” with the crowd singing to Pauly.
An additional notable moment occurred when Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins swapped places. Hawkins took over the microphone asking, “Luke, are you here motherfucker?” When Luke Spiller came to the call and Hawkins continued, “Alright, besides getting to have Dave Grohl play the drums for you, this is Luke, from The Struts. We’re gonna do this one as a duet.” They went on to perform a cover of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” The first Sonic Temple officially came to a close with a sold-out crowd and a finale of “Everlong,” and DWP already has confirmed plans for next year and underway.