5 Standout Performances From Emerge Music Festival: Day One


Emerge Music Festival kicked off over the weekend at the Hard Rock casino in Las Vegas, connecting a wide range of both musical talent (Brandon Flowers from The Killers, Doja Cat) and change makers (Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, March for Our Lives Co-Founders).

PHOTO: Katie Sik /  Instagram

PHOTO: Katie Sik / Instagram

In case you couldn’t attend, here are 5 killer sets from artists you should definitely know, if you don’t already.

(1) Ana Tijoux

Ana Tijoux flew all the way from Chile to perform and she came to impress. Being the opener is always a difficult task, but Tijoux and her backing band rocked it, getting the audience vibing to the drums especially. Tijoux has three Grammy nominations for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album and with songs like “Antipatriarca” (anti-patriarchy), she proved to be the perfect opener for the Protest showcase.

(2) Talib Kweli

As Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli opened his set, he said, “Writing a protest song is very hard to do.” During his set, he included tracks from Joan Baez to YG’s “FDT” as inspiration of ones that do it well. Kweli, backed by a DJ, performed solo hits including “Get By,” as well as some of Black Star’s repertoire — his previous group collaboration with Mos Def. This was one of the most engaging sets of the day with Kweli’s passion for what he creates at the core of the performance.

(3) Tank and The Bangas

Fresh off the release of their new record Green Balloon, rising New Orleans group Tank and the Bangas brought the venue’s house down. Playing hits like “Ants,” the band — both musically and energetically — worked so well together.  The instrumentation and solos throughout completely captured the audience’s attention, if Tank’s lively personality didn’t do that already. In the crowd, you could feel the genuine joy and love they had for one another radiating through the music, which made it a truly beautiful set.

(4) Sadie

Opening the New Artist Showcase section of the festival, Sadie played the small venue at the Hard Rock like it was Madison Square Garden. The first song “Love Without Me” drew the crowd into Sadie the moment she opened her mouth. Her vocals were soulful and the messages behind the lyricism were universal, ranging from heartbreak to dark life moments. Sadie’s guitarist, drummer and backing vocalist all contributed to helping make the set a standout one as well.

(5) Karlea

Last, but absolutely not least, was LA-based singer Karlea, who is definitely an artist to watch. Her stage presence was incredible and fit the tone of the songs she sings: a bonafide bada** who isn’t afraid to show it. With opening lines like “It’s a big world / We’re some bad girls,” Karlea established herself and her backup dancers, Allyssa and Jordan, as ladies that like causing trouble and don’t take crap from men — at least that’s the vibe they give off. This vibe ricocheted through the audience at Vinyl at the Hard Rock as they sang and danced along vibrantly.

Lead Image Credit: Katie Sik / Instagram