LouFest Saturday doesn’t disappoint—if maybe lacking grass

| Senior Cadenza Editor

The guitarist tucked his sweater into his pants, the lead singer wore no top but a bolo tie. We all stood on parking lot asphalt and the whole thing just felt a bit too much like Warped Tour.

LouFest day one, in its new location at the Festival and Parking Plaza, definitely had a different vibe than it has in past years, and it sold out a day’s worth of tickets for the first time in its history. Maybe it was the asphalt, maybe it was the constant curbs, or maybe it was just the outsized crowds, but Saturday felt far more like the Tennessee state fairs I went to as a kid than the LouFest I’ve been to the past three years.

Singer Sam Melo of Rainbow Kitten Surprise points to the sky during the group’s nighttime set on Saturday, Sept. 9. The group opened their set with the song “Cocaine Jesus.”Jiyoon Kang | Student Life

Singer Sam Melo of Rainbow Kitten Surprise points to the sky during the group’s nighttime set on Saturday, Sept. 9. The group opened their set with the song “Cocaine Jesus.”

Whereas in the past, Loufest has been just one large circle where festival goers can spin around in place and see all that they might want to do, this time around the stages were more secluded and the vendors and attractions comprised one large labyrinth of entertainment. Admittedly, it’s probably better that way—there was no sound bleed from stage to stage like LouFest has been known to have in years past.

But still, standing in a parking lot, listening to Cage the Elephant at magic hour as the sunset lights the sky with oranges and purples and pinks just doesn’t feel the same as having grass under your feet would. Maybe that’s my own personal bias, but a concert in a parking lot just feels like a broken ankle waiting to happen.

Cage was good though. They played the songs people wanted to hear, with “Cigarette Daydreams,” “Shake Me Down” and “Come a Little Closer” closing off the set and officially kicking off the night. The lead singer took off his shirt at one point, as he is wont to do. The guitarist jumped into the crowd, also as he is wont to do. Making good music doesn’t apparently doesn’t preclude you from being a parody of yourself.

Other things, I’m assuming, happened as they were supposed to—Marian Hill played an hour-long set at 3 p.m., St. Louisians honored Chuck Berry after the Cage concert and Snoop Dogg sang “Drop it Like It’s Hot” to a crowd of college students and Midwesterners that stereotypes have led me to believe would foam at the mouth at the mention of the word “pimp,” albeit for very different reasons.

I have no firsthand confirmation for any of those events, but I’ve heard they happened so I’ll believe what I’m told. Instead, I spent my time at Rainbow Kitten Surprise, perhaps the best band you’ve never heard of.

Have you ever gone to a concert where you out-danced literally everyone else in the near vicinity? Have you ever been to a concert where you knew every word to every song and scream shouted every last one? Have you ever been told that you actually kind of sound like the lead singer because of this choice to scream shout?

Well, I have now and I don’t regret a single thing. Rainbow Kitten Surprise is the best indie folk rock band, period. I don’t know if bands have rivals, but RKS outdoes them hands down.

Their lead singer danced like he was having a constant seizure and as such, so did the crowd. He shouted and the crowd shouted. He tumbled and the crowd shouted. He high-kicked, twirled, spun around, suggestively seduced the bassist and the crowd, well, they shouted.

Best of all, there was grass under our feet the entire time.

Leaving Rainbow Kitten Surprise to go sit on a hill and watch Snoop Dogg is akin to selling your high school car for a brand new Lexus. You know you should be more excited about the latter, but the personal investment in the former just makes the Lexus feel pretty lame.

I stayed at Snoop for all of four songs. I figured if Martha Stewart hadn’t come out at that point, she wasn’t going to come at all.

As our Uber pulled away to take us back from the Festival and Parking Plaza, Snoop came on over the aux cord. Someone mentioned that he was still on stage. Our driver, Safar, looked quizzically at one of us and asked, “And they let him say p****? Even with the kids around?”

Welcome to LouFest day one—land of rainbow kittens and just a bit too much asphalt.