So the first day of the inaugural Promowest Fest is in the books. We’ll do a full recap of festival thoughts and highlights after the weekend is over, but for now, just a few quick thoughts. Ryan Adams and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds would have been one of my “can’t miss”shows of the summer on it’s own, and seeing them at the festival last night did not disappoint. Singing along to Oasis tunes as the sun hung low in the summer sky is one of those moments festivals wish they could advertise, put in on a postcard and say: “this is why you want to be here.” McFerson Commons is proving to be a pretty hospitable environment for the festival, lots of soft grass underneath your feet and keeping things cool. And it was just overall comfortable last night, getting a good spot to watch bands wasn’t an issue at all.
Ryan Adams had my heard before he even took the stage with his backdrop of vintage arcade games, cats and the T-800 skull from the Terminator adorning the stage. He played a set heavy with cuts off his latest self-titled album, as well as the hits you’d expect of a festival set, including “New York, New York” and “Come Pick Me Up.” He even improved a song about apartment dwellers from the condos overlooking McFerson Commons all coming down to listen to tunes and party, and um, cotton candy? I guess you had to be there. And while I’ve never been a big fan of The Flaming Lips, their show last night surpassed expectations right out the gate as they created a sheer spectacle in McFerson. Huge multi-colored balloons, confetti, laser lights, and a wookie were on display throughout the performance. You’d have to try to not have fun during their set. As it turned to night time in Columbus, the lights of glow sticks emanated from the crowd, lasers flickered from the stage, and a huge “Fuck Yeah Columbus” balloon floated across the stage. Yeah, I think I could get used to the idea of fest like this in downtown Columbus. Welcome, Promowest Fest.
Fitz and the Tantrums performing Friday night. Photos by Rachael Barbash