Taking place in an abandoned postal office, Day for Night is a unique 3-day festival experience that combines music and digital art installations. With a combination of both indoor and outdoor stages, food trucks, and a slew of interactive art, few festivals provide a similar experience. This years lineup had a little bit for everyone, including artists such as KAYTRANADA, Justice, Solange, The Jesus Lizard, Pussy Riot and more, both big and small. Here are some of our highlights from this years performances.
Opting for a more laid back performance, Earl Sweatshirt had the crowd vibing out to his music. Behind him were a variety of black and white videos being projected, which often contained violence or strong images, which gave an ominous tone to much of the performance, which is really fitting for his sound. Although he played some of his most popular tracks such as “Sunday,” there was a notable omission of “Chum” which was a little disappointing, but Earl made up for it by playing some unreleased content from his (hopefully) upcoming album. It’s been two years since the release of his last project, but this may signal that it’s coming soon. – Roman Soriano
Surrounded by four large white balloons and bathed in blue light, KAYTRANADA played an electrifying show that had everybody dancing despite not having a functioning microphone. Playing a variety of tracks spanning a big portion of his discography, KAYTRANADA did not have to do much more than play his hits, and the crowd did all the rest, jumping and dancing along to everything to he played.
Remixes such as his version of “All Night” by Chance the Rapper and his rendition of “Cranes in the Sky” by Solange got the crowd excited and moving, and cuts from his album 99.9% such as “GLOWED UP” made sure nobody stopped jumping. It led to an incredibly fun performance that was a good way to end the first night and kick off the weekend of music Day for Night had in store. – Roman
A queen of avant-garde multimedia, Laurie Anderson’s set was tucked quietly into the Saturday lineup. She took the stage with a minimal setup: her violin, a microphone, a small selection of electronics. A chalkboard was projected on the screen behind her, with messages appearing and vanishing into thin air. Her set consisted of a back-and-forth between storytelling and brief soundscapes. In a comforting and enchanting voice, she told the crowd about events from her youth, like the time she broke her back after a failed dive into a pool, and spent time in the hospital alongside burn victims. She described the sounds and smells in unsettling detail, and followed the tale with atmospheric droning on her violin. To wrap up the set, she showed the crowd the small, round pillow speaker she brought. Rather than using it for its intended purpose, she explained that she liked to repurpose electronics, and popped it in her mouth. In a charming moment, she was inexplicably able to “sing like a violin.” A fest like this wouldn’t be possible without pioneering minds like Laurie Anderson, meshing together experimental music, performance art, and visuals. – Savannah Sherer
Luckily, I decided to leave Lil B and hit the red stage a little bit before Pussy Riot’s set started, because they started early and in full force. As I made my way to the front, I was walking in sync with four autonomous body bags making their way across the stage, marching to the sounds of what sounded like a prison guard shouting orders. When they hit center stage, the members of Pussy Riot emerged from within the plastic body bags and were met with thunderous applause. If there was any doubt in anyone’s minds about where their true background and story resonates from, it was immediately quelled by the four women leading a “Fuck the police state!” chant.
Playing a range of their politically charged tracks in both Russian and English, I honestly felt a little bit bad for the security guards manning the front of the stage. It was clear that any agent of force and authority was not welcome at this show. “It’s nice to be here because, you know, our last tour was from Siberian prisons.” Fans were lucky enough to even hear and witness firsthand the very performance that landed them in said prison, a rendition of “Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away.” They were unstoppable and incorrigible from the moment they set foot on the stage, ending their performance with “Make America Great Again”, a song crafted in the wake of the 2016 American elections. I’ll let you guess whether or not it paints America in an admirable light. – Dawood Nadurath
Tyler, The Creator
“Man this weather sucks” were the first words Tyler said after performing his opening track. It was raining with no signs of letting up, and in fact, the rain only became stronger as Tylers set went on. But that did not stop fans from enjoying the show. There were a fortunate few such as myself who brought ponchos for this specific situation, and those who didn’t tried their best to stay dry before giving up after getting soaked.
Even then, Tyler’s exhilarating performance was enough to keep the attention of most of the people who were attending. Bringing out Jasper to help him hype up the crowd, he performed mostly cuts from his most recent Flower Boy album, before playfully saying “alright, that’s enough of that grammy-nominated album” and transitioning to some of his past works such as “DEATHCAMP” and “Tamale.” Tyler even managed to fit in his verse from Frank Ocean’s “Biking,” which was a very pleasant surprise.
He closed out his set with “See You Again,” which was the perfect send-off, with everyone in the crowd standing in the rain, singing along at the top of their lungs, before rushing away from the stage, seeking shelter. – Roman
B L A C K I E
Underground Houston legend B L A C K I E came out for a Yellow Stage set with a humble start playing saxophone over a wall of noise while covered with a hellish red glow that covered the whole venue. Once making the crowd comfortable with a rather ambient beginning, the crowd was instantly barraged with an abrasive instrumental while B L A C K I E jumped into the crowd and started delivering blows to crowd members while delivering lines. A memorable showcase with B L A C K I E dishing out nothing less than his heart out to his hometown. – Youssef Mahmoud
Almost starting off with a DJ set, DJ Escrow set the crowd up to be ready for multi-instrumentalist (MC in the case of Babyfather) Dean Blunt who delivered various songs from his most recent Babyfather project. The lighting almost seemed heavenly as Dean walked through songs and had sparse interaction with the crowd with jabs like “All the crackers in the crowd looking cool”, or “Y’all have nice coke”. Shook/Motivation led into an extended noise segment with Dean delivering chilling spoken word lines throughout, a showcase that could be pretty much what anyone could ask for from a Babyfather set. – Youssef
The Jesus Lizard
It’s been 30 years since formation of The Jesus Lizard, and 7 years since they were last active. Let’s face it, the dudes are getting old. That didn’t stop the one and only David Yow from spending probably half the set crowdsurfing, starting before the first notes of the first song rang out. The classics like “Then Comes Dudley” and “Monkey Trick” sounded more aggressive than ever; the performance was tight and packed with energy, drawing a significant crowd despite the overlap with Solange a few stages over. Even after all these years, The Jesus Lizard puts on a notably chaotic show. Will “7 vs. 8” truly be the last song they perform live? After this second reunion tour, we’ll have to wait and see. – Savannah
From the moment the stage techs started to set up the stage for Solange, it was obvious that it was going to be a special set. There was a large white pillar and a giant red circle that served as a backdrop. Her band and backup singers came out before she did, in a very coordinated fashion, all of them wearing red. Lastly, Solange came out in a elegant red dress, opening with “Rise.” What followed was an incredible vocal performance, Solange sounding even better live than on her album. In between songs or during instrumental breaks, she and her bandmates and other singers performed choreographed dances, getting everyone in the stage involved in the performance.
It’s clear that Solange puts a lot of thought into her performances, and it’s worth it. After her original set, she went backstage and came back out wearing a cowboy hat, and explained that Houston is her home, and when she was growing up, she never had music festivals nearby she could attend and be surrounded by like-minded people. She detailed her appreciation for Day for Night, and pleaded to not let Houston get gentrified before finally closing her set with “Don’t Touch My Hair.” – Roman
Day For Night truly was just a series of me darting from one stage to another, trying my very hardest to make sure that I was getting the most of every set that I wanted to see. I abandoned my good spot in the Solange crowd and rushed over to the blue stage to catch the entirety of Mount Kimbie’s set, a decision that wasn’t exactly revered by many. However, I couldn’t have been happier.
The electronic outfit began their performance just as I arrived to the crowd, and boy was it a performance. No one could claim that they weren’t entertained every second of the performance, because even if they weren’t fans of the plucky, funky electronica that the band is so well known for (and come on, who wouldn’t be?), the visual display alone was enough to draw a giant crowd. Expertly synced with the beats and drops of each song, I found myself drowned and content in both the flashing lights and warm glow that rested on the stage.
As if that wasn’t enough to leave me feeling elated, they performed my personal favorite and new track of their’s, “Blue Train Lines,” a collaborative effort with King Krule from their new album Love What Survives. Though the powerful little redhead himself didn’t make a guest appearance, the band did the track incredible justice and I couldn’t have been happier with it. It was difficult to part ways with the performance when it ended, and I found myself still swaying as I walked away and made my way to catch the rest of the fest. – Dawood
Justice – Youssef
While Daft Punk might have revolutionized the modern EDM show with Alive 2007, Justice’s performance during Day For Night has all but erased my desires to see an Alive 2017. Mixing many of their songs throughout their discography with each other, Justice had created a stunning visual show to accompany their mashups which made it near impossible to find yourself dancing to the front of the crowd.
Digital Art Installations
The art was scattered all around the venue. Some of it was outside, a few were on the first floor, and the second floor was entirely dedicated to art. Perhaps the most memorable one was the net full of disco balls that was suspended from the ceiling. Four big bright lights illuminated them, and the light bounced off the disco balls and scattered all around the surrounding area. Just across from this net was an isolated room with a line of people waiting to get inside. We had no idea what to expect, we only knew it involved robots, and water.
Inside, were two large robot arms in the middle of reflective pools of water. They each had a light at the end, and once the capacity of the room was met, it was closed. Initially completely dark, what followed was a “war of the worlds” spectacle performed by the two robot arms, which rotated and spun in a variety of directions, shining their lights at each other and across the room, accompanied by industrial sounds and music. – Roman