Fortress Festival is returning to Forth Worth again this year with a diverse lineup. Taking place across two days, it’ll surely be a memorable weekend for everyone in attendance. You can read our recap of last year’s festival to get an idea of what to expect, and below I will break down which artists you definitely should not miss.
With the release of Virtue earlier this year, The Voidz are one of the bands we’re looking forward to the most. Fronted by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, The Voidz is an experimental rock band that takes some elements from The Strokes and turns it up a notch with a flurry of distorted guitars, synthesizers, vocal effects and more. On Virtue, Casablancas makes great use of his falsetto voice on tracks such as “Pink Ocean,” making it one of the standout tracks we hope they’ll perform. In addition to some of the more outlandish tracks such as “QYURRYUS,” there’s introspective songs such as “Think Before You Drink” which will surely lead to a varied setlist filled with emotion. The Voidz are also known for their song “Human Sadness” from their first album, an almost 11-minute exploration of sound, which they have been known to perform live, making this set a must-see on Saturday of Fortress.
Rapsody’s latest release, Laila’s Wisdom was grammy-nominated, and one of the best hip-hop albums of last year, making her one of only five female solo artists with such an achievement. Shes fuses sounds from a variety of genres such as blues and jazz into her music, creating a soulful sound with a lot of heart that we can only imagine will be amazing to hear live. “Sassy” will surely get the whole crowd moving with it’s funky bassline and energetic chorus, while her clever rhymes on “Power” will get everyone hyped up and jumping. In some of her performances, she’s also brought a band along, which along with the conventional instruments, also includes a trumpet and saxophone player. Hip-hop shows with live bands always add an element to the music that you can’t get from listening to the album, making it a unique experience.
Barnett’s grungy sound and relatable lyrics have garnered her a dedicated fanbase. Her music varies from morose ballads to more gritty, high-energy tracks. Her technical abilities are also noteworthy, both in terms of guitar-playing and singing, which she does simultaneously which is all the more impressive. Her last album, Lotta Sea Lice, a collaboration album with Kurt Vile, sounds a bit cleaner than most of her other releases, but if she chooses to play a few tracks from it, will surely fit right in with her set. Barnett’s performance could be a complete rollercoaster of emotions and sound, and should definitely not be missed.
Dreamy, lo-fi indie mixed with a variety of genres is what Jay Som is all about. She takes a little bit from shoegaze, a little jazz, and a little folk and merges it all together seamlessly to create something new and refreshing. Her first album, Turn Into, was released in 2016, so she’s still a fairly new artist, but she’s kept herself busy. Recording multiple sessions with stations such as KEXP, Audiotree, and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. Her music slowly pulls the listener in, starting of softly and building up, and before you realize it, you’re completely entranced and lost within it, and that will only be amplified in a concert setting.
Denton’s very own Pearl Earl will be playing at Fortress Festival, and if you missed their killer set at our 15th birthday bash, you’ll definitely want to catch them at Fortress. Unlike Jay Som, Pearl Earl will just hit you with their intensity right from the start. They’re also incredible performers, never standing still for very long and relentlessly going through their set, only pausing occasionally between songs to give everyone a chance to catch their breath. Their hit track “Meet Your Maker” starts off strong, but it continues to build up into a flurry of sounds. Pearl Earl’s infectious energy will surely get the whole crowd jumping and dancing along with them, and even though they’ll tire you out, every second of it will be worth it.
These are only some of the notable artists that will be at Fortress Festival. Others include Shabazz Palaces, Chicano Batman, De La Soul, RZA, Father John Misty and more. Tickets are still available here, and you can view the whole lineup here.