Prism Recap: Heineken TransAtlantic Day 2
April 12, 2015
As the sun rose on Heineken TransAtlantic Festival‘s second day of talented artists, Saturday’s party was a serious force to be reckoned with. Following its opening day success, The North beach Bandshell was ablaze in green and red flames, and not the holiday kind, although the crowd did have something to celebrate: music.
Saturday’s atmosphere was a different demon altogether. Concertgoers were comfortable and well-rested, ready to take on the day as stylish as if Coachella’s California vibes somehow sailed their way down here for the night. The crowd was more than just well-dressed, they seemed like seasoned veterans, excited for treats new and old. The Rhythm Foundation was at home and ready to welcome back some of the world’s most powerful auditory messages to the Miami Beach amphitheater. Silent Revolution Miami topped their first-night debut by having their green channel dedicated to the live music onstage, in case responsible listeners wanted a less abrasive volume alternative. Nice touch.
After the opening DJ bumped loud South Beach club vibes, an impatient silence bubbled into applause as Bluejay was warmly welcomed onto the stage for some light, Folky fun. These local free spirits charmed the audience with the unexpected grace behind their synchronized harmonies and lead singer, Jay Thomas’, witticisms between songs. Their opening number was an ode to Florida and the open road, followed by “Ouroboros” — the symbol for a snake eating its own tale — as described by Thomas: “what a relationship feels like sometimes”. There’s a calming fire about this FSU-founded trio. Their voices sing as one, with a cello and percussion as welcome companions. A true Miamian myself, it made me proud to see these guys representing us as locals, winning over the hearts of all in attendance; including my own.
Having media credentials puts you in an awkward position sometimes. On one hand, you can’t shake off the feeling that, to some extent at least, this is work and not play. But on the other hand, you get to witness genuine moments of appreciation amongst musicians, even if it’s a secret second of self-affirmation when they think no one is watching. I was having a laugh with Ana Tijoux, chatting about our shared Chilean roots, when Bluejay skipped offstage after their set and interrupted our exchange with their infectious cheer. Ana Tijoux turned to them and said, in the sweetest broken English you can imagine: “What a beautiful thing that was. At first I saw there was only three of you and I was nervous, but then you started playing and your sound was so big, gordo.” Tell me you wouldn’t be touched by that.
Now, Ana Tijoux may be known the world over as a soul with a lot of things to say, but the sheer magnitude of her passion is directly derived from the immensity of her heart. Her records only catch a glimpse of the colorful kaleidoscope her music tends to be. Live, and accompanied by a full band (who joined in on raps) + scratching DJ, her music takes on a completely new and even welcoming tone. The audience rushed to the stage, some in the front row knew every word of her music, and the musicians urged us on. Her set was filled with every one of her hits: “Antipatriarca”, “1977”, “Somos Sur”, “Vengo”, as her mouth moved a mile a minute. Her flowing red skirt swaying in the wind, clutching a handkerchief for dear life, Saturday’s crowd may have come for Wild Belle, but they stayed for Ms. Tijoux’s intoxicating voice.
After that rousing performance, it seemed impossible for the crowd to try sitting down for a rest. People were itching for the night’s headlining act: Wild Belle. The band walked onstage with every ounce of professionalism you’d expect from the seasoned Chicago natives, and the air was filled with the cheers of undying fans both old and new. Their set opened with talk of material things in “Twisted” as the drums came in big after Natalie Bergman’s Ella Fitzgerald-esque vocals calmed the crowd and pumped them up simultaneously. Their beachy vibes and island rhythms were perfect for the atmosphere, just a street away from the sand. Her brother and partner, Elliot, captivated us with his masterful skills on baritone sax and production, making him just as endearing as his sister. Their set had chart favorites and some new tunes unveiled especially for the occasion. It truly was an amazing set to watch (or fawn over, rather) as we were carried through time and space on a tropical wind current — their music our soul companion.
All in all, we’d say this year’s Heineken TransAtlantic Festival was their greatest yet. Maybe it was The Rhythm Foundation’s grassroots cool that made everyone in attendance instantly feel like family, or maybe it was the weather. Who knows. But I guess we’ll just have to wait until next year to find out for sure.
Like this recap? Check out our Day 1 retelling.
All photos by Alex Markow.