Saturday was the first full day of the festival, opening up the Underground Stage which hosted a plethora of today's hottest indie and alt bands. The beach included tons of new spots to stop in including the Underground Village, a wine garden, and a sports bar sponsored by Twin Peaks. And did we mention the swag? From beach towels, shark hats, personal misters, earbuds, reusable shopping bags, and snacks – there was tons of booths to visit and tons of goodies to acquire.
The Driver Era
Was performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans written in the stars for Ross Lynch? After his Disney Channel persona of a young musician breaking into the music scene and becoming wildly popular, well. Maybe. But brothers Ross and Rocky bring a little more heat to the stage than may be Disney appropriate. With his yellow floral shirt partially unbuttoned Ross, Rocky, and the band danced onto the stage with “Nobody Knows” amidst the teenage wailing call of lurve. But Ross Lynch is a great front man for this newer band, between his dance moves and perfectly timed smirks at the crowd, he had them melted like putty in his hands before the second song even hit.
With an early afternoon set, The Driver Era only had time for a handful of songs, but with the inclusion of a cover of Frankie Valli's “Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You” it was an energetic and bouncy performance, and a great snippet of what is to come from the band. They closed out with their radio single “Preacher Man” which had everyone on the beach singing along.
Robert Delong returned to Riptide after performing at the inaugural year, only this time, thankfully all of his equipment was there and working. Riptide veterans may remember the first year plagued by performer's equipment either being lost in transit, or putting out some major “I'm not working today” drama. This year though everything was smooth and Delong bounced onto the stage with “Don't Wait Up.” Delong's setup is just so interesting and intricate; with multiple sampler and drum setups for him to switch between, a Wii remote in his hand (with no wrist-strap might I add, really now Robert that's how TVs get broken), and a pair of drumsticks.
While it may seem like barren stage, Delong uses it to run back and forth and interact with his fans. His electronic tunes are perfect for fans to chant along with while grooving on the beach. His ability to switch quickly between singing, to drumbeats, and then back to sampling shows just how talented he is. His return to Riptide was one of the best repeat performances we've seen in the festival's lifespan.
The Underground Stage was the ultimate party place for Saturday afternoon, as Bishop Briggs took over. Bishop Briggs is a singer-songwriter that has been gaining popularity in the indie scene since 2016 with her hit “River.” When she walks on stage she sports a meek, almost shy, smile but when the music kicks in Briggs explodes with energy and a piercing vocal range; she is captivating to watch on stage.“This next song is kinda my first ever...love song,” she admits. “I know, so gross” she laughs before leading into “Baby.” Briggs returned to the Underground Stage later in the evening to perform “So Tied Up” with The Cold War Kids, the kind of awesome live mashups you only get at music festivals.
As the sun began to set on Fort Lauderdale beach, 90's formed rock band Blue October headed out on the main stage. While the band has been around for over twenty years, they fit right in with the newer alt bands performing. The setlist consisted mainly of newer material including, “I Want It” and “Daylight” but delved back to the mid-2000's and performed one of their biggest hits, “Into the Ocean,” halfway through the set – a fitting song for the scene.
Vocalist Justin Furstenfeld has a smooth and smoky voice that draws you in to his lyrics, and is an enigmatic front man, stalking the stage with the crowds reflection in his sunglasses. The vibe of the performance easily transitions from moody and emotional to upbeat and dancy, the perfect combination for the fest.
Panic! At the Disco
Okay, obviously Panic! Was a highlight of the show. I mean, you've got Brendon Urie flaunting the stage in an intricate golden jacket to “Don't Threaten Me With A Good Time” right off the bat. But the real highlight came minutes before Panic even hit the stage. With the lights low and the salty sea air stirring around the crowd, “Africa” by Toto began to play over the loud speakers. With hundreds of blue glow lights swaying in the air, the crowd did not miss out on this opportunity. By the time the first “Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you” hit, the entire crowd (even security!) was singing along at the top of their lungs. There is something magical about epic singalongs that are made up of thousands of people, and as it would turn out, Toto is the perfect lead in for a Panic show.
Panic! At the Disco, Sublime with Rome, Dirty Heads, Blue October, Robert Delong, Alice Merton, Bob Moses, lovelytheband, Two Feet
Young the Giant, Cold War Kids, Bishop Briggs, Sir Sly, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, DREAMERS, The Driver Era, Superorganism