99.7 NOW Summer Splash 2016
Feat. The Chainsmokers, Charlie Puth, Melanie Martinez, Marc E. Bassy, Daya
July 15, 2016
Santa Clara, CA
Redwood Amphitheater at California's Great America
The event was completely sold out. A first in the history of the Summer Splash event that takes place every year at Great America. The event is hosted by a local radio station, 99.7 NOW, specializing in pop music and (late nights) electronic dance music.
I will say that I really did like attending the event and watching the artists that performed at the festival. Some stuck out more than others, but it was a well-put together event that brought together Bay Area pop music fans of all ages for a great day of music and theme park adventures. It was a fun day overall, and The Chainsmokers were the icing on the cake.
I noticed, upon arriving at the gates of the park, that a large majority of the crowd were there for Melanie Martinez. I had never seen her performance before or really delved into any of her music, but nearly every single teenager I saw during the day, walking around the park, was wearing one of her t-shirts, dyed their hair to match hers, or had drawn her iconic teardrop eye tattoo on their faces. And they were there all day. I made a note of this upon arriving at the amphitheater for the actual show at 6 PM.
The first act up was Daya, a newer and up-and-coming pop vocalist. The set was a bit shorter since she was first up on the bill (those sets generally last about twenty minutes for radio shows) but it was a good start to the show. The largest track Daya has appeared on, thus far, is a track that she actually performed with the headliners (The Chainsmokers) entitled "Don't Let Me Down", so it was nice to hear some of her own work outside of that and get a sense of what kind of vocalist and songwriter she is in her own world.
I feel like things went a tiny bit off course when Marc E. Bassy, a Bay Area rapper, took the stage. The set itself, musically, was fine, but Bassy kept swearing. It doesn't really make sense to you, as a reader, why I point out that a rapper was swearing at a show. A lot of us curse, all the time. I think it was an odd situation because I took a seat towards the back of the amphitheater. There were a LOT of little kids in the venue. When I say little, I mean kids between the ages of 3 and 5. There were a lot of them closer to the stage as well. I understand getting hyped up and the adrenaline rush that comes with performing on stage, particularly in front a crowd of 8,000 people. But it resulted in a lot of parents picking up their little kids and walking out. I guess, in the long run, it was a good thing that those offended by it got out and made room for the people who were going to genuinely enjoy the show.
Remember what I said earlier about how all of those girls were dressed to the nines for Melanie Martinez? Dear reader, not even for 5 Seconds of Summer, One Direction, or Justin Bieber have I ever heard little girls scream the way that they did for Melanie Martinez. Her stage set up was a bit perplexing, but I highly admired the theatricality of it (particularly after I went home and Googled more information about her album, Crybaby, and the thematics surrounding it). Her songs are a unique brand of pop, and it was insane to watch a crowd feed off of her and her lyrics when she ran out on stage. There was a quick good-bye, and that was that.
I was really surprised that I liked Charlie Puth's set as much as I did. Another great songwriter that I do hope to see again one day. His set was probably the biggest outlier from the other artists, as his set was far more instrumental than others. Perched behind a piano, Puth performed a number of songs that fans weren't accustomed to hearing, in addition to the one song that he claimed "he wrote in ten minutes, and it changed his life forever". We all know that song as "See You Again", the track that appeared in the previous Fast and the Furious movie as a tribute to the late Paul Walker (Wiz Khalifa joined the version that appeared in the film). That song is still one that I consider to be a masterpiece, and one that I believe will hold its own in the world of music for many years to come.
The Chainsmokers took the stage to close the evening, and the atmosphere became thick with the need to party. The American duo, comprised of producers Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, brought the energy in the amphitheater to an all-time high for the closing performance. All of the hits were played. Humorous moments were abound, too; when the single that first brought the duo into the limelight, "Selfie", made its way into the set, they told the crowd that if they hated the song, they could raise their middle fingers in the air. I laughed.
The great thing about watching a DJ set from an artist that really has roots in the electro-world is that, more often than not, they're going to play songs that you've not yet heard. Some of them will be IDs (unidentified tracks that have not yet been released to the public), and others will introduce you to artists you've never heard of before. That level of excitement when a song reaches a drop and it's completely new to you is almost always there, and it makes for one hell of a show.
Overall, this was easily the biggest Summer Splash that 99.7 NOW has hosted, and it featured a plethora of highly talented artists, with a lineup that was very well structured from top to bottom.
Marc E. Bassy
This has been another Shameless Promotion.