The Creators Project
Situated next to the East River down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) normally boasts a European atmosphere with lingering patrons in cafes, coffee shops and bars speckled with affianced couples getting their photos snapped on its cobble stoned streets. However, this past weekend at The Creators Project those streets were sectioned off for the elite hipster crowd who procured the coveted (and few) free entry passes early, a sure sign they are the culture creators and taste makers the event’s sponsors, Vice and Intel, were celebrating. Still nascent and a bit frenzied in its 2nd year, there was a feeling of freedom that other festivals do not offer, with tiny ways for fervent fans to outsmart the big bad security guards and get right up on stage right with media and all-access to hear their favorite bands. Like European parties, the feeling that night was one of controlled chaos.
Florence and the Machine
The Creators Project kicked off at 12:00 pm, with a lineup on its main stage that (among others) featured the Brooklyn based comeback kids, Chairlift, the Harlem bred breakout rapper ASAP Rocky and 24-year-old sensation (though I gotta be real she looks a quite bit older) Florence and The Machine. Florence took the stage at 8:00 pm outfitted in a fastidious Victorian-inspired blouse and skirt. The austere Brit began her set with “Only If For A Night,” a matching tune to her look: slow, dreamy and melodic that at moments sounded like an opera. As the intensity of the song rose and fell like a wave (as all her songs do), she stood majestically gesturing to the sky, seemingly to give deference to the heavens and then to us. Her set continued with a consistency and sameness, the structure of each song followed the same structure as the last: slow, slow, BOOM CRESCENDO, pull back to a whisper, slow, slow BOOM CRESCENDO, slow. Normally repetition wanes on the viewer but there is something about the way she commands attention, the crescendo that feels new with each swell and under the romantic festival lights that lined the tunnel under which the crowd gathered on the cobble stoned path it was easy to imagine yourself, with each refrain, at the pinnacle of a romantic drama running to (or from) a lover on the banks of the Sein.
At the other side of the festival, inside the massive 19th century tobacco customs check point sat a large obtrusive neon cube filled with people lying prostrate at its base listening (probably on acid) to the tunes spun by the outfit Justice, an electro-heavy pop duo from France. On the other side of a doorway revealed hundreds upon hundreds of bodies dancing wildly. At around 9:50pm Xavier, one of the group’s members, somberly informed the crowd “we will end in ten minutes,” which apparently fell upon deaf ears. When the group began to unplug the crowd commenced a chant “Occupy DUMBO!” and “One More Song!” amid a buzz about the cops being the reason for the set’s end. As people began to realize that it is the noise laws of New York that prevented Justice from continuing and with their hope lost, they began to file out of the Tobacco Warehouse and the cobble stoned streets, back to America.
This post originally appeared on SFCritic.