The first full day of Dover, Del.’s Firefly Music Festival offered a slew of up-and-coming artists — but even the uninitiated would recognize a few of these newcomers’ tunes, as their setlists featured quite a few crowd-pleasing covers.
Kicking off Friday in the Toyota Music Den were fiery five-piece Southern Avenue, who apparently (and thankfully) didn’t get the memo that the Den was supposed to be an intimate, “stripped-down” experience. The rock ‘n’ soul combo (“The most talked-about band in Memphis,” according to Rock 103FM) went full-throttle on the Beatles’ “Come Together,” then cranked it up even more for Beyoncé’s “Freedom.” Surely even Firefly Sunday headliner Kendrick Lamar, who’s featured on that original Lemonade track, would be impressed.
Also rocking the Den were Charleston folk/pop/R&B jam band SondorBlue, who got their start as buskers in Hilton Head, S.C., covering “Come Together” and other rock classics. This time, they opted for a funky take on the Police’s “Walking on the Moon.” However, later on, Yahoo Entertainment caught up with them for a chat about their favorite Beatles songs and albums. (Oddly, despite their French’s-yellow matching outfits, none of the SondorBlue guys chose “Mean Mr. Mustard.”)
The Den got punkier, and even funkier, after that, when badass L.A. garage gang the Regrettes pushed it real good while covering Salt-N-Pepa. Then witty punk poet Ron Gallo, spotting a fan in the audience wearing a T-shirt that read “Play the F***ing Stooges,” unexpectedly and happily obliged — tearing into “TV Eye,” followed by “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” (He also slipped a bit of, yes, “Come Together” into one of his originals, and earnestly covered Des’Ree’s “You Gotta Be” — which was a pretty punk-rock move in its own way.)
Later, Yahoo Entertainment caught up with Gallo, and he gushed about his love for lead Stooge Iggy Pop, saying the punk elder statesman “encapsulates everything about the raw, primal feelings of music. … It’s just so pure. I saw Iggy last year. He’s 70 years old, and he goes harder than any 19-year-old kid that exists on the planet right now. And it’s just the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. … It’s very, very admirable. He’s an American hero.”
Over on the bigger stages, electropop artist Lights channeled her inner diva for a very “Believe”-able Cher tribute, alt-poppers Foster the People punked things up with the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” and positive rapper Logic gave Firefly the royal treatment with Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
The Firefly Festival continues Saturday, streaming live on Yahoo Entertainment from the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, starting at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m ET. Lil’ Wayne, Portugal. The Man, Vance Joy, and many other acts will be there — playing originals, of course, but probably also a few cover tunes! Click here to watch.