Lost Lake Music Festival

Chance the Rapper
The Killers
Many more...
Concert Date: 
Fri, 10/20/2017
Age Restriction: 
Steele Indian School Park , Phoenix, AZ

On Wednesday, October 18th, a “blessing had fallen into my lap” when I noticed a post on the KAMP Social Page advertising an opportunity to attend Lost Lake Music Festival at the Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix, AZ that weekend. This was a chance that I had wished I had ever since April or May, when the line-up came out and my jaw dropped. So, I quickly messaged Tatum who approved me to go for the two days I could, and set out to plan my trip to Phoenix.


Upon my arrival at the festival around 5 o’clock on Friday, I went through security, which was tighter than usual due to the recent happenings in Las Vegas. Cops lined the whole perimeter of the park and helicopters circled the venue every day. It was clear that safety was one of the top priorities at this festival, and rightly so.


I walked further past security and took in my surroundings. The many small bodies of water glimmered under the low moon, and trees had been transformed into beautifully lit figures in different colors through the intertwining of twinkling lights. Everywhere one looked, he or she could find some type of artwork. Throughout the three days, there was a section dedicated solely for artists to paint giant murals. This was a huge hit with festival goers, as many of them flocked towards this area to capture the perfect picture for Instagram. My favorite art installment of the weekend was the combined labyrinth and hexagonal mirror sculpture. The labyrinth was outlined using many succulent plants wrapped with fairy lights. Walking through it at night was a truly magical experience, with the finishing point being the hexagonal mirror sculpture, which was a huge sphere made of hexagonal mirrors set in all different angles. Festival goers could put their head in open parts of the sculpture and see their faces six or more times, reflected across all the different mirrors. Purple lights were hidden in the main part, and so the lighting was really pretty as well.


On the first night, I got the chance to see Calexico, HAIM, and last but not least, Chance the Rapper.


Calexico, a “Tex-Mex/Americana indie rock band” band originating right here in Tucson, began playing on the blue lit Piestewa stage and made their audience sway from side to side with the rhythm. We were able to get very close to the stage, as not many had heard about Calexico previously, making the audience turnout smaller than usual. Calexico’s sound is very much directly in line with their description. From mariachi sounding songs to surfer-soul music, the friends who accompanied me could instantly understand why they were called “Calexico:” a mix of California and Mexico. Unfortunately they did not announce their songs, so I am unable to give any specific song mentions. But overall, I had nothing bad to say about this set, it was one of my favorites from the weekend. I wish more people had come to bask in all that Calexico has to offer!


Next, I went to the main stage, formally known as “Camelback,” to watch HAIM. I hadn’t been a huge HAIM fan before, but I loved the concept of three sisters jamming out and making great music together. There was already a significant amount of people in the audience when I got there, but I still managed to get a good spot off to the side with very nice proximity to the stage. The girls got on stage and instantly captured the audience’s attention with “Want You Back.” The crowd was jumping and dancing and everyone in my vicinity was smiling. The best part about HAIM’s show was that the HAIM girls looked like they were having a blast. Other songs they sang were “Forever,” “Ready for You” and “The Wire.” Some of their facial expressions were a bit overdone but overall they couldn’t quite contain the amount of energy the audience was giving them. My favorite moments of the show was when the three of them shared a drumming solo (now not quite a solo) in “Falling.” Musically, I enjoyed their cover of “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain the most. The audience was singing along from start to finish and the vibe was electrifying. These three girls are so talented and are probably the coolest rockstars on the block at the moment.


Next, I relocated to a different spot for Chance the Rapper. People were quickly piling into the audience to see their idol. Needless to say, tensions escalated and I witnessed a few fights between those who stood their ground and those that decided pushing was the best way to get to the front.  I had a better view before I moved, so I sort of regret going to the new spot. Still, we made friends with the group of people around us and we all made sure we were having fun and that we could all see. Finally, fifteen minutes late, Chance had begun his set. Naturally, he started with a short excerpt of “Mixtape” that shortly thereafter became  “Blessings (pt.1)” from Coloring Book. Of course everyone knew the words, and hands began to go up and down as people basked in Chance’s glory.  He continued onwards and gave small speeches about his Grammy Awards, his favorites from Coloring Book, and continually talked about his praise for Jesus. The lighting and backdrop projections were so cool, and acutely resembled the cover art of Coloring Book. At one point, he sang a little bit of “I’m the One,” the DJ Khaled smash hit in which he is featured. I thought this was a bit out of place and didn’t stay too true to his set. Unfortunately, he didn’t play anything from Acid Rap, and upon talking to some different fans afterwards, they were all pretty disappointed (including myself). Nevertheless, Chance is still one of the few rappers out there who genuinely sounds good live. His band is ultra talented and I adored all of his musicians, particularly his backup gospel choir. They are what made me fall in love with Coloring Book in the first place. During Chance’s breather, they each had a solo, and I was mindblown by their voices. Finally, after a long wait, Chance sang “Same Drugs” and concluded with both parts of “Blessings.” People were in shock that the show had already ended, and they wanted Chance to keep going. While I had wished he went for a bit longer, I had been content and tired. His set was fun and I generally felt like I had just received a very warm, enveloping hug. It is no wonder why he basically has a cult of dedicated fans.


On Day 2, Saturday the 21st of October, I arrived at the festival around 2 pm. Hearing some music that sounded good, we walked towards the Camelback Stage. FRENSHIP was performing. I think stumbling upon their set was probably the highlight of my day. I loved all of the songs they performed and the really easy-going vibe they had. Again, due to not everyone knowing who they are, we were able to get close to the stage. They performed “Knives,” “1000 Nights,” and their hit “Capsize.” The vocalists were all good as well as the musicians. It was a very unique sound and got everyone bobbing their heads and dancing. They played another song which I could not find on Spotify that I absolutely loved. I think it may have been a cover. The only lyrics I could remember were “Get up, get out, love somebody.” If anyone knows what song that is, please tell me! It has been sitting on my mind since the show. After FRENSHIP, we walked over to Echo Stage to see Taylor Bennett, who I had just learned was Chance the Rapper’s brother. We debated whether or not he would be even close to Chance’s talent and how hard it must be to live in his brother’s shadow. His performance reflected our concerns. I did not particularly enjoy his music live; he was very aggressive and each song was a bit monotonous and sounded like the previous one. Also, he relied primarily on the DJ to back up his songs (other than his two acapella ones), which I didn’t really like. We really only came over there to hear “ Broad Shoulders” live, but when he finally decided to sing it, we could tell it was mostly the back track and he only sang about twenty seconds of it.


After leaving Taylor Bennett’s set a tad disappointed, we headed back to Camelback to see MUNA. By then we were pretty exhausted from the heat, so we didn’t stay for the entire set, but from what we did manage to stick around for, I really enjoyed. MUNA is an electronic pop band. They didn’t have a huge turnout, but from the audience that did show up there was a lot of energy. MUNA’s music is the type you can easily dance to and just let yourself go to. Some of the songs they played included “Crying on the Bathroom Floor,” “Winterbreak” and a cover of Stevie Nick’s “Edge of Seventeen.” Their cover was simply phenomenal and got the whole crowd dancing, singing and enjoying themselves.


After MUNA, we headed over to see Kongos. We treated this show as a break from standing for hours, and just sat atop a grassy hill further from the stage. While hundreds of people piled in for the Kongos, I did not particularly love their sound. A friend of mine joked, “Just wait, they sound like the music in a Chevrolet commercial.” And unfortunately, he was right. Still, I took this opportunity to think about the shows coming up as well as surveyed my surroundings.  


Next, we went to the Echo Stage to see Lil Yachty. The crowd was already packed in against the barricades, so we expected a good show. Unfortunately, this dream fell through for us. The back up DJ did most of the work for Lil Yachty, who is actually not a very good live performer. He mostly sounded like he was just yelling or speaking into the microphone, and like Taylor Bennett, he’d sing about ten seconds of his more popular hits (like “Broccoli”) and then he’d tap out. The most entertaining part of this that my friends and I still joke about is the accompanying DJ would always end the song by playing a gunshot sound and then promptly pressing the “Lil Boat” cue. It was a funny experience, but we left early--we simply couldn’t handle how awful the set was.


Finally, the moment I had waited for basically the whole weekend came: The Roots. Before they even got on stage, the audience played “Totem ball.” Someone made a crown totem and threw around beach balls, so the audience collaboratively tried to get the balls to land in the totem. It was a true bonding experience and showed me how easily amused humans are. Anyways, back to the main point: I had fallen in love with the roots during my junior year of high school. I loved their unique sound that fused together rap, jazz, and classic hip hop. Only last year did I even learn they were Jimmy Fallon’s band, and now that makes perfect sense (especially after seeing them live). The Roots made the rest of the day look like a total amateur hour. Talented is an understatement for their music capabilities. The audience was absorbed completely by the energy and expert musicianship that radiated from the main stage when they played. Naturally, they played their hit (and my favorite) “You Got Me.” I almost didn’t recognize it--a lot of their music has a different sound to it when it’s played live. Nevertheless, it didn’t sound worse, rather, it sounded more authentic, as if this is how it was supposed to sound the entire time. At one point, the guitarist had a solo, and he embodied all of what a rockstar is: he got on his knees, played it without holding it against his torso (what is that move called?), had amazing dexterity and got the whole audience whooing. It was a celebration of rhythms, sounds, color, genius lyricism, and diversity. I loved every minute of it.


Lastly, we saw The Killers. Only knowing “Mr. Brightside,” I didn’t have many expectations for this set, only to hear the one song I knew. The rest of the audience was extremely excited about them though, and by the amount of people that came flocking to that stage, this was apparent. They played new and old songs such as “Human,” “The Man,” and “For Reasons Unknown,” among many others.  While I heard a few songs mixed in that I recognized, I didn’t particularly enjoy this show as much as their fans did. I thought the main singer, Brandon Flowers, was trying way too hard to sing (and sound like his studio voice), which was indicated by the almost-popping veins on his neck. Still, I thought that the band gave the audience 110 percent of themselves, and that energy was reciprocated. I loved the colors, lighting, and set of this show… It made me really happy and I was just swaying, reflecting on the amazing weekend I had experienced. It was pretty devastating they didn’t play “Mr. Brightside,” though.


In summary, I am beyond fortunate that I got to experience this festival thanks to KAMP. I am sad that I couldn’t stay for the last day, but I am still very grateful for the two days I was able to revel in my favorite pastime: music. The weekend reminded me that even with our world’s problems, artists, their music, and dedicated followers will always be unified, optimistic, and full of love to spread around the globe. Music is light that drives out darkness.

Arielle Devorah