With more than 30 acts lined up for this year’s Tinderbox Music Festival, it was possible to rotate between the three stages of Webster Hall from noon to well past midnight and never go a minute without a new act taking the stage.
Since I don’t have superhuman stamina, I made my way to the Main Stage at 7 pm to see Computer Magic, a.k.a. Danielle “Danz” Johnson, bleep-bloop through her electronic set. Danz performed for an intimate audience, who sat pow-wow style on the floor. Between songs people got up to check out the vendor merchandise, which was lit by candlelight, and chat with the other concertgoers.
I traveled downstairs to check out the Studio stage, where new-to-me band American Pinup had the crowd jumping and dancing to their indie/punk sound. Frontwoman Lauren West killed it with her raspy vocals and high energy, offering an entirely different atmosphere than the chilled-out vibes given off at the Main Stage.
Switching it up on the Marlin Room stage, French/Belgian female rock trio Sirius Plan blew the crowd away with their impeccable harmonies and free spirited performance. You could feel the excitement and energy coming off of Skye, Gaelle and Claire, which fed the audience in a way only a live performance can. It helped that they have awesome accents, but these ladies really have fantastic vocals and a relaxed vibe to back it up.
After a short break I made my way back to the Main Stage in time to see New York based hip-hop artist Jean Grae demand that her audience “move the fuck up” to the stage and get moving with the music. This longtime MC’s rapping had fans singing along to the lyrics with arms in the air, dancing the two-step and cranking up the volume as loud as the sound crew would allow (loud enough to “make your bowels feel funny,” as Grae so aptly put it.)
Grae’s set got the now jam-packed floor ready for the most anticipated show of the night: the headlining freak-folk sister duo CocoRosie. The performance went beyond the music, and the best way to describe it would be like watching a psychedelic freak show carnival act. The sisters Bianca "Coco" and Sierra "Rosie" Casady mesh operatic vocals, multiple instruments, beat boxing, and costuming that can be most fittingly described as bizarre. People waved their arms and bodies with abandon throughout the set, absorbed by the music and visual experience, as the sisters and their crew danced and moved along the stage and on the screens above. The one thought going through my mind until the end of their set was how freaking awesome it was to see them live.
Tinderbox did not disappoint, with acts that spanned many genres and artists from around the world that made sure that there was something for everyone throughout the day. The fest keeps getting better, and supports some really awesome causes, so keep an eye out for announcements about next year’s installment!