LouFest Sunday: And that’s a wrap
If you’ve never boarded a Metro-Link bus while listening to a drunken warbling of “Say it Ain’t So” you have not truly lived.
Such was the scene as LouFest closed Sunday night, and festivalgoers suddenly became painfully aware they had work/school in the morning. But Sunday hadn’t put a damper on the festivities—with amazing weather and a stacked lineup more people came out to see the closing acts than the day before.
The new hot air balloon ride attraction was a hit, the Ferris wheel spun on with its few riders, and every third person was devouring a Mission Taco. People looked happy to enjoy the local restaurants, breweries and artists as they meandered about in the early afternoon because, unfortunately, not many seemed to want to enjoy the local bands.
The small acts that filled the early afternoon lots always see sparse attendance, but this year’s Sunday looked particularly empty. Not that the bands weren’t playing their hearts out over the asphalt, but listeners seemed happy to partake from the picnic tables instead of the mosh pit.
That changed when Missouri’s own Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats took the dusk slot at the Bud Light Stage. While the stage itself needs to be relocated next year—not one, but two giant trees stood in the audience’s line of sight—Rateliff’s crowd only got bigger as the set went on.
One of the politest artists I have ever heard address a crowd, Rateliff thanked Missouri for his start, marveled at the crowd several times, and used “please” profusely when he wanted some participation. Not that he needed to ask—Rateliff easily commanded one of the biggest crowds of the night, outstripping penultimate act Run the Jewels.
The Night Sweats’ eight-piece band—Including a trumpet and two sax players—was fun, soulful and uplifting. In the middle of his set, after lamenting the loss of St. Louis legend Chuck Berry, Nathaniel pulled Charles Berry Jr. and Charles Berry III onstage for two collaboration pieces. Seeing almost 60-year old Berry Jr. dominate several guitar solos was an unique experience for anyone not blocked by a sycamore.
After concluding with hit single “S.O.B.” Rateliff broke a tambourine, thanked the viewers again, and made his exit. Leaving crowds were momentarily confused as “We Are the Champions” came echoing over the field, but were soon greeted to the reveal of Run The Jewels making their grand entrance. However, maybe they shouldn’t have set the standard so high with Queen, as Run The Jewels lost momentum as the act wore on. Many left to be front row for the last band of the night: Weezer.
And the industry legends did not disappoint. Weezer played an efficient set, starting on time (unlike many headline acts), playing crowd favorite after favorite, and thankfully only teasing a short exit before blasting the “Buddy Holly” encore. The only time Patrick Wilson really spoke to the audience was to introduce the band with a simple “Hola. Its Weezer time.”
The band did tease the new single “Mexican Fender,” backlit by a truly odd video involving a lovesick seagull, from the upcoming October 27 album “Pacific Daydream.” The audience took the deviation fairly well, but definitely perked up when the old hits resurfaced.
From a painfully adorable cover of Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” to leaving the stage to don a giant sombrero for “Beverly Hills,” to preceding “Island in the Sun” with the opening lines of “I took a Pill in Ibiza,” Weezer managed to keep the nostalgia fresh. The crowd-pleaser turned out to be the rendition of “Thank God for Girls” that was punctuated with a slideshow of women from Michelle Obama to Brienne of Tarth. The finale featured a focus on Beyonce and Wonder Woman surrounded with the Weezer “W” complete with its own wings.
So, Loufest day two—come for the folk-rock Berry family reunion, stay for the antics of your favorite Buddy Holly impersonator.