The third annual All Things Go Fall Classic took place on Oct. 8 at Yards Park at the Capitol Riverfront, welcoming over 10,000 attendees who came out and braved the rain -— and mud -— to enjoy the daylong music and food festival. Headlined by Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun and electropop band Passion Pit, the event was the largest iteration yet for All Things Go.
Maryland-based rapper Ace Cosgrove and his band BobMoeKill set a high-energy tone, jumping into the crowd while performing tracks like “Lord Have Mercy” and his newest cut, “Platinum Golddigger.” Cosgrove hails from Gaithersburg, Md., the hometown of Grammy-nominated rapper and Maybach Music Group member Wale. While Cosgrove is not yet at that level of fame, his dynamic live performances set him apart from many of today’s emerging hip-hop acts.
New York dance-music duo Sofi Tukker was next on the lineup. The group has an unconventional and wholly unique sound, blending Brazilian sounds and rhythms with Portuguese lyrics. Their sonic approach stands out in a music world bursting with a glut of generic EDM music, providing listeners — and concertgoers — with something fresh yet still irresistibly danceable.
Following Sofi Tukker, POP ETC — formerly the Morning Benders — an indie rock band from Berkeley, Calif., took the stage. The band released its newest album, “Souvenir,” in January of this year. Pop-dance hybrid cuts like “Vice” and “What Am I Becoming” had the All Things Go crowd grooving, but the band’s best output remains its earlier, ’60s and ’70s Southern California pop-inspired work on albums like 2008’s “Talking Through Tin Cans.”
Alternative singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs provided some of the festival’s rawest, most powerful music. Tracks like the anthemic, folk-rock inspired “River” and the left-field banger “Wild Horses” were some personal favorites of the day, as the artist, born in London but raised in Tokyo and Hong Kong, proved that she has what it takes to be the next breakout star.
French artist Christine and the Queens performed an entertaining set abreast pulsing synthesizers, a driving drum-machine beat and a captivating mix of English and French lyrics. Born Héloïse Letissier, she has described her music genre as “freakpop.” Her biggest hit, “Titled,” a track off her 2015 EP “Saint Claude,” does not sound like much else on the market. Letissier has not released an album since 2014’s “Chaleur Humaine,” but her eight-year career has provided her with plenty of content for an exciting show.
The last act before the headliners — and the one I was most excited to see going into the day — was Sylvan Esso. Fusing Nick Sanborn’s minimalist electronic and folk production with Amelia Meath’s polished, organic vocals, the group excels at making catchy pop hits with a distinctly strange flavor. The layered, slow-burning “Hey Mami” — about catcalling — remains one of the group’s best tracks both on record and live.
Headliners Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun capped off the night with a bang, the former providing a perfect, bubbling electronic build-up to Empire of the Sun’s futuristic, neon-soaked set that featured backup dancers dressed up like robots. Daft Punk plagiarism aside, the group certainly knows how to make dance tracks fine-tuned for music festival use.
Beyond the music, All Things Go featured a top-notch assortment of some of Washington’s best restaurants and food trucks. TaKorean, DGS Delicatessen, Shake Shack and Georgetown Farmers Market staple Timber Pizza offered up something delicious. Timber Pizza even created an item just for the festival, a pie made with smoked butternut squash dubbed the “Squash Venesso” — a nod to performers Sylvan Esso.
Now in its third year — and already looking to plan a fourth — All Things Go did not begin as a music festival but rather as a music blog. Launched in 2006, the website combined music news with exclusive interviews and custom playlists. The blog continued to grow in popularity, and in 2010 its four founders — Will Suter, Stephen Vallimarescu, Zack Friendly and Adrian Maseda — began partnering with venues like U Street Music Hall, The Fillmore Silver Spring and the 9:30 Club.
In 2014, All Things Go hosted its first festival — drawing about 3,000 people — at Union Market’s Dock 5, headlined by Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo and Maryland-based synth-pop group Future Islands. The event’s success allowed All Things Go to host another festival the following year in the same location, featuring tropical house DJ Kygo and New York electronic duo The Knocks.