Photos and story by: Sterling Martin
The BUKU + Music Project 2017 could be described as “one hell of a weekend”— the festival just keeps outdoing itself yet again each year. It’s one of the dopest city festivals not only because you’re in the party destination of New Orleans, Louisiana, but further the city feels like home for any music lover. Although there was a constant threat of bad weather, it luckily held off for the entirety of the fest.
The schedule on Friday, March 10th was stacked. One of the first impressive acts was producer Opiuo on the Ballroom Stage. He drums on pads instead of using his fingers, which adds a unique dynamic to his performance. He also has a live band project that’s definitely worth checking out if you ever get the chance. Later that night, Big Wild would go on to hit the same stage with just as much energy and good vibes.
The Back Alley Stage hosted a lot of great artists this year. This is one of the more intimate stages that is located right on the riverfront. Starting with artists like Whethan, Clams Casino and Nora En Pure, the beats never really let up. Over the rest of the weekend, producers like Boogie T., AF The Naysayer, Oshi and Lane 8 would ensure this corner of the festival wasn’t to be missed.
One of the more notable venues at BUKU is The Float Den, a giant warehouse where Mardi Gras floats are stored. They are put on display for the festival with different colored lights around the walls of the building. The first day was intense in all the right ways, with Slushii, Jauz and the heavy hitters Zed’s Dead eventually closing out the Float Den.
Without a doubt, GRiZMATIK had one of the most memorable sets of the weekend. Needless to say, they were the perfect way to close out the Power Plant Stage. When you’ve got funkmaster GRiZ along with guitar and singer-extraordinaire Muzzy Bear, a throwdown is guaranteed—but when you add a soulful yet grimey Gramatik to the mix, the night will be unforgettable. The combination of grooves and future funk sounds were the epitome of “electro-soul.”
In line with BUKU tradition, there were multiple BUKU Late sets as well. Both GRiZ and Gramatik played a set each night at the Joy Theatre, where even more throw-downs and near-sunrise shenanigans took place.
The first day was a perfect warm-up for what Saturday had in store. One of the first performances was Minnesota b2b Space Jesus in the Float Den. If that wasn’t enough, another b2b set featuring heRobust and Ghastly provided just enough bass to leave your head spinning. Also in the Float Den on Day 2 was the up and coming REZZ, the talented smash-maker Cashmere Cat, and eventually the mysterious ZHU to close out the day.
Over at the Power Plant, Tycho played as the sun set and truly kicked off the night. Three other members joined Scott Hansen to create a live experience unlike anything you could prepare for. The music itself could simply be described as cinematic—being paired with stunning visuals and the setting of BUKU’s main stage were only an added bonus.
Back at the Ballroom Stage, GRiZ’s All Good Records had their opportunity to shine on Day 2. Funk trio SunSquabi got things popping in the afternoon, while The Floozies wrapped things up that evening. Even guitarist and front man for SunSquabi, Kevin Donohue came out to jam with The Floozies’ Matt and Mark Hill for a highlight of the weekend.
VIP S.S. BUKU is a giant riverboat that’s docked near the Power Plant, where an exclusive stage and open bars are tucked away. There are even viewing decks for the main stage—what else could you ask for? The VIP lineup over the weekend included Chet Porter, Josh Pan, StéLouse and Ganja White Night.
We were lucky enough to catch some of StéLouse’s set, which showed off a variety of genres and vibes. His talents as a producer and DJ have gone far from unnoticed, although it’s taken him some time to gain his current momentum. “It took me about three years to actually make something that was unique and to really find more of my own sound,” Ross Ryan said of his solo career in production. When it comes to his sound, there isn’t just one way to describe it. There is a mixture of future bass, R&B, house and just about anything else you can think of. “I don’t consider myself a future bass artist … everything [else] I do is pretty crossover.”
He continued by saying that he tries to “take styles and genres and emotions that I think are genuine, that I think are dope and I try to put it in my own world a little bit.“ This is apparent from his newest single, “Shivers N Gold,” which features the debut of vocalist Mascolo. In the words of StéLouse, “It’s very R&B and very soul.”
To finish the two days of raging and fun, headliner Deadmau5 played an undeniably incredible set at the Power Plant. Sure, there are plenty of things you could say about the guy, but he’s talented and great at what he does. His performance was a reminder as to why he’s gotten as “popular” as he his. Overall, he was the cherry on top to a great weekend.
The functionality you are trying to use is for members only. Would you like to sign in?