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THE HIGHLIGHTS OF INNINGS FEST: DAY 1 + 2 REVIEW

Show Lineup:



Genre(s): Rock, Indie

Venue: Tempe Beach Park

Date: February 23-24, 2024

Description: 

Innings Fest is a baseball-themed music festival based around Spring Training that does not disappoint. This weekend's array of artists was insane and left me feeling like I had a spiritual awakening at each set. Day one was magical with my favorite performances by Bully, 311, Phantogram, Greta Van Fleet, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Day 2 was more chill with my favorite performances by Finish Ticket, Miya Folik, Cautious Clay, Cannons, Third Eye Blind, and Hozier. They created the perfect vibe with these artists, and the energy ranged from energetic, to chill, to euphoric, to insane then to beautiful. Every single day seemed to be planned to perfection, with dreamy artists timed at the sunsets, and beautiful performances to end the night. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get to all of the artists in the fest since I wanted to provide quality pictures and videos for this review by waiting it out in the crowd. There were no breaks the first day for me, but it was fully worth the insane experiences I had at Innings. The second day I was able to take a more laid-back approach but was still immersed in the intensity of being a festival goer with a need for the barricade. But enough talking- let's get to my review of the artists of both days below (I also took a lot of film pictures as well, so there will be a different post with all of those):


INNINGS FESTIVAL DAY 1:

Bully: ★★★★☆

Bully is an alternative rock/indie band. The main singer, Alicia Bognanno has an amazing voice, and Bully really taps into their riot girl roots. For reference, I'd relate them to Bikini Kill's vibe, so if you like them I'd give them a listen! I didn't know them before I created a playlist of the artists present at this event, but they were my favorite band out of all the ones I didn't know. The introduction of punk and indie aspects into their band truly makes it one of a kind and evokes an energy in the crowd that was quite amazing to see- even people who didn't know any of the words to the songs were willing to dance and headbang on the barricades. People of all ages seem to have loved this performance, as it was packed to no end. The only reason I will not be giving this set a 5 is because the visuals and light work on stage were lacking compared to the other sets (however, this does make sense for a smaller band over bands like Phantogram and RHCP with insane lighting and visuals). Overall, I enjoyed this set and liked hearing some newer rock music that incorporated many other genres into it.


Picture by Fae Campbell
Bully At Innings Festival
311: ★★★★★

311 is one of the most iconic surf rock bands of the 90s. If I could give 311 a 10000/5 for this set I would. Their performance is now on my top 5 list of all the artists I've ever seen, and I've seen close to 100 artists now. They played all their hit songs, my favorites being "Beautiful Disaster", "All Mixed Up", and "Champagne." Not only were their looks amazing, but their setlist was tuned to perfection. The production value on this set was absolutely insane (but not as insane as Greta Van Fleet), with lights and visuals on point. They incorporated their quintessential '90s alternative rock/surf vibe while also proving how cool they were through various stunts. The guitarist Nick Hexum even played the guitar behind his head. The atmosphere created by this show is indescribable, yet the palpable connection between the audience and the band was unlike any other show I've experienced. Again, no words can accurately describe this beautiful set.


Picture by Fae Campbell
311 At Innings Festival
Phantogram: ★★★★☆

Phantogram was also super awesome! Their set was very euphoric and gave more of an early EDM/indie vibe if anything; to be honest, Phantogram is its own genre and is not comparable to anything I've ever heard. I had the privilege of interviewing them, during which they shared insights about their upcoming album and offered intriguing details about their journey and formation. It was truly inspiring to hear their story unfold, and I look forward to their new album! You can watch for that interview soon. Anyway, their performance was awesome, other than the brief times that the drummer was not on beat with the other instruments (which I assume was a sound-tech error because it got solved quickly). Most people didn't know who they were, but they still got everyone moving and offered an amazing set out to all of us. Phantogram's performance was nothing short of euphoric, captivating the audience from the very first note to the final encore of "When I'm Small", my favorite song by them. I don't know if it was intentional to put the most euphoric band during the sunset but it created the most unbelievable atmosphere. As the sun set, everyone became more connected and you could see how lovely everyone felt. In the interview that I had with them, Sarah and Josh (Phantogram) mentioned to me that this show was the first set that they'd played in over 6 months. However, both Sarah and Josh have such great compositions on and off stage, so that may be the reason why they have such consistently beautiful shows.


Picture by Fae Campbell
Phantogram At Innings Festival
Greta Van Fleet: ★★★★★

I'm going to start with WOW. I knew what to expect when I saw them for the first time, but that does not discount that I was nearly moved to tears and shocked by every single song. They are truly our generation's greatest rock and roll bands; even people who grew up listening to rock and roll were rocking out and headbanging together. Their show was everything from flashy, to exciting and insane. They truly put on a show with insane vocals, flames, guitar tricks, and flashy costume changes. I have never seen such an insane show. I wouldn't say that they're in my top 5 concerts now only because I don't know a lot of their songs, but it truly was an experience I'll never forget. They put on a show like no other. From the moment they stepped onto the stage, they commanded the audience's attention with their powerful vocals and dynamic instrumentals. The band's energy was infectious, and their classic rock sound resonated with fans of all ages. Highlights of the set included my favorite hits like "Light my Love", "Safari Song", and "Black Smoke Rising" which had the crowd singing along just like every other song. Greta Van Fleet's performance at Innings Fest was a testament to their talent and stage presence, making them arguably some of the best performers of our generation. The experience of being there was just so awesome.


Picture by Fae Campbell
Greta Van Fleet At Innings Festival
Red Hot Chili Peppers: ★★★★★

I knew the Red Hot Chili Peppers were going to be good, but I was blown away by them. With John Frusciante back, I knew I was in for a treat. For a while, he left the band in 2007 to pursue his own creative endeavors and to heal his relationship with substances, but he is now back and strong within the band as of 2022. As usual, they played all their hits but incorporated more of a jam rock style compared to their past concerts I've seen (this was most likely because their newest album had a lot of jam-rock on it). Within this show, Frusciante played a 20-minute guitar solo from "Scar Tissue" to "Snow (Hey Oh)" that left all of us stunned. He also made another awe-inducing solo during "The Heavy Wing". The performance was a classic, with smooth transitions and intermittent solos for each of the band members. Although the show was nearly 2 hours long, they knew how to keep us occupied. The visuals for this show were by far the most amazing out of all of the other sets. With psychedelic visuals and high-tech production, they were able to mix those two to incorporate their performance in the background. My only negative thought about this performance was that a huge amount of people had to wait for hours to get remotely close to them (I had to wait almost three hours to get a good spot since Greta Van Fleet performed before but people were very inconsiderate and pushed by to get to the front although we were already packed like sardines). But other than that, the show was amazing. The girls next to me were raving about how insane they were as performers and I can confirm this firsthand; their fame is well deserved. This concert ranks high on my list now because of the quality that went into it- from the jam sessions to solos and visuals.


Picture by Fae Campbell
Red Hot Chili Peppers At Innings Festival

INNINGS FESTIVAL DAY 2:

Finish Ticket: ★★★★★

This indie band from Alameda, California took on the Main Stage and got the crowd pumping at the start of the day. If I could describe this band in one word it would be sunshine. They remind me a bit of The 1975, but with better vibes! Behind the scenes, they seemed to be the sweetest, most genuine people which made sense considering the energy they put out on stage. The crowd connection on this set was wonderful, whether you were sitting on a blanket or dancing in the crowd. My favorite of their songs included "Wrong" and their rendition of Creeds baseball-themed "Marlins Will Soar". Finish Ticket raised the bar for indie bands at the festival and left everyone with a light feeling in their chest as the sun began to shine brighter on the main stage than ever before. I will keep listening to them in the future and recommend them if you haven't heard any of their songs before.


Picture by Fae Campbell
Finish Ticket At Innings Festival
Miya Folick: ★★★☆☆

Alright, I'll start this review by saying that I am biased because I wasn't a huge fan of Miya Folick's music before I went to the festival or even at it. She explained her setlist to be "intimate" which it was but it was more sad in my opinion. Although people were dancing, I had trouble getting in the groove and transferring my energy from Finish Ticket to her set. It may have been a mix of boredom as well as excitement for Cautious Clay that dampened the set for me. However, she is a very talented artist with some very meaningful songs. She played this show to debut some of her songs for her new album which she had said were only rehearsed and never played for an audience; she called this set an "experiment" for her upcoming tour. I would say that this was a good set, but it slightly messed up the overall feeling of the festival. The reason why I rate it 3 stars is because I felt like she would be way better in a venue than a festival, as her songs were non-energetic. It feels criminal to compare her to Clairo, but both of them have voices and songs more suited for smaller, more intimate audiences. However, I was just there to wait for Cautious Clay, one of my favorite artists of the day who certainly blew me away more than I'd ever expected.


Photo By Fae Campbell
Miya Folick At Innings Festival

Cautious Clay: ★★★★★

Oh, Cautious Clay how I love you! Cautious Clay brought his energy from Brooklyn, NY to Tempe for the Innings Festival. The R&B, Jam King, Improvisor, Flute Player, and Sax Player lit up the stage an hour after Miya Folick's depressing set. And let me say, this man is so talented! He played songs from his newer album and even threw in a little improvised song to mix things up a bit on stage with his Saxophone and the help of his drummer. Every aspect of this performance was astounding, as proven by the massive crowd that gathered over the hill of the Right Stage; this crowd was almost as big as the Third Eye Blind crowd! Sadly, the sound techs messed up extremely badly at the beginning as there was an unbelievable amount of feedback coming through the speakers, but it was solved by their second song. Although this error was certainly not the best, the rest of his performance made it up for me. Through intermittent jam sessions, Cautious Clay proved his talent, even playing the flute mid-song creating an intense emotional atmosphere. I loved Cautious Clay since my Indie era in 2018 when I discovered "Cold War", but I didn't know that he had so many tricks up his sleeve! His set attracted people of all ages, who danced to his groovy afro-inspired beats to slower songs like "Cold War" and "Wildfire". Overall, the setlist was perfect and captured his talent perfectly. If you've ever been to a concert and gotten completely sucked into a performance out of awe, this was what happened to me at his performance. Lastly, Cautious Clay mentioned that this was his first set of the year, and he was planning on going on tour and producing new music soon, so we can hope for the best!


Photo by Fae Campbell
Cautious Clay At Innings Festival
Cannons: ★★★★★

Cannons was one of the artists I didn't get to discover before the festival, but I'm really glad I waited out the Third Eye Blind Concert at the Right Stage so I had the opportunity to discover them. Michelle Joy, the main singer, is truly a pop icon. She wore a Taylor Swift-esque outfit and performed extremely well. I didn't know any of their songs, but the energy around me allowed me to move and feel connected to her instantly. I felt the same at her set as I did at the Phantogram set- blissful and euphoric. The crowd loved her and she was picture-perfect. The guitarist and drummer were also extremely talented, elevating the energy around the right stage before one of the most sought-after performances, Third Eye Blind. I don't have much else to say as my rating comes from the energy I experienced at this set. Nevertheless, I recommend that you see them live.


Photo By Fae Campbell
Cannons At Innings Festival
Third Eye Blind: ★★★★★

Third Eye Blind was probably one of the most iconic shows I've ever been to. People of all ages gathered to see this iconic 90/2000s band in person. After the Cannons set, I camped out at the barricade for an hour and made some friends during this time, and everyone seemed to be equally excited about their appearance. One of my friends I made at this festival waited at the barricade for 5 hours to see them up close (from the GA section). I must say, out of all the artists I waited for, Third Eye Blind takes the cake for being the best. Their set was nostalgic, energetic, and iconic. Out of all the sets, this one had the most crowd engagement as most of the demographic at the festival grew up listening to them, and we knew mostly all the words to every single song they played. The person next to me at the GA barricade traveled from California for their 12th Third Eye Blind show, so that definitely says something about how strong and committed their fanbase is. They performed their hit songs "Jumper", "Semi-Charmed Life", "Graduate," and my favorite, "Never Let You Go". They seriously had one of the best setlists out of all the artists next to Hozier, Greta Van Fleet, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. This show was a must-see, and I am hoping for more opportunities to see them in the future as they announced they will be going on tour this summer. Unfortunately, they mentioned they would not be making an appearance in Arizona.


Picture by Fae Campbell
Third Eye Blind At Innings Fest
Hozier: ★★★★★

For the last show of the weekend, Hozier created the most beautiful, emotional, and intimate atmosphere. After rushing from Third Eye Blind I was on a high, but once I heard his voice I didn't know whether I should smile or cry. It was like I was in a dream! I nearly forgot how invested I was in him as a kid and it all came back to me at that moment. Although I wasn't close, I still had a near-religious experience. During his set, he spoke out on the occupation of Palestine and offered words of support to Palestinians. He mentioned the kindness of Americans and how he wishes that this kindness would be reflected in our senators as they should vote for a ceasefire. This was a bold move for him, but the crowd offered support nevertheless. I am extremely happy that he used his platform to speak out on injustices, and it only makes me even more of a fan of him. Anyways, his setlist included my favorite songs like "Movement", "Cherry Wine", "Work Song", "Someone New", "Would That I", and "Like Real People Do". I will not lie- I was moved to tears the minute that "Cherry Wine" came on and I could not stop crying until the end. I think that being that moved from someone's music proves their quality of sound. His voice was unbelievable, and he had the control of no other musician I have ever seen. He even jumped into the crowd at the end! This is one of those shows that people would tell their kids about, a show that you would remember forever. Needless to say, this was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to have experienced this beautiful set.


Photograph by Fae Campbell
Hozier At Innings Festival

A Completely Transparent Review of Innings Festival:

Although the Innings Festival was great, it did have a couple of downsides with logistics if you were thinking of going in the future. The lineups were top-tier, but the organization of the event was lacking in some aspects. The food options at the concert didn't cater well to people with dietary restrictions, despite assurances that they would. On the other hand, there was a huge selection of alcohol for those of legal age to buy, which contributed to rowdiness during later sets and resulted in an alarming need for medical attention in the crowd as well as numerous arrests by the end of the night. Additionally, I was disappointed with the layout of the festival, as many people were left running to get in between the two "main" stages to make each set, creating an abundance of dust in the air. Often, people had to wait in the same place for hours on end to secure a "decent" spot at the festival, not stopping to go to the bathroom or eat. By the second to last set on each day, the crowd for the main stage went beyond the Centerfield Bleachers. Although congested crowds happened mostly at the Main Stage, the Right Stage had its downsides set out differently. Over there, the General Admission barricade on the right stage was notably distanced from the front barricade by an extensive VIP area, perhaps the widest I've ever witnessed, spanning approximately 15 feet. This arrangement left dedicated fans at the barricade feeling disheartened, as they had patiently waited for hours only to find themselves obstructed by VIP attendees who arrived just minutes before the set, having utilized the "Platinum Shuttle" from the main stage to bypass the sprinting distance. While I am not shaming people who are in VIP, there could have been a way better layout.

As an avid festival-goer, these aspects were disappointing to me but it did not take away from the amazing experiences I had here. I completely encourage anyone who likes festivals or is interested in a more "chill" festival to attend this one. Perfect for first-timers, the festival was from 12:30 PM - 11 PM, making it easy to stay for most (or all) of the day. I normally have to go to festivals later in the day to make sure I can make it to the end, but

this timing was very smart so I didn't have to do that. I also appreciated how sustainable the festival was. All the bars served their drinks in reusable cups that could be recycled at the end of the day and reused the next day after sanitation. The accommodations for GA+ seemed quite worth it, with air-conditioned bathrooms, premium seating at the main stage, and private bars for those of age. Additionally, at the beginning of the day, it wasn't packed so there was ample space to wander, play games, meet MLB legends at the batting cage, or

Corona Stand Skee Ball Setup

set down a picnic blanket and listen to music. Even better, the security at every show made sure people stayed hydrated by throwing out cans of Liquid Death and Boxed Water, making everyone's experience of the festival better. The location of the festival also allowed for a more relaxed aspect as people could sit by the river or on the grass when they needed a break. In addition, Innings was able to secure ASL signers for people who needed it- which was a great touch to improve accessibility. Overall, I was there for the music, and the music was great. The lineup and careful schedule of artists allowed for the perfect atmosphere to be put forth, and I got to see some of my favorite artists. As long as you can deal with huge crowds and hustle, the Innings Festival is for you!



Reviewer Name: Fae Campbell

Date of Review: February 25, 2024

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