With a demographic ranging from young trap-obsessed kids looking to turn up, to older weed-loving reggae fans, this year’s Pot of Gold Music Festival was looking to convince every market possible to attend the two-day event at Rawhide. Veteran underground hip-hop legends Atmosphere joined the likes of Slightly Stoopid and Atlanta-based trap rapper Future to provide a wide variety of talent for the first night of the festival.
I arrived to the ranch-style venue just as Atmosphere began their set. The Minnesota-based duo played through a bevy of old hits that spanned their entire catalog. With songs like "GodLovesUgly" and "Sunshine," Slug and his partner, Ant, had the crowd in palms of their hands as he celebrated his birthday with excited Arizona fans. As expected, Slug delivered a clean performance, ending his set with the group’s biggest hit "Trying to Find a Balance. "
As Clairvoyant Sound finished up their eclectic set over on the local stage, Reggae veterans Slightly Stoopid smoothed out the night with their laid-back reggae sounds as the smell of marijuana filled the air. Much to the delight of the energetic congregation, they played a lot of their tried-and-true signature reggae bounce as well their spin on a couple of covers of songs by the likes of Stevie wonder and NWA.
While Slightly Stoopid broke down, local band Fayuca took the stage on the local side. Their energy was infectious as the crowd quickly gathered to hear the band play through their sultry tales of the night accented by the exquisite trumpet playing of Captain Squeegee. While I was confused at first as to the way the local stage was set up, I quickly realized how smart it was: By placing the stage near the food area and having the local acts play in between main stage acts, the stage wound up seeing a good surge of people while patrons replenished their energy and waited for the next act on the main stage.
The crowd grew very anxious as Future finally strolled out to the audience about 15 minutes late. Once he hit the stage, fans went rabid as he went through some of his biggest hits like "Move That Dope" and "Tony Montana." As Future moved through hit single after hit single, I began to realize the impact he has had on the industry in recent years. Older songs such as "Racks" reminded the crowd where Future has started while current trendy songs like "Jumpman" ignited the crowd in a mighty singalong. Future demonstrated great stage presence and a surprising lack of auto-tune as he quickly ran through song after song. The set went by in a blur as Future actually ended his set 5 minutes early, finishing off the night with his popular song, "March Madness." After starting 15 minutes late, this effectively pissed off his fans who felt robbed by the fact the main headliner gave the shortest set of the day.
Despite that grievance, the first night of the Pot of Gold Festival managed to deliver an entertaining lineup that brought out a diverse crowd.
Last night: Future, Atmosphere, and Slightly Stoopid at Pot of Gold Music Festival
Overheard: "I can't believe I waited seven hours and paid good money to only see Future perform for 35 minutes" — disgruntled young man.
Crowd: A wide range of young college kids to older, reggae-loving adults. Lots of dreadlocks and short shorts.
Random Notebook Dump: I'm pretty sure that EVERYONE got a contact high from the amount weed smoke in the air.
White kids: The amount of young white kids mumbling through Future's lyrics was kind of alarming. The song "Trap Nigga" was particularly interesting to watch. Future actually sounds better without all the auto-tune.