This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Day for Night Festival in Houston, Texas from December 15-17th with fellow WKNC staff member Double Duchess and some other various college radio kids. Having never been to either Houston or a music festival that wasn’t multi-venue, I was both very excited and not sure what to expect.
Tickets for DFN were sold either ‘weekend’ (Saturday and Sunday) or ‘3 day’ which included the so-called Friday Summit, consisting of talks during the afternoon and performances in the evening, The Friday events were all at the indoor blue stage, one out of four used during the festival. Unfortunately, we missed the talks (given by the likes of Laurie Anderson and Chelsea Manning- the latter of whom will be speaking next year at Moogfest) but arrived just in time to see one of my most anticipated acts of the festival, Jenny Hval. I’d seen her several years ago at Hopscotch on a much smaller and lower-tech scale and was blown away again by her performance.
Following Hval were Earl Sweatshirt (at which point I had to leave because the crowd became too packed). Kaytranada closed out the night with a fun, high-energy set that had everyone dancing.
I was very impressed by the venue itself; it was spacious and very industrial-looking, which made sense as it was formerly a post office warehouse.
I didn’t bring my camera this day because heavy rain was on the forecast. I’m very glad about this, as I ended up standing in the rain for hours!
I started my afternoon by catching a few minutes of Perfume Genius’s set and then dashing over to a set I was very excited to see- Lil B. The most fun part of Saturday was definitely the Based God bouncing around on stage, forgetting his lyrics, and very earnestly taking his sunglasses off to “show everyone how based he was” before throwing them into the audience and instantly seeming regretful.
My intent was to see a bit of Cardi B next, but I honestly got bored after she stalled with an opener and a DJ and I left after waiting for half an hour to catch some of Forest Swords, who provided an incredible atmosphere inside the hazy abandoned warehouse.
I bought some disgusting $10 wine beverage (legally, thx) and settled in to watch Laurie Anderson. She spent the first portion of her set basically giving a Ted talk- I’m not complaining, she has some great stuff to say. Heed my advice, though, never talk while Laurie Anderson is talking. My friend and I were standing in the back of the crowd whispering to each other and someone demanded he shut up with so much rage in their voice I really thought a fight was going to break out.
Finally, because I love rough transitions, I ended the night by seeing Nine Inch Nails in the absolute pouring rain. I felt like I was in another dimension and it was incredible. Immediately afterwards everyone I rode to the festival with and I high-tailed it to Whataburger.
Sunday started with a bang- I got to see Jessy Lanza for the second time this year!! Her set got cut a little bit short unfortunately but I had an excellent time dancing.
Next up was Rabit and House of Kenzo, a show I went into completely unprepared for but was very pleasantly surprised by. There were a thousand things happening at every moment but I loved it and the crowd was definitely getting into it.
I followed that up with a little bit of En Vogue, which was a flawlessly executed set down to the smallest choreography and harmonies.
Babyfather was probably the act that the most people had recommended I catch so I was definitely excited to see them. I’m very glad I did. I’ve only ever listened to Dean Blunt’s solo project but his stage presence is magnetic and there’s no denying that he is a talented musician and performer.
Continuing in the trend of great performances, next up was The Jesus Lizard. David Yow began the set by leaping into the crowd and snatching the beanie off the head of a security guard. He continued to crowd-surf and swagger around the stage, breathlessly shouting quips such as “Good evening, we’re Led Zeppelin!”
Corbin (FKA Spooky Black) was the next artist I caught. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of his album, but I enjoyed his performance- he seemed very genuine whereas his recorded music borders on cheesy to me.
Finally, I closed out my weekend with the beautiful drones of Tim Hecker. I don’t have much to say about this set other than it was a little bit cathartic being in a dark warehouse vibrating with the sheer volume of ambient sound.