The stage in a nutshell: Home base for hip-hop and dance music at Fun Fun Fun Fest, the Blue Stage boasts a solid record for mixing a satisfying blend of classic and cutting edge sounds.
Blasts from the past: Representing the old school? Everyone from Slick Rick to De La Soul. Holding up the next vibe? Artists like Schoolboy Q, A$AP Rocky and Charlie XCX. Last year the stage hosted Seattle hip-hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis right before they exploded, and young Swedish dance-pop duo Icona Pop played their soon to be ubiquitous anthem “I Love It” to a crowd of maybe 200 people in an early afternoon set.
7 acts to see:
Snoop Dogg/Lion: Much ado about the shifting identity of the Dogg Pound Gangsta has overshadowed the fact that Snoop’s “Reincarnation” is a fantastic reggae album. Buoyed by production assists from Major Lazer, it spans styles and sub-genres from dub to one-drop to righteous reggae, exuding positivity along the way. His next project, an electro funk collaboration with Dam Funk, also sounds promising. Snoop is not playing this gig in full-on Lion mode — you will hear the Doggy Dog hits — but we should appreciate the fact that as an artist Snoop is continually evolving himself instead of coasting on nostalgia. 8:45 p.m. Friday.
Poolside: An L.A.-based duo that spins out lovely lazy afternoon lounge tunes. Their chillwave take on Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” is sublime. 2 p.m. Friday and 12:30 a.m. Friday at Parish Nites.
Chromatics: After abandoning forays into noise and punk, this Portland quartet has found solid footing as an electropop outfit. Hazy vocals and shimmery synths meld in swirls of sound, drenched in melancholy and utterly entrancing. 4:15 p.m. Saturday.
Deltron 3030: The stylized sci-fi construct of a dystopian future focuses Del the Funkee Homosapien’s knack for lyrically twisting arcane knowledge in a way that’s both captivating and accessible. The fact that Dan the Automator’s celestial soundtrack will be augmented by a 16-piece orchestra pushes it into the category of absolute can’t-miss. 6:20 p.m. Sunday. Del plays the Belmont Nites at 11 p.m. Saturday.
Bonobo: British producer Simon Green mixes the kind of lush downtempo grooves that are perfect for late night lounging. In a live setting, he fleshes the mixes out with a rotating core of backup musicians, creating a Thievery Corporation-esque mashup of electronic and organic sounds that lends itself to a festival stage. 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Flatbush Zombies: Frequently macabre, sometimes psychedelic, always grimy hip-hop from Flatbush, Brooklyn. These Beast Coast rappers are part of the next wave of hip-hop artists repping NYC for generation zed. 3:15 p.m. Saturday and 10 p.m. Saturday at Belmont Nites.
Dessa: The leading lady of Minneapolis’ Doomtree hip-hop collective has always worked the contrast between razor sharp spoken word style rhyme-slinging and velvety melodies. Her newest release finds her delving deeper into song, exploring electro pop textures and churning out heart-tugging hooks. 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
5 more Blue acts to see:
RJD2: 8:45 p.m. Friday
Killer Mike: 5:30 p.m. Sunday
Lupe Fiasco: 7:25 p.m. Friday
Jurassic 5: 8:45 p.m. Sunday
Small Black: 5:25 p.m. Friday and 11:45 p.m. Friday at Beerland Nites