Reflecting on 2019: “I want everybody to put two middle fingers up in the air — ‘cuz we’re leaving all that shit behind.”
Half a dozen artists remarked that Intersect, a new music festival in Las Vegas, would be the last of their 2019 tour, but nobody articulated the spirit better than Kacey Musgraves above: Ditch the bad energy when the ball drops at the end of the month, but celebrate all we’ve worked to build.
In that spirit, a strong cohort of acts at Intersect wove cover songs into their sets. Among others: Beck covered The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” Spoon covered John Lennon’s “Isolation,” The Foo Fighters ran a few bars of The Ramones’ “Blitzkreig Bop” before Dave Grohl and drummer Taylor Hawkins switched places for a Hawkins-led and Grohl-backed rendition of Queen’s “Under Pressure.” Shawn Mullins didn’t need a cover song; he’s a sentimental throwback himself, performing 1998’s “Lullaby” to a swooning crowd at The Dome stage. And who could forget Musgraves herself, who, in covering Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” schooled the crowd at her headlining set on how to embrace the best of the past while letting go and looking to the bright future ahead.
Was this a nostalgic nod to how nice we had things before modern Twitter? Or a glimpse ahead at how the festivals of the future can cut low-hanging fruit to appeal to broader crowds?
Afternoons were highlighted by performances by the likes of CHVRCHES and hometown heroes Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Intersect’s grounds were filled out with activities like a midair drone lightshow, art installations, 6-on-6 dodgeball grounds replete with flame geysers and Mad Max style drummers.
The weekend’s top accolades definitely go to can’t-miss performances from Thundercat, who shredded a 6-string bass through funky renditions from 2017’s Drunk, and Anderson .Paak, who shimmied between front of stage and behind his drum kit while his band The Free Nationals grooved. With artists covering many genres paired with high-tech stage design, Intersect was a sonically and visually appealing weekend to close out 2019’s festival circuit.
Words by Josh Petersel. Photos by Jon Fritz.