Coverage by Yuliana Bourdin and Kyle Moreau
The Mala Luna Music festival returns to San Antonio for the second year and delivers a star-studded lineup with artists such as Migos, Future, and Lil Wayne set to perform. Saturday marked the first day of the festival and CoogRadio was there to give you coverage on any artists you may have missed.
Ugly God brought his absolute best to the Mala Luna Music Festival as he delivered an extremely energetic performance in only a 30-minute time slot. Ugly God first came out to his most popular song “Water” while throwing water all over the crowd to instantly get the crowd going and win them over. He only teases us with the first verse of water before cutting in short and playing through his set. I have seen Ugly God in Houston before and I can say that he is only getting better as time goes on. The recent release of his album The Booty Tape gave him a lot more material to work with and was able to seamlessly transition from one song to another while getting the crowd more and more hyped up. Ugly God constantly engaged with the crowd and even jumped in and turned up with his fans multiple times throughout the show. He also thanked his fans multiple times for getting him from “some dude who puts lizards on his nose” to a XXL Freshman in 2017. Upon leaving his set I still continued to hear people yelling his lyrics all throughout the festival grounds which proved to me how effective Ugly God is at leaving a solid impression through his catchy lyrics and unquestionable uniqueness.
As the festival progressed, you could feel the energy of the crowd increase as well, which is why Kali Uchis’ set felt somewhat disappointing. Punctuality is a great trait to have no matter what field of work you’re in, therefore, when Kali was 20 minutes late to the set, you could feel the energy dwindle and the tension of the crowd rise as they were made to wait for someone they were excited to see. Watching the sound check, the crowd was ready for the performance and as Kali’s mike stand wrapped in a flower vine was brought onto the stage, the hype increased. It was for that reason that it was disappointing that we had to wait 20 minutes of dead air on the stage for Kali to come on and deliver a performance that was sweet yet unfulfilling and focusing on the wrong aspects of her as an artist. It felt almost as though she was told that since it was a music festival, she should only play her “top hits” although the crowd that gathered knew Kali for Kali not for Kali the girl on the “See You Again” track with Tyler, the Creator, which she proceeded to play almost to please the crowd. Though overall her performance was pleasant on the ear and the eye, it did seem a little bit too sexualized with her constant hip swinging and the lack of volume on her mike kept drawing attention to the physical rather than the vocal part of the show. While her voice and slight renditions of “Tyrant” and “Know What I Want” were harmonic, her show seemed almost predictable, which was a shame since her New York City-based band was soulful in their live performance of her tracks.
I was hesitant with my expectations for Playboi Carti’s set on The Beat Stage as personally, I did not know if Playboi Carti had enough material to keep a crowd engaged for an entire 45-minute set. Even though he ended up showing up 10 minutes late, I left the set proven wrong though as Playboi Carti was able to fill every second with bangers that would make the crowd jump up and down and yell along. Playboi even played my favorite song of his “Fetti” which has the iconic line “I just left Houston, I just left Earth” which still serves as my twitter bio today. I thought Playboi Carti would wait to play his biggest hit “Magnolia” last but I was thrown off when it became the second song he performed that afternoon. The surprise faded though as he played the song two more times throughout the set as a larger crowd flocked to see his performance. He had the first truly large performance of the day as the back half of the crowd was not even able to see Playboi Carti as there were so many people watching and vibing to his music. His all-black outfit made him difficult to spot from a distance but played an integral role in his theatrics as his psychedelic visuals made his show a theatrical experience. Although personally, I was not able to get close enough to soak in the entire experience, I still really enjoyed his set largely due to how involved the crowd was and the visuals that shined throughout the venue.
After a slight slow down in the overall festival, Carnage came on as a breath of fresh air that breathed life back into the crowd and revitalized the music festival vibes we were all looking for. Before his set, the energy had dropped and people were desperately in the search for an act that would bring them to life and to their feet to dance like they wanted to when they were heading for the festival. Dj CARNAGE did just that for everyone. As we were briefly charging our portable charges in the media tent, we could even from afar tell that Carnage was putting on a show that everyone needed. With hardstyle and samples from popular and fun songs from both the American and Latin American cultures, Carnage was able to bring the diverse, mainly Texan, crowd together to get down and enjoy the reason we were all there: the liveliness of live music. As he incorporated his samples and bass drops, Dj CARNAGE kept an interaction with the crowd with call outs for the left side vs the right side and requests for mosh pits. As a crowd that felt engaged, people would wholeheartedly scream “Yeah” and “Gordo” (in reply to Papi) and “Carnage” (in reply to DJ). For that hour set that he played people felt alive and as the sun set, everyone was able to catch a second wind that they so desperately needed in order to get through the next two and a half hours of back to back headliner sets.
Wiz Khalifa is a known name in the hip-hop industry so for a festival like Mala Luna that is mainly centered around hip-hop, it would only make sense to invite a headliner who has been on the scene for over a decade. It would almost be insulting to the industry to say that his show was not the Wiz that the Taylor Gang expected. He hands downplayed a very lively set that expressed who Wiz Khalifa has made himself to be as an artist. We all got to travel back into the time of “Black and Yellow” as well as skip ahead to “Work Hard, Play Hard” and most recent hit, “See You Again”. As an artist, I imagine it must be hard to choose a setlist even with a most recent album, but I think what’s even harder is fitting in your entire career into an hour and a half set at the closings of a music festival. That’s where it felt like Wiz almost tried too hard to remind the crowd of what he has done in the past two decades, even though the Taylor Gang is very aware. No fans were disappointed with his show, walking away with bright smiles and talks of the Wiz following that they have been a part of (“No, but really Wiz totally killed it and I’m so happy right now). However, the set did feel like a time warp of ‘The Wiz Highlights’ instead of being a show he wanted to simply give to the fans to hold onto for the rest of their lives. So while no one was disappointed, it would have been nice to witness a heartfelt performance rather than a fast pace race through the highlighted tracks of Wiz’s career.
Everyone in the venue was waiting in anticipation for Lil Wayne to take the stage at the end of the night and it was most certainly worth the wait. Although the set started 15 minutes late, the DJ performing before was able to keep the energy of the crowd up which truly paid off as Lil Wayne gave one of the most energetic performances I have ever seen. I had seen Lil Wayne once before with 2 Chainz at Free Press Summer Fest in 2016 which left me with high expectations for Lil Wayne as I was preparing to see him again. Lil Wayne runs out across the stage to start his set and performed one song after another seamlessly reaching nearly twenty songs in what would be only an hour and a half set. Lil Wayne truly lives up to the “Lil” in his name as he was nearly impossible to see unless you were near the front of the stage. Even though he may not have been able to have been seen very well, his impact spread throughout the crowd and the entire crowd was jumping and singing along to hits such as “A Milli” and “Mr. Carter”. Wayne also included many of his more recent popular features as he did his verses from songs such as Chance the Rapper’s “No Problem” and Drake’s “HYFR”. Overall Lil Wayne delivered an incredibly interactive and energetic set which served as a perfect ending to day one of the Mala Luna Music Festival in San Antonio, Texas.
Thanks for reading! If you were at the festival, what sets did you catch? What sets did you enjoy? What sets didn’t you enjoy? Let us know in the comment section, and check the site tomorrow for the rest of Coog Radio’s coverage of the Mala Luna Music Festival.