Ultra 2013: Yeasayer Insulted the Ravers While Matt & Kim Charmed Them
On day one of Ultra Music Festival 2013, the main-stage DJ surprisingly played Red Hot Chili Peppers' "By the Way." It's not one of the Cali crew's early songs, but it's a hit that came out when about 60 percent of the crowd (now dancing in tutus, "Show Me Your Tits" tees, and beaded masks slathered in Vicks) was still in elementary school. And all of them were singing along. They knew every single word.
Photo by Liz Tracy
This means one of two things. Either the Red Hot Chili Peppers are the most universally beloved band of all time. Or -- the more likely explanation -- before these kids donned Deadmau5 heads, they were keen on the rock 'n' roll, or something like it. Music that involves more pedals, less knobs.
Neither of the two non-trad live acts playing UMF this year -- Matt & Kim and Yeasayer -- drew a shamefully small audience. But they had polar opposite approaches to those standing before them. While Matt & Kim used all of their energy to make the ravers adore them, Yeasayer frontman Chris Keating made some snotty indie snob remarks about the crowd's fashion sense. Like, really ... While on the Ultra live stage, he made fun of how people were dressed. This actually happened.
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For instance, Matt & Kim actually Googled what Ultra was before attending. They mixed their own pop sound with bass drops and buildups. They played
Alice DeeJay's "Better Off Alone," with Kim banging on the drums, then standing on the drums, and Matt acting as hype man. The crowd bounced to each squeak and uhntz.
But when Yeasayer took the stage, Keating said nervously -- and not the nice kind of nervous: "This is more of an electronic kinda music festival, I just realized." Adding something about DJs. Another band member was like, "I thought we were electronic." And there was an awkward joke about how their bass was electric, that they were "taking advantage of electricity." Har, har.
Meanwhile, Matt & Kim were working hard for their EDM money. Kim announced to the young girls in silk flower headbands and dudes in neon tanks that they had a box of balloons. She threw them into the crowd, asked them to blow them up, and hold on to them. They started playing and then announced instructions: Throw the balloons in the air. Suddenly, a fun show became a memorable one.
Sure, Matt said, "I'm not used to seeing this much skin," but then Kim announced they were competing "to see the most side-boob today," adding she'd seen "32, and it's only, like, fucking 4:30." Then she pulled the side of her tank back to show her own side-knocker, saying, "It's really tiny, and it might not count as a side-boob, but give it to me!" And one of them shouted excitedly to cheers: "This girl's got her titties straight out!" Ah, Ultra at its finest and most fun.
Then the keyboard broke. But no one gave a shit, because Kim was walking with a "medical boot" on a twisted ankle over the crowd.
Yes, on the crowd, in their hands, and shaking her ass over them.