Music means so much to so many people. Music can bridge gaps, uplift and transport you to those past moments and fond memories. On Day 2 of the third annual Sloss Music and Arts Festival, the music helped transcend the Alabama heat and turn a potential mud-fest into the best day of the festival’s three year run.
With the ground already saturated from the previous two days of rain and a very good chance of buckets of rain in the forecast the table was set for a pretty muddy scene. The crews worked to improve the grounds as people began to trickle in but if the National Historic Landmark did receive any rain then the mud would have been a headliner. As luck would have it, the rain did avoid the festival grounds while the artists and fans were all able to play and enjoy music in relatively cool temperatures and dry conditions.
With Day 2 bringing out some heavy hitters later in the day, it was important to pace yourself. With such a great early schedule though, I couldn’t help but bounce from stage to stage to catch as many of the first few bands as I could. A local hip hop group that is gaining traction nationally, Nerves Baddington, helped get things started on the Steam Stage followed up by Beach Slang on the Blast Stage. Both acts bringing tons of energy and great stage banter.
The set with the most local knowledge goes to Hiss Golden Messenger. They were able to reference plenty of Birmingham favorites while performing songs off their new album.
The set of the day with the most energy goes to Francis and the Lights. Without a backup band, hype man or DJ, he had the entire Shed stage blowing up with his smooth vocals set over heavy bass tracks. Judah and the Lion made their Sloss-Fest return to a much larger crowd thanks to a couple years of growing success and a much better time slot on the main Blast Stage.
The Shed Stage played host to Wakka Flocka Flame with the late afternoon sun streaming through the rusted metal skin of the 100+ year old blast furnace. This one was so much fun to watch with Wakka Flocka using every inch of the stage.
My favorite set of the weekend was Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, who took the stage under a beautiful Birmingham sunset. The more fun a band has on stage, the better they sound, and that enjoyment spreads to the crowd creating such a cool festival atmosphere.
To close out the weekend the festival organizers decided to follow up Nathaniel Rateliff with Sturgill Simpson, Vince Staples and the Alabama Shakes. Hands down the best 3 hours of music this town has seen in quite some time.
If you are thinking of going next year, the dates have already been set for July 14-15. The momentum for this music festival has grown every year and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Check out more photos by Art Husband from Sloss Fest 2017, Sunday, Day 2: