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Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Written By: Melissa Golden
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Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Celebrating their birthdays at Firefly! Sophie from DE and Anna from DC!
Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Echosmith - Sydney Sierota
Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Walk The Moon fans Nathan, Hannah, Lindsey, Shawn, Carolyn, Giuliana, Sam, Hannah and Devon.
Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Cage The Elephant - Matthew Shultz
Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Echosmith - Sydney & Noah Sierota
Firefly 2015 - Friday - part 2
Sir Paul McCartney
    Unfortunately, there was a little rain  in the night late Thursday but at least it did not start until all the performances were over. However, it did make for the beginnings of the invasion of the mud! When I arrived on Friday there were several areas that were puddled up and muddy. This can be difficult to navigate but thank goodness for my trusty festival mud boots, which are a must for occasions such as this!!
    I started Friday out by heading straight over to The Lawn Stage for Echosmith’s first performance of the day from 3:30-4:15 pm. The sun was baking hot but the crowd was steadily growing and all seemed too happy to wait for the chance to see these ‘cool kids’ in action.
    I ended up waiting next to a couple of girls who were also cool enough to be celebrating their birthdays at Firefly! Sophie from Del. and Anna from D.C. didn’t even know each other before this day but ended up being Firefly birthday buddies thanks to their trusty Happy Birthday balloons! Also celebrating birthdays over the weekend were none other than Sir Paul McCartney, who turned 73 on Thursday, June 18, and Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers who turned 34 on June 21. Happy Birthday to all and what a cool way to celebrate - you all Rock!
    Echosmith was really fun and worth the wait! Despite the heat, they were all as energetic as ever and kept the crowd engaged with every song. The group consists of four siblings who are all still quite young despite their international success: the oldest, Jamie Sierota, on lead guitar and backing vocals, is now 22; Noah Sierota on bass guitar and backing vocals is 19; Sydney Sierota lead vocals and keyboards is finally 18; and their youngest member, Graham Sierota on drums, is just 16 years old! The four of them have said that they grew up in a very musical household and all had an interest in instruments and music early on. They decided to make the band an official effort in 2009, when Graham was just 10 years old, and by the time he was 13, they were signed to Warner Bros. Records. What a crazy, fun and, I am sure, exhausting way to experience your teen years! Good luck with it all, Sierota family, and keep up the good work!
    Their set was just as cool as they are as they went through songs from their debut album, Talking Dreams, which was released in 2014 and has just gone platinum. They played their newest single, “Bright,” for which Noah brought out a stand-up bass. It was very beautiful to see it performed live and made me hear the song in a whole new way. At one point during their set, they called two fans on stage to be their backup dancers; one lucky girl and guy were picked at random and had to share the spotlight! They closed with their hit single “Cool Kids” and the audience, of course, chanted every word right back at them!
    These super ‘cool kids’ are now on a European tour and I am not sure when they will be back in the states, but keep an eye out for more to come from these guys! I think they might just have a ‘bright’ future ahead of them! For more info visit:
    Luckily, I did not have to go far for Walk The Moon, who was next on my list and were scheduled to play The Lawn Stage from 5-6 pm. I had just enough time to go over to the air-conditioned VIP bathrooms, stop at the air-conditioned VIP tent to re-fill my free bottled water, load up on lots of ice and head right back to The Lawn.
    Walk The Moon is an indie rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio, and genuinely a fun bunch of guys. Their fans were colorfully decorated with florescent war paint and packed in tight waiting for their set to begin. Lead singer Nicholas Petricca came bounding out in tight, sparkling blue spandex pants and black leather jacket and the crowd went crazy over him. The rest of the band was right behind him and were all just as colorful: bassist Kevin Ray had on bright red pants and tennis ball green hair; guitarist Eli Maiman was sporting a classic jean jacket and white war paint; and drummer Sean Waugaman looked right at home, taking his seat behind his sparkling silver Ludwig kit.
    They all had a really fun energy on stage and were a blast to watch. They played all their biggest hits including their first, “Anna Sun,” which peaked at number 10 on the U.S. Alt charts in 2012. I loved rockin’ out to their number one hit, this summer’s dance anthem, "Shut Up and Dance.” It was the first single from their latest album, Talking Is Hard, which is a really fun collection of very danceable, ‘80s influenced pop rock. They closed their set with their latest single from the album, “Different Colors,” and though it has only reached number thirty-six on the charts so far, their fans knew every word!
    After stopping for more water, I ventured way across The Woodlands, over to The Main Stage for Cage The Elephant. Set to play from 5:45 to 6:45 pm, it was easily one of the coolest, hardest, most exhausting and most fun hours of the whole weekend. This was my first trip over to The Main Stage area and since I was not sure where to go, I just headed right up the middle and made it almost to the front through a tight crowd of muddy, sweaty fans. I still cannot even believe how many people were packed in there and that somehow I managed to walk right into two of my very good friends!
    It was so fun to get to share this experience with someone I knew and lead singer Matthew Shultz made it a very memorable experience for all of us. He was like a mad man, climbing and surfing all over the crowd, running up and down the middle barricades and diving into the arms of fans left and right. Security had a hard time keeping up with him but did an awesome job. At one point two security guys held Shultz up in a sort of back bend so he could hang his head upside down and posed for a picture. My friend tackled the crowd to grab his hand and I lost count of how many people we had to help pass over our heads as they surfed right over us! Overall, it was a very fun and crazy show and I loved it!
    Cage The Elephant has had a few different members but has always centered around brothers Matthew Shultz, lead vocalist and Brad Shultz, rhythm guitarist. Other members currently consist of  drummer Jared Champion, bassist Daniel Tichenor, Matthan Minster on keyboards and guitar, and lead guitarist Nick Bockrath.
    Their set was filled with all of their best known hits including one of my favorites, “In One Ear.” They played “Shake Me Down,” “Aberdeen,” “Come a Little Closer,” and their closing number was one of their best known singles, “Ain't No Rest for the Wicked,” which was only their second single and peaked at 32 on the charts in 2009.
    After catching my breath and saying goodbye to my friends, I began the hike back over to The Lawn Stage for Awolnation, set to play from 6:45-7:45 pm. First of all, I have to say that I can’t believe I am really just discovering Awolnation for who they really are. Sure I had heard “Sail” a million times on the radio, who hasn’t, but it was not until the Firefly line-up was released that I really started to listen to more of their music and I have to say I love it!
    Fronted by Aaron Bruno, Awolnation is very much like a new age version of Beck. Bruno has collaborated with many different musicians over the years, mixing all sorts of music to create new and different sounds throughout every song. There have been many different ‘band’ members over the years; however, Bruno has always called it a band and has always said that it is a group effort.
    His first big hit with Awolnation was “Sail”, from their first album Megalithic Symphony in 2011, and since then the song has gone 6x platinum! The group’s second studio album, Run, was released in March of 2015 and has received mixed reviews; however, I rather like it. I was upset to have been a bit late for their set, but he was great to hear live and I’m glad I made it for most of their performance!
    After Awolnation, it was time to cool off again so I headed over to see my new friends at The Coffee House Stage presented by StubHub. It was time for Echosmith's acoustic set from 8:30 to 9 pm and was the perfect place for me to cool down a bit! I was given permission to sit side stage and even had the chance to meet the band for a quick picture after their set.
    Sydney Sierota, lead vocalist, was such a sweetheart and real trooper for going on with the show and for being nice enough to let me take her picture! She explained to the crowd during their set that she was a bit dehydrated and needed some fluids via an IV and was still wearing her bandage. After doing my post show research for this article, I also learned that after watching Paul McCartney just a few rows behind me, that she actually performed again. She came out and sang the song “Illusion” with Zedd, who was really one of three more performances that really closed the show for the night that went on til 2 am. I missed this, of course, ‘cause I was beat but, wow, go Sydney and kudos for being such a rock star, already; keep it up and keep being you!
    OMG!!! It was finally time to head back over to The Main Stage for Sir Paul McCartney. His set was scheduled from 10 pm to 12:30 am,  an amazing two-and-a-half hours, which is the  longest scheduled performance in Firefly history - and what an amazing two-and-a-half hours it was! I am still pinching myself and can’t really believe that it happened - but it did! I saw a Beatle perform live and in the flesh and it was one of the greatest nights of my life!
    As I mentioned before, this performance took place the day after McCartney’s 73rd birthday and he was just as funny and charismatic as ever. The show began with McCartney and band running onto the stage and with no words at all, McCartney sprang right into his song “Birthday” and afterward, the crowd welcomed him by singing Happy Birthday right back to him! There is a cute video on McCartney’s facebook page showing how the Firefly gang welcomed him with a cake and party backstage before the show! I am sure I can speak for everyone that we are all so glad he decided to spend his birthday with all of us at Firefly and one more big, giant, Happy Birthday to Sir Paul McCartney!
    McCartney was absolutely captivating to watch on stage and the music all sounded amazing! In between songs, he shared all kinds of different stories with us; stories about different bands he was in, musicians he has worked with, people he has met, loves he has had, and of course, he spoke very fondly of all of The Beatles.
    He was constantly changing instruments between songs, from a selection of different guitars, bass guitars and two different pianos. Before going into “Paperback Writer,” he told us that he was going to use the same guitar he used when they recorded the song!
    McCartney called all of us ‘lil’ bugs’ as he looked out upon the crowd, and commented on how many Firefly fans were out there. They even brought one lucky fan on stage for having the best sign, which read, “I have your face tattooed & you signing it is my dream.” How amazing for her!
    The music for the set was filled with  an array of his biggest hit songs from all of his different projects over the years, including a heart-stopping performance of Wings’ hit song “Live and Let Die,” which was complete with fire blasting from the stage floor, fireworks exploding up from the back of the stage and laser lights galore, in full rock star fashion. There was a good five minute long sing-along, as he asked the audience to sing “Hey Jude” in chorus with him over and over again.
    I was just a little disappointed that he did not play more from his latest album NEW; however, he did perform the title track and “Queenie Eye” which I, for one, really enjoyed. I think the album is genius and that McCartney has still got it, even after all these years! He is a true musician, rock star, and genuinely awesome performer!
   Just when everyone thought it was over, he came running back out, waving the American flag. The British flag and the Delaware State flag were being carried out behind him and they proceeded to do a 4 song encore ending with "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End." McCartney finally disappeared, for good this time, behind an absolute ton of red, white and blue confetti that was shot out into the crowd!! What a perfect ending  for such a really perfect day!
    Stay tuned next week for more Firefly coverage to come! Still have Saturday and Sunday to go!!
For full Friday Photo Gallery please click here!!
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