Riptide Music Festival – Fort Lauderdale Beach – 12.2.17

Riptide Music Festival
Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL – 
Photos by Alex Liscio

December 2, 2017 – Riptide Music Festival kicked off beachside in Fort Lauderdale for its second year. The two-day lineup was star studded and each act put on exhilarating sets. The only flaw I found in Riptide was the parking, which was an absolute nightmare, causing me to miss Joywave and Alex Di Leo. I was lucky enough to snap some portraits of Alex Di Leo, but not so lucky with Joywave. Nonetheless, Joywave still sounded great from outside the festival gates, as per usual.

Alex Di Leo at Riptide Festival 2017

The first set I was able to photograph was Brother Sundance, an artist from Fort Lauderdale itself. The group put on an energetic set, and although nerves were visible, the set was nearly flawless. With diverse music, female vocals intertwined, and a set that offered catchy beats, Brother Sundance was a great set to start off with.

New Politics was next on the main stage, and they always bring a thrilling set. The trio have their performances down to a fine science, especially lead vocalist David Boyd, who is notorious for walking on crowds and breakdancing into headstands and backflips. The band opened up with Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens), straight into Dignity, and lead into Fall Into These Arms – which Boyd takes literally.

PVRIS was a band on the bill that didn’t make complete sense to me since they fit into the Vans Warped Tour demographic more than what Riptide was going for, but they still put on a great show that the crowd loved. The band played their hits such as Heaven, My House, and You & I. Overall, their set was nostalgic and I enjoyed getting to see PVRIS again.

Portugal. The Man opened up their set full of energy with beautiful visuals on the big screen. Being an up and coming group, the band delivered 110%. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 / Purple Yellow Red and Blue, and Atomic Man were amongst the songs that they opened with, eventually leading to their hits Live In The Moment and Feel It Still, which could be heard from the other end of the festival, fans singing along and all.

Saint Motel hit the stage and the crowd went wild as soon as the first note of Puzzle Pieces played. The guys of Saint Motel have always had remarkable stage presence, as they are all full of energy and always look happy to be performing. For Elise, Sweet Talk, and Move were next on the setlist, getting the crowd swaying side to side. The people went as far back as you could see, and kept growing as Saint Motel played their set. The band was slotted as direct support on Panic! At The Disco’s Death of a Bachelor Tour earlier this year, getting the band a boost of popularity.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is a band that never disappoints me. Their set was one of the top 3 I was looking forward to the most, next to New Politics and Cage the Elephant. Andrew always delivers a flawless performance full of grace, smiles, seamless vocals, and crowd interaction. Opening the set with his popular hit Fire Escape, the audience sang back effortlessly and created beautiful harmony. Canyon Moon and High Dive followed, where McMahon jumped in the crowd and sang with some fans. As photographers were exiting the pit following protocol, McMahon jumped on a giant rubber duck float and his team allowed us to stay and capture the moment. Andrew claimed it was the “longest duck ride to date,” during Don’t Speak For Me, noting a peak of the night – along with the guy in the tree that got the best, birds eye view of the night.

Yes, there really was a man in a tree, and there is your proof.

Weezer brought in a major crowd that seemed to go as far as the eye could see. Fans grew impatient as the band was the first of the day to go on late, only by about 10 minutes, still raising anticipation throughout. The band opened with My Name Is Jonas and Pork and Beans, two iconic songs I was surprised to hear so early on in the set. Undone – The Sweater song played immediately after Pork and Beans, and it was backed by visuals of dogs diving into pools and running through fields, something that I call quality content – the audience loved it, too. The band played 12 songs and set the crowd up for a great set from Cage the Elephant.

Cage The Elephant closed out the night with an incredible set that was truly memorable. All members are incredibly talented and interactive with not only each other, but photographers and fans alike. The energy packed set kicked off with Cry Baby, In One Ear, and Spiderhead. The band played their top hits and gave their all to end night one of Riptide on a high note. Though I was surprised that Weezer didn’t headline, seeing as people poured out of the festival as soon as the last note of Island in the Sun ended, Cage The Elephant put on an unforgettable set for the attendees of Riptide.

Overall, Riptide Music Festival had a great second year with some of today’s biggest names in alternative music. The festival offered a variety of vendors, free chairs to sit in on the beach, some of the best and educated security I’ve witnessed at a large scale event, and they treat their media members great and with respect. I’m excited to see what the festival offers next year and what artists grace the stage in 2018.