It took forever to edit these photos. The actual shooting and capturing the event at hand is the fun part. However, when you’ve somehow managed to take over 900 photos over the course of a weekend festival, it understandably seems a bit intimidating, but at some point photos have to be looked at, edited and so on. There are two things off the top of my head I can say about the 2012 edition of the Afro-Punk Festival – the artists I caught were fantastic and there were many highlights (and I’ll get into that later) but there were some nagging issues that revealed a frustrating lack of organization.
Let me give you a couple of examples: They had an artist who somehow flaked and part of that set was spent bullshitting to fill time, and people were getting a little impatient. Gym Class Heroes were scheduled to appear but because of the hospitalization of one of the members. This thing happens and it’s unfortunate for the band and for their fans but it wasn’t announced by anyone at the festival until that day, when it was announced that Janelle Monae would be playing a longer set. There was also annoying issues with press credentials – the organizers decided to change things at the last minute without informing people. But beyond that, there were many highlights – more highlights than imaginable. Ninjasonik were reliably raunchy and rowdy. And it was fun to watch people moshing hardcore during their set. I caught about half of Sinkane’s set and they had a smooth, funky Afrobeat inspired sound reminiscent of Cochelum Gastelum. Oxymorrons had an infectiously high energy, big beat conscious hip hop set – the same can be said of DJ Roofeo’s DJ set. Cerebral Ballzy played a set of thrashing New York hardcore punk – and interestingly, they’ve gotten better live with each time I’ve seen them. Supersonics had a raunchy set of hip hop reminiscent of the 2 Live Crew and the big bass of Miami. Das Racist were the comic relief of the night, with songs about getting high and other ridiculous topics, and in some way they reminded me a lot of the Beastie Boys. But Erykah Badu was incredible. She’s a larger than life personality whose soul sound harkens back to the conscious soul sound of the 70s while being somewhat indescribable – at times she’s unlike anything you would have heard in recent memory.
Not only were all of the acts I caught on day 1 were ncredible, they also managed to show the diversity of the modern Black experience in a way that’s more realistic than anything the media portrays …
A couple of the several graffiti artists invited to paint, and their work was incredible.
This guy was dancing and had some moves that I could surely borrow.
Ninjasonik’s set was at the skate park, and I caught this skater shredding it right as the hip hop group’s set was beginning.
Some of the crowd moshing hard, and it was incredible to watch.
These two girls were signing along to Ninjasonik’s “Somebody Gonna Get Pregnant,” and it was hilariously inappropriate.
Yet another skater shredding on a half pipe.
Some of the amazing artwork by local graffiti artists.
The festival’s emcee in a rather interesting outfit to say the least.
Some more of the festival’s great fans, getting into the afternoon’s events.
Kids moshing hard during Cerebral Ballzy’s incredible set.
I didn’t mention this earlier but many of the photos taking during Cerebral Ballzy’s set were taken from the stage. And seeing people mosh like that from the stage is an incredible experience.
This woman was really into Cerebal Ballzy’s set.
Yes, the mighty Mos Def showed up for Erykah Badu’s set.
For these photos and the rest of the photos from this day of music, check out the Flickr set here: